Border Crossing Points Between Iraq and Iran to be Reduced
Washington -- The number of border crossing points between Iraq and Iran will be
reduced within days from 19 to three under the new border security initiative
being implemented by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), according to CPA
senior advisor Dan Senor.
Visitors entering Iraq by land will be required to present a passport and fill
out an entry permit form. A computerized electronic tracking system, called
PISCES, will receive these data, allowing all visitors to be positively
identified by border officials, Senor explained during a briefing in Baghdad
The initiative also calls for doubling the number of border law enforcement
personnel to 16,000.
"[The goal] is to decrease the number of foreign nationals crossing the border,
increase the number of immigration officers at border points, to install the
PISCES electronic computer tracking system, to increase the number of border
patrols, double the number of border police, decrease the length of stay of
foreign nationals crossing the border into Iraq, and begin to get in motion a
process for passport presentation and entry permit application for foreign
visitors," Senor explained.
CPA administrator Paul Bremer, in a March 13 press release, announced the
initiative as a response to the continued activity of foreign terrorists in
Iraq. "This program is a multi-stage effort to address security problems
exacerbated by Iraq's porous borders," the ambassador said, "but it will also
assure that when we turn over sovereignty to an Iraqi government on June 30 that
government will have the equipment, staff, training, and materials necessary to
operate each of its 20 major border crossing points."
According to Bremer, the plan was reached in consultation with the Iraqi
Interior Minister and other Iraqi officials.
When who will have responsibility for the border crossings after June 30, Senor
responded that the future Iraqi government will address most security issues in
coordination with remaining coalition forces.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director for operations for Coalition
Joint Task Force-7, who also took part in the briefing, said the CPA also is
looking at the borders between Iraq and other countries. But "borders are just
one element of an overall anti-terrorist, counter-terrorist campaign that is
being waged in this country and, sadly, in many, many countries in the world, as
we've seen most recently and most dreadfully in Spain. Everybody's got to be
involved in this fight," he said.
Although security is "not where we want it to be," Kimmitt noted that now, with
almost 200,000 Iraqi security forces in place, the situation is much different
than six months ago.
There has been a dramatic decline in random acts of violence and looting, Senor
added, saying that the most dominate form of violence now is targeted,
purposeful, terrorism against those individuals moving Iraq toward democracy. As
Iraq makes further progress toward sovereignty and democratic government, more
terrorist attacks can be expected, he said, because after June 30 "they will
lose their excuse for wreaking havoc in this country."
By Rebecca Ford Mitchell Washington File Staff Writer
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
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