Foreign Terrorists Use Iraqis to Achieve Their Aims

By John D. Banusiewicz

Terror groups from other countries are going out of their way to use Iraqi citizens in pursuing their objectives, a coalition military official said at a Baghdad news conference today.

"They have demonstrated time after time that the foreign terrorists will fight to the last Iraqi to achieve their aims here in Iraq," said Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Combined Joint Task force 7.

The coalition has no indication the foreign fighters are working in concert with or alongside Iraqi anti-coalition elements, Kimmitt said. Former Iraqi regime elements and criminals – as well as foreign terrorist groups such as al Qaeda – still pose a threat and get the same kind of focus and attention from coalition and Iraqi security forces.

"We just don’t necessarily differentiate them into different groups," the general said. "We see them as threats to the coalition. We see them as threats to the Iraqi people. As soon as we gain intelligence, we use that for actionable intelligence and conduct operations to kill or capture."

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Coalition Provisional Authority administrator, warned one foreign terror group – the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK and by other names as well – that there is "no place for terrorism or terrorist organizations in the new Iraq" in a Jan. 28 statement.

"Ambassador Bremer has said for some time, as has President Bush, that Iraq is now the central front in the war on terrorism," coalition spokesman Dan Senor said at today’s news conference, "and that we will pursue terrorists in this country with great intensity."

Senor said PKK and its affiliate organizations have been operating in Iraq, and Bremer’s statement put them on notice that the coalition will continue to pursue them. "We will continue to capture or kill them," Senor said.