COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING
WITH L. PAUL BREMER
MR. BREMER: This week I mourn the deaths of all those murdered in the effort to prevent recovery and progress in Iraq.
But let me say this. Those yearning for the return of Ba'athism will be disappointed, and those seeking the imposition of some fresh tyranny will fail. They may pull off an operation or two, or maybe 10, but they will fail. As President Bush said today, in their malcontent and in their malicious view of the world, no one is innocent.
There is no denying that, to all appearances, the week that began with the bombing of the oil pipeline and ended with the bombing of the U.N. headquarters was a grim one. But beneath the surface was a swelling tide of good news. In this past week, Iraqis working for the city of Baghdad repaired the damage from the attack on the water main in less than 24 hours. Repairs had been expected to take days.
This past week, work was completed on the rehabilitation of the Baghdad electrical centers at Al-Harq (sp) and Rusafah (sp) This past week, work continued on a $5 million restoration at Rusaniyah (sp) South sewage treatment plant. This past week, work continued in Kirkuk on the rehabilitation of four public health clinics serving nearly 95,000 people.
This past week, work continued on a project to bring adequate irrigation to 35,000 farmers in Wasat province. The same project is bringing adequate drinking water to 3,000 residents of Abdullah (sp) Village.
And this past week, the coalition captured Chemical Ali and on the day of the bombing one of Saddam's vice presidents. We have now captured or killed 39 of the 55 "Most Wanted" individuals.
These are specific examples from a vast array of positive developments every day all over Iraq. Throughout Iraq, 1,000 primary schools will be rehabilitated by the coalition in time for the opening of the school year. As those schools open, the coalition will distribute 5 million new math and science textbooks.
Scores of projects like these are not just continuing, they are accelerating across the country. Let there be no doubt; the coalition is working full-time with the Iraqi people to reconstruct Iraq and to bring a better, more hopeful life to all Iraqis.
Thank you. I'd be glad to take your questions. Yes, sir?
Q Borju Deregami (sp), CBC. You know, in the past week, I've spoken to some members of the Iraqi Governing Council, and they said that they were -- they were critical of the coalition's efforts to provide security, specifically with regard to the borders and safeguarding Iraq's borders. And they were saying that they had warned the Coalition Provisional Authority about the safeguarding of the borders. Could you comment on that?
MR. BREMER: We agree that the borders to Iraq are difficult to guard. That is, shall we say, a topographical fact of life. If you look at the country, we have a lot of desert in the south and southwest, marshes in the southeast, and a lot of mountains and deserts elsewhere. When the coalition arrived, there were no posts on any of the borders. We today have more than 2,500 border police on duty and plans to expand that to 25,000 border police over the course of the next year. We clearly would like to have better control over our borders. One of the areas where we will probably find use for the Iraqi civil defense force that we are in the process of raising now is in helping us look at and guard the borders to the country. So we agree that there is a problem, and we are addressing it.
In the back. Yes, you.
Q (Name inaudible) -- from the Spanish News Agency. I was wondering if you could comment on the accusations by Israel that Syria is involved in the bombing of the truck -- it came from Syria -- that ended up in the U.N. headquarters. And could you comment on any security or intelligence relations between Israel and the U.S. in Iraq? Thank you.
MR. BREMER: I saw a press report about the point you make. The investigation is really in its early phases now. We're only several days after the attack. And my experience in working on terrorism incidents is that it very often takes time, sometimes weeks, sometimes even longer, to know exactly what happened, and it's a bit early to speculate on the details involved in this attack So I wouldn't comment on that or other reports about the attack.
I would only see this. The Iraqi police are leading a very vigorous investigation into this incident. I believe the chief of police addressed you, or some of you, anyway, at a press conference on Thursday on the status of the investigation. That investigation goes on. The coalition is offering all possible assistance to help. I won't comment on any matters involving intelligence at this point.
I would say this, again from my experience in counterterrorism, that there are two essential elements to a good counterterrrorist policy. Good intelligence is at the heart of it, and that is extremely important. And then you must be willing to go on on the offensive against the terrorists so that you kill them before they kill you. But I'm not going to get into how we are dealing with the intelligence matters at this time.
Q Carol Williams with the Los Angeles Times. This morning, the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce meeting -- a number of the Iraqi businesspeople who were trying to attend that session here were prevented because of the excessive security -- extensive security around the facility. Are you in a position where you have to deploy so many resources to guard the American and coalition facilities that it's slowing the process of restoring a normal economy and getting business kick-started, as the conference was supposed to?
MR. BREMER: I am not familiar with the particular incident you're talking about. Obviously, we keep our security procedures under constant review and take what we believe to be appropriate measures.
But the general answer is no, we have, as I suggested in my opening comment, on any given day, literally hundreds of reconstruction projects all around this country going forward. We have schools, hospitals -- all 240 hospitals are now operating; 90 percent of the health clinics in this country are operating. That's due to reconstruction efforts by coalition -- by the coalition, by its civil affairs people, by our AID contractors, by NGOs who we're working with and by U.N. specialized agencies. There's been no slow- down in the pace of those projects that are going forward. We have by now completed more than 2,000 projects here in the last few months, and we will continue to do that. It will not slow us down.
I don't know -- I can't answer the specific question about this one conference. It's regrettable that the conference couldn't go forward, but it certainly isn't going to slow down our reconstruction efforts.
Q Gina Wilkinson, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A few days ago, Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi Governing Council said that the IGC had received information on the 14th of August that something like a truck bomb attack was planned against a soft target, such as the United Nations. He said that information was passed on to U.S. authorities, but he didn't know whether it was passed on to the U.N. U.N. sources are -- (word inaudible) -- to have suggested that there was no prior warning about this attack. Can you say whether this information was passed on, and if not, why not?
MR. BREMER: Well, I can say it was not passed on. And the INC has issued a statement correcting that statement. I can't say why not. You'd have to ask the INC why not. It was not passed on to us.
Q Anne Garrels, National Public Radio. There were reports earlier this week in comments made by the Governing Council that there was sort of mutual frustration on your side and their side at lack of progress; there ended up being a certain amount of finger-pointing. Can you say if you are frustrated with the lack of actions by the Governing Council, and what measures you would like to take if so.
MR. BREMER: I try very hard not to finger-point except at press conferences, Ms. Garrels.
No, I think that the Governing Council and we agree that there is a -- it is important to accelerate the Iraqi involvement in the reconstruction of Iraq, and in particular in the security procedures being taken for Iraq. Today there are more than 50,000 Iraqis already serving in security areas in the defense of Iraq: in the Iraqi police, the border guards that I mentioned earlier, in the Facilities Protection Service, which has been set up to protect fixed sites, and in the new Iraqi army, as well as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps which I mentioned earlier. I believe that the Governing Council has made very clear in the statement they issued on Wednesday that they encourage Iraqis to take part in these various processes and encourage Iraqis to step up and become part of the security forces defending their country against terrorists and Saddamists.
They have also made clear that they share our frustrations over the difficulty of restoring essential services to pre-war levels. I've spoken frequently in this hall before about the difficulty of restoring power to pre-war levels, which is really, in many ways, the key essential service. We have a plan to restore power to pre-war levels by the end of September and we believe we can do that, assuming we do not have more major acts of sabotage.
But the sabotage by the ex-regime extremists continues. We had attacks on some of our power lines again last night. And these are people who are basically attacking the Iraqi people when they do this. They are hurting the Iraqi people. When we have attacks on things like the pipeline, as we had a week ago, and it costs the Iraqi people $7 million a day, those are attacks which are hurting the Iraqi people. So it's important, and the Governing Council pointed this out in its statement, it's important for the Iraqi people to join with us in this fight to regain security and to reconstruct the country.
And I think we all feel the frustration that as we move forward, the saboteurs are continuing to try to undercut. They won't succeed. As I said earlier, it hasn't stopped literally thousands of projects from going forward all across the country, and it won't stop them.
Q If I could just ask, the question was directed more at the Governing Council's failure to take action and begin to take over responsibility for issues. And could you comment on that --
MR. BREMER: Sure.
Q -- and why they are not doing more and what you would like them to do?
MR. BREMER: Sure. I think it's not correct to say they're not acting.
Let's review a little history here. The Governing Council was convened on July 13th. On July 14th, at their very first meeting, they took two important steps. They established a commission to examine how they could best set up a tribunal to try the war criminals or crimes against humanity culprits who are currently in custody or maybe -- may -- will come in custody. They established, on a more symbolic basis, August 9th as a new holiday, a national holiday, the Day of Liberation, and they abolished the Saddam-inspired holidays.
Since then, they have set up committees to examine economics, to examine the de-Ba'athification program, to look into a variety of other economic issues.
They have appointed a preparatory commission to call the constitutional convention, which had its first meetings on Monday and Tuesday last week. And that commission has been given a very short deadline to report back to them by September 15th. They have announced the -- for the first time in a decade that the airspace over Iraq is now open to international flights, for the first time in 12 years. They have announced the intention to open the Basra airport, and so forth.
Now -- so I think it's -- and they're working hard. I mean, I spent two hours with them this morning. They are working hard, considering difficult questions that lie before them and before the Iraqi people.
I -- they are -- they have been, I think, helpfully active this week in getting before you, the press, and talking. They -- three of them accompanied me to the U.N. site and issued statements on Tuesday night. The council itself issued a statement on Wednesday, and every day since then a small group from the council has gone down to the U.N. site to see the progress there.
I think that's important. I think it is very important for the council to get out and talk to the Iraqi people and to move around the country, and they are doing that now.
Yes, sir? Yeah, I'll come to you next. Yes, please.
Q Rashad from Kyodo News of Japan.
MR. BREMER: Yes.
Q While the Governing Council is the natural political ally in toppling the regime, they seem not to be involved in military operations. Why is that, sir?
MR. BREMER: Yes. Well, the security of Iraq remains the primary responsibility of the coalition and therefore of the coalition forces.
However, as I said in answer to an earlier question, we have encouraged and the Governing Council has encouraged Iraqis to play a broader role in security through the various institutions I mentioned -- the new Iraqi army, the Civil Defense Corps, the police, the border police and the Facilities Protective Service. There are more than 50,000 of them already doing that now.
Q Sir, I have two questions. Yes. It's --
MR. BREMER: You always have two.
Q Two. Two. (Chuckles.) It's -- (in Arabic). (In English.) Thank you.
MR. BREMER: Well, if the -- did the English-speakers have mikes, or do I have to repeat the questions? (Pause.) You had mike -- you have -- okay.
If the implication of the first question is that the United -- that in some fashion, the coalition was involved in the bombing, the answer is it's utter nonsense. It is done by terrorists. It's part of a global war on terrorism, which was declared on the United States September 11th two years ago. And it is now, unfortunately, the case that Iraq has become one of the fields of battle in this global war.
On the question of housing, I don't have in front of me all of the lists of projects we've done in the south, but there have been scores of them -- and so, I can't answer the question whether we have done programs in housing. But we know that there is a major problem of housing in this country. Almost no housing was built anywhere, but particularly in the south, since the Gulf War. And I have a group now studying the question of what we can do to make available housing, and possibly to sell government housing to the people who are living in that housing as a way to give people a stake in the economy. That, of course, will not provide new housing. And we are also looking at the question of new housing. But I don't simply have the facts at my hands about housing in the south.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. BREMER: I'm just not familiar with the case of suicide that you're talking about. And are you talking about -- I don't know what inhumane treatment you're talking about. I'm sorry. I just didn't understand the context. Are you talking about people who are prisoners?
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. BREMER: Well, again, I just don't know anything about the suicide question. We are in full compliance with our obligations under the various Geneva and Hague Conventions concerning the detainees. We are in the process of upgrading the facilities in which the criminal detainees are held and moving them as fast as we can out of tents and into hard -- let us say into buildings, out of tents. We have -- are providing now access for family members to criminal detainees and also lawyers. So I -- and again, I just don't know anything about the suicide, so I can't comment on that part of the question.
Yes, in the back?
Q Sir, talk in Washington and New York is now focusing on getting a larger international coalition in here, and I'm wondering if you could address two issues. How many more troops do you think would be useful here? And what role could the U.N. or other international folks play in the CPA? Is there any opportunity for them to take a larger leadership role there? I think it's the carrot that many other countries would be looking for, to be able to have more decision- making power.
MR. BREMER: Well, I don't -- as you regulars know, I don't play the numbers game on troops. That really is not my area; that's something for the military. I notice that General Abizaid, in his press conference on Thursday, said that he felt he had enough troops here. And the question in New York is not so much the number of troops, it's whether or not it would be useful to have troops from some other countries join the 30 countries which already have troops on the ground. There are 30 countries already with troops on the ground here now. And I think that Secretary of State Powell has made clear that it's worth looking at the question of whether an additional U.N. resolution might make that more probable, and I think those negotiations are rather tactical and going on in New York, so I really wouldn't have much light to shed on the exact state of play other than to repeat what the secretary of State has said.
On the role of the U.N. and others in the CPA, I have on my staff already citizens from 25 different countries, in the CPA. I said already we have soldiers from 30 countries on the ground. I have citizens from 25 countries already serving on the CPA staff. And we have 37 countries which have pledged to make contribution to Iraq's reconstruction, its economic reconstruction. So this is already a rather substantial international operation as it is. That's not to say we wouldn't welcome more nations taking part; we would. But I think it's important to remember that this is already a very substantial international operation.
In the back? Yes, sir.
Q Hi. Jeff Thompson (sp) here, from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr. Bremer, I think when you were talking in passing about the sabotaged water main, you said -- you blamed it on ex-regime extremists, but I noticed that when referring to the U.N. compound and asked a question about a Syrian truck, you said that this could take weeks, months, to reach conclusions. I'm just wondering how you can have such a quick answer as to who was responsible for the water main, but not one for the U.N. compound.
MR. BREMER: Well, the attack on the U.N. compound was, to put it mildly, an order of magnitude more serious than punching a hole in a five-inch water main, and therefore, one looks at motives and intentions; and those are much more complicated to sort out in the case of the U.N. There is, as well, the question of the technical skills involved in the U.N. operation, which go to a rather large bomb on a truck, and so forth. It's just a question of paying attention to the complicated aspect of one of the attacks and the rather straightforward aspect of the other.
Q Jamie Tarabay from Associated Press. Ambassador, when you began speaking earlier about the week, it began with a pipeline explosion and ended with a bombing, and this morning we have three British soldiers who were killed in Basra. Anyone watching this from the outside would look at that and think that the security situation is, in fact, getting worse, even with the 50,000 Iraqis helping in the security area. What is your comment on that?
MR. BREMER: I've never hidden the fact that we have security problems in Iraq. But if you look at the incidents, the pattern of incidents since the end of the war, the vast majority of incidents involving coalition forces -- involving coalition forces -- have taken place in a very small area of the country. It is true that we've had now two incidents in Basra, but those are the exceptions, not the rule. The vast majority have taken place in an area roughly between Baghdad and Tikrit, with a few somewhat north of that.
So, I don't think that you're looking at a new aspect. The sabotage -- sabotage of the pipeline, the attack on the water main -- these attacks on the economic infrastructure and on the Iraqi economy have been going on, really, all along. The only difference of the attack on the pipeline in the north -- and this was, as the acting oil minister pointed out in his press conference here a week ago -- this was the third time that pipeline had been attacked -- third or fourth time that pipeline had been attacked since liberation. So, there was not even really anything particularly new in that attack, other than that it happened only 24, 48 hours after the pipeline had been reopened to Turkey.
So, we have an ongoing problem with attacks by regime -- former regime officials, by people from the intelligence services, on these economic infrastructure targets. That's been a constant. And we will surmount that in time, though one should not underestimate the difficulty of doing that. We have 19,000 kilometers of power lines in this country, and 7,000 kilometers of pipelines. So, it is not an insignificant job to guard those areas.
And the answer to that is -- I come back to what I said earlier. We need good intelligence on who's doing it so that we can go out and capture them before they attack. A heartening sign in this regard is the fact that in the last three to four weeks, we have seen an increase, a rather substantial increase in the number of Iraqi citizens willing to come and tell us about people who are conducting these kinds of attacks, which then allows us to go out and arrest them; and secondly, a rather important increase in the number of ex- Fedayeen, ex-Ba'athists, ex-intelligence officials who are actually turning themselves in, usually to our tactical military forces, sometimes to the police. So I think gradually, we will see that we will surmount this, but it's going to take time and it's going to be difficult.
Q Yes, Catherine Philp from The Times of London. Ambassador, you said that Iraq has become a new battleground in the war on terror. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that American occupation here has created a new battleground?
MR. BREMER: No, it would be completely inaccurate because Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, for 20 years was identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, correctly, in my view. Since I was involved in that policy, I understand why that was done. This was a state which sponsored terrorism. It is no longer a state which sponsors terrorism. I don't sponsor terrorism, I try to defeat it.
Q Sir, Lisa Beherns (sp), CBS. How does having a more international military force on the ground, not necessarily a larger one, improve the situation here?
MR. BREMER: It is essentially a political message that other countries are joining the coalition, joining in the international effort that the coalition is undertaking to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq. It's more or less a political message. It will, of course, depending on which countries come in and what size they come in, it may allow a rotation of American forces or other coalition forces; in other words, a reconfiguration of the overall force posture. But again, the details of that are something that I would leave to my military colleagues.
Q My colleague wants to ask you about the possibility of the security guards at the U.N. being involved in the bombing of the U.N.
And also, I was just wondering, in terms of the Security Council resolution, if, for instance, say, India decided to contribute more troops, would it possible that -- I don't know, that -- I mean right now, the international staff are kind of working under the American- led and British-led CPA. I mean, would it possible in the future to see like an Indian civilian administrator of Iraq?
MR. BREMER: On the discussion, which has been very robust in the press, about who might have done what at the U.N. compound, let me just say that it is too early to know. The investigation goes on. When the Iraqi police reach some conclusions, I'm sure they will share them, assuming that they can do that without interfering with the judicial process.
As I look at the attack, my general proposition in looking at terrorist attacks over the years has been to establish some hypotheses and to follow those hypotheses until the facts tell you that hypothesis is no longer valid, and then you try another one. There are, analytically, three possible hypotheses about the attack on the U.N. compound. One is that it was done by members of the former regime for a variety of reasons. Another is that it was done by foreign terrorists, of which they are several varieties around. And the third, quite obviously, is that it was done in some form of cooperation between the two.
As far as I can tell from the facts as I've seen them so far, all three of these hypotheses are still at least worth pursuing, based on the facts as we know them. As we proceed down the path, we may be able to discard one or more of these hypotheses. Again, my experience in looking at terrorist incidents over the decades is that this can take time, and you can't rush it. It can have a lot to do with the luck of the investigators, the skill of the investigators, whether you get cooperation from people coming in. I think we just have to wait a bit on that.
On your second question, as I said, the discussions in New York on the Security Council resolution are at a tactical phase where it's difficult for me, 8,000 miles away, to comment on what they're saying.
I believe the discussions that have been -- insofar as I've seen references to India, it has been a question of whether the Indians might be willing to provide troops to the coalition, which is something we would, of course, welcome. But that is now a matter, I think, that the Indian government has to consider and will have to consider in the light of whatever comes out in the resolution, assuming there is an agreed resolution in the next period of time.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. BREMER: On the first question, about Saddam, I've tended to stay away from making predictions about when we will capture or kill Saddam, because I think we really don't know, and we won't know until shortly before the event happens. So I don't find it very productive to speculate on are we closer or farther away, how close are we, how many days away, how many weeks. I think we're going to have to let events determine the answer.
On the question of trials, as I mentioned, one of the very first things that the Governing Council did was set up a committee to establish a tribunal to try members of the former regime who may be captured. And I understand that that committee is working on the rules and procedures for a tribunal. And I have told them that whenever they are ready, once they have established the rules and procedures for that tribunal, the coalition to prepared to turn over to them those prisoners against whom they may have charges, to be tried in that tribunal.
So Mr. Majeed would -- if they have charges against him, would presumably be one of the people that we could turn over. But that would be up to them -- to decide who they want to ask us to turn over.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. BREMER: No. I spoke with Ramiro da Silva on Thursday, whom the secretary-general has appointed as his interim special representative. He is the head of the U.N. agencies here. And I think it's a -- should be a cause -- that all U.N. officials and all people who love the U.N. should be very proud of the fact that the United Nations and its specialized agencies all opened for work today, only four days after the terrible attack. They are, for the time being, working out of temporary offices in various places around Baghdad and in some cases in trailers and tents at the site of the Canal Hotel.
They do intend to find more permanent -- a more permanent building in due course, but it will not -- there's been no discussion of them moving to the palace nor any ministries.
I think the thing to focus on here is the fact that the U.N. is back at work and back at work as of this morning.
Q Anthony Shadid with The Washington Post. Ambassador, you mentioned earlier that a good counterterrorism strategy requires good intelligence and an offensive strategy. How big of a problem has a lack of intelligence been so far, and how do you address that?
MR. BREMER: Well, any time you have the kind of tragedy we had on Tuesday, there's obviously a problem. That is to say you would like to have intelligence that is so good that you'd never have this kind of thing happen. The problem is, that kind of intelligence is hard to get.
In fact, I think, having worked in foreign affairs for almost 40 years now, there is no field in foreign affairs where intelligence is more difficult to get and more important to get than in the field of counterterrorism. It is difficult to get because a well-organized terrorist group is clandestine, secretive by nature. And if they are well-organized, they are also highly disciplined, and it's very difficult to get information, because if you're going to stop a terrorist group before it attacks and kills, you have to know about its plans ahead of time. And to know about its plans ahead of time, you basically have to have an agent inside the terrorist group. That's dangerous work. It's actually life-threatening. And it is, without a doubt, the most difficult intelligence challenge there is for any intelligence agencies.
We are constantly working to refine and upgrade our intelligence capabilities, particularly in the light of the terrorist threat here in Iraq. I did say earlier -- and I believe it is true -- that Iraq has become a new field of battle in this worldwide terrorist fight, and therefore we will continue to refine our intelligence.
But there is no such thing as 100 percent security against terrorism, and what we have to do is raise the threshold as high as we possibly can for terrorists, make it as difficult as possible for them, find and if necessary kill as many of them as possible before they can come and kill us.
Q I'd like to take another crack at my earlier question. The debate at the U.N. --
MR. BREMER: (Off mike) -- a second.
Q Yeah. The debate at the U.N. -- the reason that the United States or the coalition is having a hard time recruiting other countries to join this is because there's -- there's a multitude of reasons, but mostly there's the trepidation about taking orders from a U.S.-led organization. And there's been calls from the time that this war was even contemplated that it be a U.N.-administered occupation in Iraq.
And so, the question is is there any negotiating room, is there any room for any other countries to have any kind of greater voice, aside from your staff, who I presume take orders from you.
MR. BREMER: Sometimes.
Q (Laughs, laughter.) My experience is always.
MR. BREMER: (Laughs.)
Q So can you discuss that? I mean, that is -- I think we're all dancing around it, and it is the central issue at the U.N., which is the level of control that other countries might have. If they're going to send their sons and daughters here into a dangerous situation, they want to have some authority and control over how they're used. I do understand there's a separate issue of military control, and I don't expect you to address that. But there is the carrot issue of what they get out of contributing their blood and treasure here.
MR. BREMER: Well, let me just be sure I understand. You do understand that in terms of the military side, there will have to be unity of command. There is really no alternative to that.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. BREMER: Right. Okay, I got it.
The position of the coalition has been that the coalition is a broad tent, and anybody who wants to come and help with the reconstruction of Iraq is welcome to do that. As I said, I do have on our staff already citizens from 25 countries. I have almost 150 from the United Kingdom, for example. And these people operate under, it is true, the general direction of the coalition, but they represent their governments. They have a major impact into policy decisions that are made by the coalition. There is a free flow of exchange on all of the major decisions that come before the coalition.
Q I've got that. But they bought into the coalition when the war started. What you're talking about is recruiting new folks.
MR. BREMER: Well, I would have to look back at the timeline. If I had spoken to you -- if you'd asked the question a month ago, I'm sure I had far fewer than 25 countries represented on my staff. They're not all people who bought in at the beginning. We'll --
Q So how do you attract the new ones?
MR. BREMER: Well, we'll have to see how the negotiations in New York go at this point. It's very difficult for me to get into the middle of a negotiation that's taking place in another capital half a world away. And I just -- I think it's not wise for me to try.
STAFF: There's time for two more questions.
MR. BREMER: Yes, ma'am? Yes?
Q (Name inaudible) -- I'm sorry for my voice. I'm tired. I'm from Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Sir, your soldiers killed many Iraqi civilian people, and they say that it happened by mistake. Why you didn't give their families any apology, as Washington did with the two Pakistanian soldiers? That's the first question. The other one --
MR. BREMER: I'm sorry, I missed the first one because I was listening to the Arabic by mistake. Can you just briefly tell me what the first question was?
Q Yes, yes. Sir, your soldiers killed many Iraqi civilian people, and let's say that happened by mistake. Why you didn't give their families any apology as Washington did two days or three days ago with the two Pakistanian (sic) soldiers? That's the first question.
The second, if you don't mind, why do you think that there is not any American soldiers at the bombing which happened in United Nations organization and even Jordanian one?
The third one, we heard a rumor that you are going to leave Iraq. When that will be?
MR. BREMER: What is the third one? I'm going to what?
Q We heard a rumor that you are going to leave Iraq. Is that right? And the -- and there is another question, sir. They say that Paul Bremer is going to marry Iraqi girl. Is that right? (Laughter.)
And I have --
MR. BREMER: That's enough. That's enough. No, you only get four. You only get four.
Let me answer the last one first. I have answered it before. I have the maximum number of wives permitted under my religion. (Laughter.) I have no intention of leaving Iraq, either.
We have, actually, apologized when we have accidentally --
Q (Off mike.)
MR. BREMER: We have -- now, you had your question, I get to give an answer.
We have, in fact, issued a number of apologies in Baghdad, in Fallujah, in Ramadi, and in other places over the weeks. That is part of our common practice.
There were no Americans -- why were there no Americans killed at the U.N. or in Jordan, in the Jordanian bombing? Well, there were no Americans anywhere near the Jordanian embassy, that I'm aware of, at the time of it. And the American soldiers who were near the U.N. compound at the time of the bombing, they are basically stationed -- that element of the 2nd ACR is basically stationed on the other side of the U.N. building, not on that side. Okay, last question. No, you already had one. I've got to give somebody who -- I know you're -- but I have to give somebody who hasn't had a chance.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. BREMER: Well, there are two different questions here. On the general question of border security, as I said earlier in the press conference, we have a difficulty with our borders, we are aware of that, and we're working to try to reestablish control over our borders, in particular by using Iraqis in Iraqi border police and border patrol. We have 2,500 people already working there, and we intend to have 10 times that many.
Smuggling is a problem, and it's a particular problem, as you suggest, in the Basra and Umm Qasr area. In the last three weeks, we have had a major effort to crack down on the smuggling of particularly diesel fuel out of Iraq. We've had considerable success, though we have not finished yet. We have captured scores of tanker trucks with diesel that were trying to -- was being smuggled out. We have got more than 20 barges that we have seized that had illegal diesel loaded onto it for export.
And as you may recall, two weeks ago we seized on the high seas a tanker with more than 3,000 tons of illegally exported diesel. That tanker, the Navstar 1, is in port in Umm Qasr now. We have seized the vessel and we have arrested the crew for violating Iraqi laws. They will be tried in Iraqi prisons (sic), and the diesel will be returned to the Iraqi people to whom it belongs.