COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
DANIEL SENOR, CPA SENIOR ADVISOR;
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF COALITION OPERATIONS
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 9:03 A.M. EST
DATE: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2004
GEN. KIMMITT: Today the Coalition Provisional Authority and Combined Join Task
Force 7 announce that the award for information leading to the apprehension of
Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, a suspected leader of terrorists in Iraq, will increase
to $10 million. Abu al- Zarqawi and his organization are closely linked to the
al Qaeda terror network. Zarqawi, born in Jordan, is the most capable terrorist
in Iraq today and his networks and contacts extend to Europe, Asia, Africa and
the Middle East. Jordan convicted Zarqawi in absentia for his role in the
October, 2002 assassination of USAID representative Lawrence Foley in Amman,
Jordan and the December 1999 millennium plot to attack Western tourists. Zarqawi
is the prime suspect in several terrorist attacks in Iraq to include the August
2003 bombings at the Ali Imam Mosque in An Najaf, which took the life of
Ayatollah Baqir al-Hakim, and he's also implicated in the U.N. headquarters
bombing in Baghdad.
The full resources of the coalition are focused on those who conduct or support
attacks on the people of Iraq. Zarqawi will be brought to justice or justice
will be brought to him. There is no safe place to hide. Terrorists would do well
to turn themselves in as we will continue to hunt them relentlessly until
they're killed or captured.
MR. SENOR: Over the days ahead the coalition will be launching a public
information campaign on Mr. Zarqawi that will be as elaborate and as widespread
as the public information campaigns launched with regard to Saddam Hussein and
his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. Outside we have available to you a number of
the products that will be distributed throughout the country. We will be
alerting Iraqis to the wild card, Mr. Zarqawi. We will also be ensuring that
every Iraqi is intimately familiar with this blueprint for terror in Iraq
document, Mr. Zarqawi's memorandum, his action plan to tear this country apart.
We will be highlighting certain messages that come directly out of his plan that
are his words -- Mr. Zarqawi speaking in his own words for his plans for various
Iraqis. Some of the messages that come directly out of his document that we will
be highlighting to the Iraqi people include: quote-unquote, "We were involved in
all the martyrdom operations in terms of overseeing, preparing and planning that
took place in this country. I have completed 25 of these operations, some of
them against the Shi'a and their leaders, the Americans and their military, the
police, the military and the coalition forces."
Another quote: "The Shi'a, in our opinion -- these are the key to change.
Targeting and striking the religious, political and military symbols will make
them show their rage against the Sunnis and bear their inner-vengeance. If we
succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy
Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of these (Sabeans
?) or the Shi'a."
Another quote that we will be communicating directly from Mr. Zarqawi: "So the
solution, and God only knows, is that we need to bring the Shi'a into the
battle, because it is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between
the infidels and us."
Another quote we will be communicating: "The Shi'a menace is looming and this is
a fact that we should not fear, because they are the most cowardly people God
has created. Killing their leaders will weaken them, and with the death of the
head, the whole group dies."
And finally one more quote from Mr. Zarqawi: "As far as the Shi'a, we will
undertake suicide operations and use car bombs to harm them."
These are Mr. Zarqawi's words communicating his plans for Iraq, communicating
his efforts to tear this country apart and turn it into an ethnic bloodbath. And
we will be communicating through a very elaborate and comprehensive public
information campaign Mr. Zarqawi's words for his plans for the Iraqi people.
With that, we will be happy to take your questions. Yes?
Q Hi. Jill Carroll with (ANSA ?). It seems before the -- well, a few months ago
President Bush was saying there's no firm evidence of a link between al Qaeda
and Saddam Hussein here in the country. And now we're seeing this letter here
and Abu Musaab Zarqawi is trying to recruit people and have terrorist sort of
operations here. Is it possible -- I mean, it seems the war has fostered al
Qaeda's presence here. What's your thought on that?
MR. SENOR: Is the question has the war fostered al Qaeda's presence here?
Q It seems after the war there is obviously a presence here of al Qaeda, whereas
as before, even the president was saying there wasn't a clear link between
Saddam Hussein or Iraq and al Qaeda.
MR. SENOR: I won't comment on the prewar issues; we're focused on the postwar.
And what we have said all along is that Iraq has become the central front in the
war on terrorism. Yes, we have seen an influx of foreign fighters that have come
into the country since the war because, we believe, the terrorists have declared
Iraq the central front in their war. However, Mr. Zarqawi's presence in Iraq and
connections to Iraq, we believe, predated the liberation of Iraq.
Q (Through interpreter.) A writer from the BBC, the Arabic. A question for
General Kimmitt. There is news from the newspapers saying that an attack
happened against -- (inaudible) -- of Mr. Abizaid. And there are a number of
newspapers or reporters confirming, I think, the attack that happened a few
hours ago. Some of them, they said that -- (inaudible) -- that were loaded with
600 pounds of explosives, they drove inside the airport and (exploded ?). Can
you give us some information on it, please?
GEN. KIMMITT: If you are talking about an attack that we had here in Baghdad
this afternoon? Is that the one you're referring to?
Q (Through interpreter.) It happened about two hours ago.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah. I can tell you that eight mortar rounds impacted the
vicinity of forward operating base of the coalition forces here in Baghdad
today. The first round was smoke. Seven others were high explosive. There were
three vehicles with shrapnel damage, and some other equipment was punctured. We
did have a number of -- three persons were wounded, and it looks as if one is
already returned to duty and the other two are being treated. Oh, I take that
back. In fact, those two are already returned to duty as well. So it was a minor
mortar attack; eight total rounds; three persons were wounded. All three of
those coalition soldiers have already returned to duty.
MR. SENOR: Yes, Brian?
Q (Through interpreter.) Something to do with for the Fallujah, please.
MR. SENOR: Brian?
Q I really just wanted to follow up on the question he was asking about Fallujah.
We were hearing reports on our way over here that General Abizaid was involved
in some sort of a firefight. If you could elaborate on that.
GEN. KIMMITT: Sure. Today at 1330 in Fallujah, General Abizaid and General
Swannack were visiting the local Iraqi Civil Defense Corps battalion
headquarters compound when three rocket-propelled grenades were fired at their
convoy from rooftops in the vicinity. No soldiers or civilians were injured, and
both coalition and Civil Defense soldiers returned fire and pursued the
attackers. A local mosque was thought to be harboring the attackers, and Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps soldiers conducted a search of the mosque without result.
I talked to General Swannack before I came in, and he attributes the attack to a
small number of personnel and unrepresentative of what he believes to be 95
percent of the people in Fallujah who are fully supportive of the coalition.
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q George Zuchs (sp), Fox News. The recent bombings -- what effect are they
having on the morale of enlisted Iraqis, and more specifically on potential
MR. SENOR: The bombings that you're referring to occurred in the last 36 to 48
hours, so we believe it's too early to draw any real conclusions about the
effects on morale and on recruiting. But what we can tell you is what our
experience has been in the past. This is not the first time that Iraqi security
services have been targeted by terror; there have been multiple occasions. Some
300 Iraqi police officers have been killed in the line of duty or being
targeted. A number of Iraqi police chiefs have been targeted. And yet, after
each of them -- police stations have been targeted too. And after each one of
these incidents, we have not seen a change in the recruiting trend line, in the
pattern; it's been a constant upward slope.
We find that despite attacks, Iraqis seem to be fully engaged and interested in
playing a part in the security of their own country. And so, when we talk to
Iraqis and they talk about a sense of national pride, and they talk about a
sense of patriotism, about being involved in the security of their own country,
we believe that these sorts of attacks tend to strengthen that sense of unity,
that sense of patriotism, that sense of call to public service. And that
I will add, again, I refer you to this document, because Mr. Zarqawi is a very
good resource on issues relating to the morale and effectiveness of Iraqi
security forces. And the exact quotes he uses is, and I quote Mr. Zarqawi, "With
the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening." He also
later on says, when he refers to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps -- he doesn't
refer to them by name -- he says, "In what they call the Sunni Triangle, the
army and police are spreading out in these regions, putting in charge Sunnis
from the same region. Therefore, the problem is you end up having an army and
police connected by lineage, blood and appearance to the people of the region.
If we fight them, that will be difficult because there will be a schism between
us and the people of the region." He also says -- later on he says, "Our enemy
is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases.
By God, this is suffocation."
So the Iraqi security services clearly are a threat to Mr. Zarqawi and these al
Qaeda-type terrorists in this country. And despite these attacks that we've
seen, many of which have the fingerprints of al Qaeda and its affiliates on
them, the effectiveness of the Iraqi services continue, and we believe the trend
will continue whereby Iraqis continue to step up to play a major role in the
security of their own country.
Q Dan, Reuters is reporting that, after a two-hour meeting with Ayatollah
Sistani, Lakhdar Brahimi said that he and the U.N. agree 100 percent with
Sistani's call for elections, and that they feel that elections are necessary.
What's the CPA's reaction to this?
MR. SENOR: I haven't seen the report, so we will wait for the report from the
U.N. team before we have an official reaction to any recommendation. We haven't
received any recommendation from the U.N. at this point. Obviously, when we do
have recommendations and observations from them, we will be prepared to react to
Christine? Welcome back.
Q This is for General Kimmitt. I just want to go back to your statement about
the August bombing in Najaf and the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and Mr.
Zarqawi's role. Can you give us more specifics why you're saying he is? And
also, I'm a little confused about why do you think he is here now, and has that
been spelled out?
GEN. KIMMITT: We have intelligence and we have evidence which links Zarqawi to
those specific attacks, and in his letter himself he admits that he participated
in 25 major operations here within the country. We believe that the letter is
further confirmation of some of the evidence that has been gathered in both of
those, and we intend to continue to pursue those leads to where they take us.
MR. SENOR: Yeah, again, in his letter, just to what General Kimmitt was
referring to, he says, "We were involved in all the martyrdom operations, in
terms of overseeing, preparing and planning that took place in this country. I
have completed 25 of these operations, some of them against the Shi'a and their
Q If I can just follow up on that, I guess I'm asking: If he is saying that, are
there methods and procedures and, you know, something that has -- you physically
see in the investigations of these bombings that show a tie to all the bombings
beyond him, perhaps, boasting in that letter, in order to recruit people?
GEN. KIMMITT: In terms of when we start to think that these types of attacks are
not from local Iraqis and former regime elements is, as I've said before, the
three S's: suicide, spectacular and symbolic.
Clearly, when you're attacking a police statement in Iskandariyah with a car
bomb delivered by a suicide bomber, you're attacking with a suicide bomber
something that we don't typically associate with the vast majority of attacks
being conducted by former regime elements.
Spectacular: clearly, large explosion, going after -- for the maximum amount of
casualties you can inflict on civilians.
And symbolic, trying to go against one of the fledgling institutions -- security
institutions of this country, for the sole purpose of trying to drive a wedge
between the people of Iraq and their fledgling institutions.
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q Shobitbru (sp) from NHK. Related to my colleague, apart from fact that he
alleged that he did 25 attacks here, is there any intelligence else that makes
you believe that he was involved in that terrible U.N. bombing and the Najaf
And one for you, Mr. Senor: So far, what kind of communications did -- the CPA
had with Mr. Brahimi's team in the U.N.? And could you give us what kind of
conversations you had with that team?
GEN. KIMMITT: To answer the first question, we have had Mr. Zarqawi as one of
the lead suspects in the Najaf bombing and the U.N. bombing for months now, long
before we had this letter that was boasting of those 25 attacks.
MR. SENOR: As for our interaction or discussions with the U.N. team, we have
made it clear from the beginning, since the U.N. team's arrival, that we would
make available technical assistance, logistical support and security, to the
extent that they need it. And we have provided all three.
Otherwise, the U.N. has conducted its own research and fact- finding
independently of us in this country and operated independently, without any
coordination with us.
Q (Through interpreter.) Saddiq Rahim (sp) -- (affiliation inaudible). There's a
question. This operation -- there's people believe that finding of the letters
and the confirming the presence of Zarqawi -- that helps delay the elections and
delay the ( sovereignty ?) and delay the team transitions of -- it helps with
the U.N. team, and there's possibility that the coalition -- they're presenting
the documents now for a purpose. What do you guys think about it?
MR. SENOR: You mean that we're presenting the document as a means to delay the
STAFF (?): Yes.
MR. SENOR: To delay handover of sovereignty?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yes.
INTERPRETER: He doesn't have that one, yes.
MR. SENOR: We --
GEN. KIMMITT: The opposite.
MR. SENOR: Yeah, it is exactly as General Kimmitt just said, it is just the
opposite. We are focused on handover of sovereignty on June 30th, as explicitly
outlined in the November 15th agreement between the coalition and the Governing
And Mr. Zarqawi references that handover date himself when he says, "How can we
kill their cousins and sons" -- referring to the Iraqis -- "How can we kill
their cousins and sons and under what pretext after the Americans start
withdrawing? The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the
sons of this land will be the authority. This is a democracy. We will have no
pretext." Mr. Zarqawi also says later on, "If, God forbid, the government is
successful and takes control of the country, we just have to pack up and go
somewhere else again where we can raise the flag again, or die if God chooses
So we recognize that we are focused like a laser beam on handover of authority
this summer, and Mr. Zarqawi is clearly focused on it as a laser beam -- focused
like a laser beam on our handover date. We are not moving around that date; Mr.
Zarqawi understands that. And it is especially important that in light of the
fact -- as is evidenced by this memorandum, in light of the fact that Mr.
Zarqawi recognizes that one of the greatest bulwarks against his efforts to
spread terror in Iraq will be Iraqi control of the government, it is especially
important that we stick to our plan and move forward this implementation.
Q (Name inaudible) -- Romanian Radio. How much is the -- how many people does al
Qaeda have here? I mean, do you have any idea about the size of the
organization? And what are you doing against them? Let's say there are 25
suicidal attacks. How many people did you catch, if you caught any, before they
managed to do a suicidal attack?
GEN. KIMMITT: On the issue -- first of all, we have deterred a significant
number of terrorist attacks by the amount of equipment that we've picked up, by
the types of equipment we've picked up, by the variety of equipment. When we
start finding mechanisms for detonation, remote control devices, large caches of
explosives, every one of those have the potential use of conducting or being
used for a car bomb, for an IED, for any kind of attack on Iraqi citizens or on
We have said from this podium for a number of months we have a number of people
that we suspect have either received training or use tactics and techniques
characteristic of al Qaeda. It was not until recently, when we captured a known
al Qaeda operative in mid-January, that we actually believed that there was
irrefutable evidence of the presence of al Qaeda inside this country.
As to the numbers, as to future attacks, you can be assured that that's what
we're trying to determine. Our intelligence analysts are working overtime on
that very matter. And we will continue to attack -- to kill or capture those
before they attack citizens of Iraq or coalition forces.
MR. SENOR: Jim?
Q Yeah, hi. Jim Crane with the AP. On the attack in Fallujah today on General
Abizaid's party, it looks, at first glance anyway, that the insurgents had some
sort of foreknowledge that Generals Abizaid and Swannack would be at this
compound. We're wondering if you have any clue as to how or where the
information might have leaked out about this visit, and if you are investigating
whether there was a leak and perhaps querying ICDC members at that compound or
other Iraqi employees of the U.S. military in the area. Thanks.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, I would challenge your assertion that there
was foreknowledge that General Abizaid and General Swannack would be there. I
would like to say this is the first time we've stood at this podium and reported
attacks in Fallujah. It is not. Whether we can directly link this attack to any
foreknowledge that General Abizaid and General Swannack were going to be there I
think is a bit of a leap that we're not prepared to make at this time.
MR. SENOR: Neil?
Q Hi. Neil King, Wall Street Journal. I was just wondering, Dan, if you could
elaborate a bit on where this letter was found and how you've gone about
establishing its authenticity?
GEN. KIMMITT: Sure. I mean, we have said numerous times that this letter was
provided to us as part of the capture of a known al Qaeda courier that happened
in mid-January. We have had independent intelligence confirmation of this letter
that would give us reason to believe that this is a credible letter and a
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q Josh Hammer from Newsweek --
MR. SENOR: Can you use your -- you've got to turn it on. There you go.
Q Sorry. Josh Hammer from Newsweek. Are you certain or can you state one way or
the other whether the suicide attacks are being carried out by foreigners? And
can you also talk a little bit about the efforts -- how successful your efforts
have been at stopping infiltrations of foreign jihadis coming across the Syrian
border or whatever, wherever else?
GEN. KIMMITT: First of all, I would not ever stand up here and say we're certain
of anything. The enemy has as much reason to keep his information away from us
as he does -- as we do from him. So "certainty" is not a word we're ever going
With regards to how effective we've been on keeping the jihadists out, one
jihadist inside this country is too many. We would prefer to keep them all out.
That's probably unreasonable. We're going to continue to use every method
possible along the borders, inside the cities, using technical means and human
means, to try to discover when they come in and prevent them from carrying out
attacks. I think it's unreasonable to expect that we will damp this down to a
number close to zero, but we're going to continue working on that.
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q Ami Mahd (sp) from Al-Jazeera. Sir, Mr. Dan -- (inaudible) -- aren't you
afraid that by reading those quotations of Musaab al- Zarqawi it might cause, in
a certain way, degeneration between Sunni and Shi'a in Iraq?
MR. SENOR: That it might what? I'm sorry?
Q It might cause degeneration in the relationship between the two communities,
the Sunni and the Shi'a.
MR. SENOR: Most Iraqis we speak to talk about a unified Iraq, that they're not
interested in an Iraq divided up by ethnic enclaves or by ethnic civil war. Most
Iraqis want a country that is sovereign, independent, democratic, united.
And it is important for Iraqis to be aware that when there is an attack against
their community that could be characterized as an ethnic warfare-motivated
attack, that it is actually not an ethnic group that's attacking them, but
actually one individual and his terror network that are trying to tear this
country apart and pit one ethnic group against another. It is important for
Iraqis to have a crystal-clear understanding of this game plan, so that when
they are attacked, they are aware that it is not their fellow Iraqis attacking
them; it is a foreign terrorist with ties to al Qaeda that is trying to turn
this country upside down and promote bloodshed and tragedy.
Q Deborah Amos with National Public Radio. Dan Senor, can you tell me what the
plans or preparations are for the election selection caucuses to choose a
parliament before the July 1st hand- over?
MR. SENOR: What are the plans right now that we are working -- right now there
are refreshments -- what we call refreshments going on in a number of the
provincial and city and town councils, to improve them, make them more
representative. And those councils will have a hand in selecting members of the
organizing committees for each caucus. Each caucus will have 15 members -- a
15-member organizing committee that will effectively recruit or solicit
delegates to the caucus. And the caucuses -- the organizing committees, five
members will be chosen by the Governing Council, five members will be chosen by
the provincial councils, and five members will be chosen by the five largest
cities or towns, the five largest city or town councils in a particular
And so right now we are in the process of, on a province-by- province basis,
refreshing the provinces and working with the governing councils and the local
communities to refresh the city and town councils in preparation for the
organizing committees' selection of delegates for the caucuses. That's going on
Q Can I just follow that up?
MR. SENOR: Sure.
Q (Off mike) --
MR. SENOR: I can't hear. You have to use the microphone.
Q Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I had. Just to follow up, is there any sense of a
date when those selections and those members of parliaments will be selected?
MR. SENOR: Well, the date by which the transitional national assembly -- the
parliament, to use your words -- the date by which that body must be selected is
June 1. And so it is between February 28th, which is the deadline for the
passage of the basic law, the interim administrative law, is between February
28th and June 1 that all that work must be completed. June 1 is when the members
of the transitional national assembly will be sent to go to perform to work in
the national body. And then it's between June 1 and July 1 that that
transitional national assembly will elect a government, an executive branch, if
Q (Through interpreter.) A question from the German -- (inaudible). A question
for General Kimmitt. That Mr. Zarqawi, with the group, are they performing these
attacks by themselves or by help by some of the Iraqis? Can you name some of the
organizations who are helping Mr. Zarqawi?
GEN. KIMMITT: I think the question you asked was, is Mr. Zarqawi and his foreign
associates responsible for these attacks, or have they enlisted Iraqis to assist
them? Is that your question?
Unfortunately, I think it's sad to recognize that in fact the terrorist networks
have to find sanctuary, they have to find support and they have to find
equipment in their place of operation. That happens to be the country of Iraq in
this case. We would suspect that they are being greatly supported by a small
number of Iraqis who, for whatever motivations, whether it's a desire to see a
return to the pre-Saddam times or for whatever reason, are providing support for
them. It's sad, but I think we must all acknowledge that we do have Iraqis that
are facilitating these foreign fighters to carry out these deeds against their
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Catherine Phillips (sp) from the Times of London. General Sanchez stood up
here two weeks ago and told us that you have been able to identify the
nationality of a single suicide bomber who has succeeded in his mission. Also,
Time magazine printed a report having viewed a video CD of suicide bombers
preparing to launch attacks, some of whom appear to be Iraqis. I wonder how you
can be so certain all these attacks are being carried out by foreign fighters.
GEN. KIMMITT: We can't be 100 percent certain. However, as we take a number of
detainees, as we've captured a number of foreigners involved collaterally in
some of these operations, there has been no suggestion that the vast majority or
even a majority or even a minority of the attacks were carried out by citizens
of this country. It is more characteristic that the types of people that would
be responsible for carrying out these attacks are those that come from a
particularly extremist bent. We have not seen, in general, any of those types of
extremist bents inside this country. And so it continues to be our assertion
that the vast majority of these persons that carry out the suicide attacks are
in fact religious or terrorist extremists that come from outside the country
enlisted for the sole purpose of carrying out these attacks.
MR. SENOR: And again, we just ask you to read the Zarqawi letter, which -- take
him at his word. "We were involved in all of the martyrdom operations that took
place in this country. I have completed 25 of these operations." We believe this
document is credible and he speaks for himself on this front.
Yes, sir? You, yeah. The gentleman right behind you.
Q (In Arabic.)
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question about the explosives that are often used,
these types of explosives that are used in attacks are very common throughout
the country, throughout the region, throughout the world. I don't think you can
specifically point to one country, to one region on the types of materials that
are being used. PE4, TNT, artillery rounds are fairly generic, can be found in
most any country. So I don't think you can try to link the explosives used with
the country that the persons might have come from.
On the second issue, we had, as you might imagine, first of all, go through the
process of translating any documents when we capture any prisoner. We have to go
through a long process of translation, interpretation, verification. So I think
it's just -- it was a matter of time that caused us to make the -- that caused
the intelligence services to delay for a period before they could, one, properly
translate it; two, verify it; and three, put some credibility behind the
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q Charles Duhigg from The Los Angeles Times. Returning really quickly to the
Fallujah attacks; so is it your belief that these were just random attacks that
happened to hit the two generals?
GEN. KIMMITT: No, I'm not suggesting that at all. But neither am I suggesting
that these were planned in advance. If I was a small squad with three or four
RPGs, I think the last group that I'd be going after is somebody with the
military experience of both General Abizaid and General Swannack. Those guys
have a long, long military career, fairly robust combat records; surround
themselves with people that are extraordinarily capable. And that would not be a
fight that I would be expecting to win if I went one on one with them.
Q Is there an investigation, then, to see if there was in fact someone who gave
prior notice that these two high-profile individuals would be in this area --
GEN. KIMMITT: Sure. Any time we have an attack --
Q -- from within the military establishment or someone who works with -- closely
with the military?
GEN. KIMMITT: Any time we have an attack on coalition forces, any time we have
an attack on Iraqi civilians we're going to take a hard look at what happened.
We're going to see if there was any kind of intelligence breach. We're going to
see if there was any kind of pattern that we were displaying that might have
provoked an attack in terms of our profile, how many vehicles, so on and so
forth. So we're certainly going to do an after-action review of this incident.
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q (Through interpreter.) General Kimmitt, I would to explain further on the
element that you have captured that belongs to the Black Victory and their
location. That's the first question.
Second question, to continue the Fallujah attack and the -- (inaudible) -- is
there a weakness or failure of security policy that the coalition forces or the
Iraqi police are committing or following?
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question, asking about the group Black Victory, I'm
not familiar with that organization. Let me take that question and we'll try to
do some research to see if we can answer your question.
On the second, does the presence of a terrorist attack, such as we've seen in
Iskandariyah, such as we saw here in Baghdad -- let me just tell you that every
time we have one of those attacks, we do a very, very conscious and deliberate
review of the force protection measures that were in place. We want to ensure
that if there is something that has been discovered as we look through the whole
event, something as we review the circumstances surrounding that, if the enemy
has found a particular weakness that could be exploited again in the future, you
can be certain that the commanders are going to take a hard look at that and
make sure they put into effect force protection procedures to prevent that or
mitigate the risk of that happening again.
But we have said many, many times we're fighting a clever enemy, and this is
something that is faced in every country in the world by the terrorists. They're
going to work very, very hard to try to find patterns and weaknesses. They're
going to try to exploit them. We're going to catch them most times. We're going
to catch them the vast majority of times. However, to suggest that we're going
to catch the terrorists every time I think is a standard that nobody will be
able to keep and maintain.
MR. SENOR: We have time for one more. Yes, sir?
Q Inigo Gilmore from the London Telegraph. There were reports yesterday on the
BBC that Zarqawi might be held in a prison in Iran. Are you ruling that out,
first of all? And secondly, if he is so in Iraq, which forces will be involved
in whatever kind of manhunt that will be undertaken? Will it be special forces
or other groups that were involved in the hunt for Saddam?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, we have no reports suggesting that he's in
Iran. If he's being held in a jail in Iran that's probably a good place for him
to be held, and I suspect there will be some diplomatic contacts made between
countries and Iran to provide for extradition and to bring him to justice.
MR. SENOR: This is -- that was our last question. Just a couple of quick
Q Sorry, the second part of the question wasn't answered. If you are hunting for
him in Iraq, who will be involved in that hunt? Which forces would be involved
in that hunt?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, let me tell you what forces are going to be involved in the
hunt for Zarqawi. Every coalition force is on the hunt for Zarqawi. Every Iraqi
civil defense soldier is on the hunt for Zarqawi. Every Iraqi policeman is on
the hunt for Zarqawi. Every border policeman is on the hunt for Zarqawi. Every
soldier that belongs to the Iraqi armed forces is in the hunt for Zarqawi. Every
citizen in the country of Iraq should be in the hunt for Zarqawi and provide
intelligence to the coalition forces and the security services so that we can
ensure that this terrorist is hunted down and brought to justice. So that's
about 25 million forces that we have inside this country hunting for Zarqawi.
MR. SENOR: And they're already proving their effectiveness. Again, if you refer
to the Zarqawi letter, he says, "With the spread of the army and police, our
future is becoming frightening."
He says later on, "Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its
intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation." That
intelligence information is coming from the Iraqi people. We have seen a clear
improvement in the quality of intelligence we are getting from the Iraqi people,
and that's the suffocation that Mr. Zarqawi's talking about.
Just a couple of quick administrative items before we go. One, we have waiting
for you when you depart CDs with the English translation of the Zarqawi
document, the original Arabic Zarqawi document, as well as a number of the
products that will be distributed nationwide in the days ahead in the hunt for
Mr. Zarqawi. That's all contained on a CD. We have multiple copies for all of
We also have copies of the card, the -- what we call the wild card, the Zarqawi
wild card, which includes the $10 million "wanted" information, the bounty.
Tomorrow there will be a press conference in this room at 3 p.m. It will be held
by a senior CPA official. We'll be announcing that tomorrow, in terms of who
that will be. But it will be an important press conference. That's tomorrow at 3
One other administrative item. The Iraqi Medical Society Conference will be
holding its February conference on Saturday. Exact details of time and location
will be issued tomorrow. This is a conference that is designed to help establish
medical speciality societies. This initiative will bring the level of hospital
care in Iraq to international standards.
The society has been traveling around the country to inform specialists about
the benefits of forming medical specialist societies. They've acquired 100 free
memberships from the American Medical Association for distribution at the
conference. They've organized a shipment of 15,000 medical journals from AMA for
distribution. They've extended invitations to 700 Iraqi physicians and medical
specialists, and 30 expatriate guest speakers. And they've received $110,000
through in-kind contributions to prepare for the conference.
Again, it's being held tomorrow. They've received $250,000 grant through USAID.
And finally, as of tomorrow, you'll be able to access the Zarqawi documents,
both the English translation and the original Arabic document, as well as some
related information, on the CPA website, www.cpa-iraq.org\zarqawi,
GEN. KIMMITT: Thank you.