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L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Appointment of New Governor for Najaf
6 May 2004

After decades of brutal one-man rule, Iraq today stands on the brink of a new democracy. Just eight weeks from today an Iraqi government will assume full sovereignty.

One of that government's most important tasks will be to prepare for elections next January, Iraq's first free national elections.
Those January elections will elect a national assembly and that assembly will serve not only as a legislature but it will also write Iraq's permanent constitution.

That constitution, the first written by Iraqis and approved by a national referendum, will serve as the basis for Iraq's future governments. The constitution will embrace individual rights for all and equal treatment before the law. It will do so because the Iraqi people will accept no less.

But the difficulties and sufferings of the people of the middle Euphrates region cannot continue until then. The Iraqi authorities and the coalition are cooperating to reaffirm the rule of law and to restore order to the middle Euphrates area. To further that cooperation, I'm naming Adnan al-Zurufi as governor of Najaf.

Governor Zurufi, a member of the Bani Hassan tribe, earned a degree in Islamic law at Alfik (ph) College, the Islamic jurisprudence college, in Najaf. He is the right man for the job at this time. A sports hero as a youth, Governor Zurufi showed his love of justice as the head of an anti-Saddam student organization. This led to his imprisonment and escape from Saddam's jails. He participated in the
1991 Iraq intifada and was eventually forced into exile. He returned to Najaf in April last year.

Governor Zurufi's attachment to Najaf and his proven willingness to fight for justice will serve the people well as he administers the government.

The contrast between Governor Zurufi's love of justice and the behavior of another individual in the middle Euphrates could not be more stark. Over the past few months, one man and armed elements under his control have spread lawlessness, fear and economic paralysis, especially in Najaf and Karbala.

These lawless elements, who attempt to advance the interests of one group at the expense of everyone else, have engaged in armed attacks. They have occupied and looted public and private property by force of arms. These armed bands have fired mortars from the courtyard of the mosque in Kufa. They have stored arms and munitions in the mosques of Iraq's holy cities. They have operated outside the rule of law by conducting their own courts and prisons.

This must stop.

The people of the middle Euphrates are eager for a return to normal life and they're going to have it. There is no room in the new Iraq for the kind of lawless, self-interested behavior we have seen over recent weeks.

The coalition is providing the civil authorities, the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps with the authority and resources necessary to restore security and revive the regional economy.

Additionally, we want to work with local authorities to establish zones in and around the holy shrines where only licensed weapons are carried by specially trained police.

No individual is above the law.

No group is beyond the law. That is why we encourage Najaf's community leaders to come forth with proposals to bring matters to a reasoned and just resolution.

Establishment of lawful tranquility requires Sayyid Muqtada and his armed followers no more and no less than what is required of all citizens. First, Sayyid Muqtada must face Iraqi justice for the crime of which he has been accused. And second, his armed followers must disarm, as must the members of all such groups.

The people of the middle Euphrates have asked the coalition for help, and we will provide it. We will do all we can, but only Iraqis can provide the leadership necessary to reinstate and maintain the rule of law.

The governorate of Najaf must have a strong Iraqi administrator. Governor Zurufi is such a man. He is a committed and courageous supporter of democracy and law and order, and I am pleased to name him as the new governor of Najaf.

Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Zurufi.


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