COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
DANIEL SENOR, CPA SENIOR ADVISER;
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF COALITION OPERATIONS
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 9:03 A.M. EST
DATE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2004
GEN. KIMMITT: (In progress) -- the area of operations remains relatively
stable. Over the past week, there's been an average of 17 engagements daily
against coalition military, just under four attacks daily against Iraqi security
forces and just over one attack daily against Iraqi civilians. The coalition
remains offensively oriented in order to proactively attack, kill or capture
anti-coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi people, in order to obtain
intelligence for future operations and to ensure the people of Iraq of our
determination to establish a safe and secure environment. To that end, over the
past 24 hours the coalition has conducted 1,462 patrols, 23 offensive
operations, 11 raids and captured 68 anti-coalition suspects.
In the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted -- (audio break) -- two offensive operations and detained five
anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday Iraqi Civil Defense Corps personnel in the
north were targeted in three attacks, wounding four soldiers. In the first
incident, two ICDC soldiers escorting a fuel convoy were attacked in Mosul. In
the second incident, two ICDC soldiers were shot in the legs in a drive-by
shooting in Mosul. In the third incident, two ICDC soldiers were wounded when
their checkpoint was attacked with multiple rocket- propelled grenades south of
Haman al Allil (ph). Both soldiers were treated in a local hospital and
coalition forces detained three individuals suspected of conducting the attack.
Early yesterday morning, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search in
central Mosul for Karim Abeed (ph), an active member of a local Fedayeen cell.
He was captured without incident.
In the north central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 340 patrols, eight raids and captured 31 anti-coalition suspects. Two
days ago, coalition forces conducted a raid near Baqubah. The targets are
believed to be members of an Ansar al-Islam terrorist cell. Forces captured
seven individuals to include four targets and the targets were captured without
In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 565 patrols, 38 escort
missions and captured 22 anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday, coalition forces
conducted a raid to capture individuals suspected of activities in the armed
Ba'athist Socialist Party. The unit captured eight personnel, including one
target, Halil Hussein Yusef al-Agedi (ph). Two days ago, forces conducted a
cordon and search in Baghdad to capture Hatim Dekal (ph) and members of his
cell. The unit captured five of the nine enemy targets, including the cell
leader along with 10 other individuals.
In the western zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted
273 patrols, including 15 independent Iraqi Civil Defense Corps patrols, and
captured seven anti-coalition suspects. Additionally, 1,349 persons and 40 buses
crossed back into Iraq at the Arar crossing, returning from the hajj. To date,
25,023 people have returned from Saudi Arabia through the western zone of
operations in conjunction with hajj operations.
Last night, coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search near Saddah in the al
Qaim region to kill or capture Hassimi Syet (ph) and Abu Abdullah (sp). Both men
are believed to be responsible for the killing of an Iraqi border policeman on
13 February, and four enemy personnel, including the two primary targets, were
captured without incident.
In the central-south zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 87 patrols, established 29 checkpoints and escorted 36 convoys.
Yesterday, an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps patrol east of As Sawara stopped three
Iraqi civilians in a car. A search of the vehicle revealed about five bombs, and
the individuals were detained and taken to a local police station for
In the southeastern zone of operations, approximately 500 hajj pilgrims returned
yesterday. We are awaiting confirmation that the last of the pilgrims have now
crossed the border, and we expect that the Red Crescent camp established near
Safwan will be closed today.
And we'll be happy to take your questions.
Q Quil Lawrence from the BBC. I have two questions, first about Iraqi airwaves.
There's been a report that a deal has been made to restructure Iraqi airwaves,
possibly with 75 percent of it going to the Hawam (ph) family, and I was
wondering if the CPA had anything to say about that report or if that was a deal
that CPA people were involved in. And --
MR. SENOR: We have not been involved with that. I would take that issue up with
the Ministry of Transportation.
Q And could that be done without a CPA senior advisor?
MR. SENOR: We would be involved in it just because of our international
obligations under the occupation to work out all issues related to
transportation on a macro level, but again I just don't know the details. I
would start with the Ministry of Transportation and see where they direct you.
It could be something that they're initiating and that we would get involved at
a later stage.
Q Okay. The second question, if you don't mind, is --
MR. SENOR: Yeah.
Q -- that there have been around 80 deputy ministers appointed, sometimes over
the objection -- well, certainly over the objection of CPA senior advisors and
sometimes over the objection of the ministers themselves. Are the CPA senior
advisors going to recommend any action about these deputy ministers?
MR. SENOR: There have been no deputy ministers appointed. There have been I
think over 80 -- I think that number is correct -- nominated, but there is a
process between the Governing Council and the CPA to finalize -- to confirm the
nominations, and that process is very fluid right now. So there have been no
appointments. There have been nominations, and there have been no rejections or
confirmations at this stage. The process is ongoing. There's consultations
between the CPA and the Governing Council on it.
Q Any idea when that would be --
MR. SENOR: We don't have a deadline set yet. The process is really just getting
started. We are reviewing CVs. We are in discussions with the Governing Council
about the various positions. We're in discussions with the ministers about how
they want to structure the roles of the deputy ministers in the respective
Q Gregor Mayer from the German Press Agency, DPA. Mr. Senor, what is the current
position of the CPA on the question of having reference to Islam as religion in
the basic law or transitional law? And did Ambassador Bremer have some remarks
on that today in Karbala?
And the second question, to General Kimmitt: There was reports that Saddoun
Hammadi, a former president of the Iraqi parliament under Saddam Hussein, was
released after nine months. Can you confirm that? What was the reasons to have
him held for nine months, and why was he released, if he was held for nine
MR. SENOR: In the November 15th political agreement reached between the
coalition and the Governing Council, one of the elements of that agreement was
the finalization of the basic law, the interim administrative law passed by the
Governing Council, by February 28th. And we agreed that certain principles would
be enshrined in that interim administrative constitution, including equal
rights, separation of powers, federalism, civilian control of the military, and
a recognition of the Islamic identity of the majority of Iraqis, while at the
same time respecting the freedom of worship for all Iraqis. And those are the
principles agreed upon. The Governing Council has certainly not taken any issue
with regard to those principles. And we expect all those principles to be
enshrined in the interim administratiave law when it comes to fruition at the
end of this month.
GEN. KIMMITT: As regards the release of a person named (Saddoun Hammadi ?), I
heard those same reports as I was coming in. I can't confirm that. It may have
been that somebody with that same name was released as part of the detainee
release program. But I just can't confirm it. We'll take that question and get
back to you.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Hi. Jill Carroll with ANSA. Going back to what happened in Fallujah, the
attack there, it seems the police and the ICDC were outgunned and outmaneuvered.
Does it raise any questions with you about their training as well as their
weapons they're equipped with? And secondly, why were there no U.S. soldiers
intervening in this? Did they not know about it, or was it just they didn't want
to be involved?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, it is tragic what happened at the Iraqi police
station, and we certainly feel for all the families who have lost loved ones in
With regards to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers that were involved in
that, in fact they were quite (competent/confident ?). And they were pinned down
initially during the attack but came back very, very quickly and killed quite a
few of the enemy, and wounded as well. I would tell you that when they came
during that operation back to FOB -- (inaudible) -- which is about five minutes
away from that location, asking for additional ammunition, the coalition forces
at that point said, "Do you need some assistance?"
The young battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Suliman (ph) said: "No, we've
got it. Don't worry; we are not concerned at this point."
Yes, it is tragic what happened with the initial attack, but \frankly, the
response of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps unit inside Fallujah, which had been
attacked the day before as part of the visit of General Abizaid, we're very
pleased with the way they responded. They were very pleased with the way they
responded; they were very, very comfortable with the operation at hand. The
coalition forces were in contact with the ICDC; no assistant was asked for, no
assistant was rendered.
Q As far as the Iraqi police, though, as well?
GEN. KIMMITT: We understand that. As part of the investigation we're going to
take a look at everything that happened. We understand that there may have been
some inside connections with the people that did attack. We understand that
there may have been some communications lines that had been cut intentionally to
ensure that the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps personnel were not able to reinforce
the Iraqi police. We have taken some people in the city of Fallujah into custody
for interrogation as part of this investigation. But it will be some time before
we know the outcome of that investigation.
MR. SENOR: Yes, Tom?
Q Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder. I'd like to touch on the incident in Fallujah as
well. I was wondering if you could comment at all on the nationalities of those
killed or captured during the fighting. As always with incidents like this,
there's a lot of talk on the ground -- you know, Lebanese, Iranian. Talk sort of
gets started and then it's hard to tell exactly what's going on.
And also, you've spoken several times about going from sort of a police foot
patrol model to something more akin to a fire station model, where they respond
to emergencies, as you said, when asked. I was wondering if you could talk a
little bit more about this incident in that context.
GEN. KIMMITT: Sure. Well, first of all, there were initial reports that some of
the people either wounded or killed were of foreign nationality. I think that
probably was some of the initial reports that came in. I can tell you that the
reports that we've gotten from the 82nd indicates that they were all Iraqi
citizens. That may turn out not to be the case after the investigation, but
right now the sensing of the commander on the ground was that these were all
On the issue of local control -- because I think what happens is there's often a
mistake, a misunderstanding. We are not going to move to the notion of local
control moving away from an area that is insecure. There is no timeline for
local control. The fact remains places like Fallujah are not ready for local
control. Local control, where you are moving back to the outskirts of the city
and letting the Iraqi security services take responsibility, is a
conditions-based program. When the conditions in the city are right -- in other
words, the level of insecurity is down to a certain level -- and the Iraqi
security forces are ready, then the coalition forces will make that
determination. That determination is not made by a clock nor is it made by a
calendar, but it's made by conditions. Linking local control to the events that
happened in Fallujah is a specious linkage because at this point there was no
determination that we would move to local control in the Fallujah area.
We're considering those areas that are much calmer, the areas we typically don't
talk about or have to report about. This is about 90 percent of the country, and
about 90 percent of the country or more, that majority, that they just don't see
any incidents nor do they see any kind of terrorist acts or shots fired, and
those are the areas that, then, is the first to look at for implementing the
program of local control. I would suggest that the areas like Fallujah, Ar
Ramadi, Baqubah, Samarra are probably not the ones that we're going to be
working the local control program first.
Q Is the --
GEN. KIMMITT: Yes, sir? Sorry, go ahead.
Q Would it be possible to -- I don't know if you could quantify local control,
but, I mean, certainly, you know, it's anecdotally obvious that U.S. patrols, as
compared to the summer for instance, have dropped significantly, during daylight
hours anyway. You know --
GEN. KIMMITT: Where?
Q I'm sorry, in Fallujah. And I was wondering just if you could sort of talk
about what you mean by local control.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, what I mean by local control -- probably a better example of
that is certain sections of Baghdad where, as you know, Tom, over the last
couple of months -- four months ago, we were getting nightly rocket attacks,
nightly mortar attacks, nightly RPG attacks. Those areas, we're not seeing that.
We're not hearing in the center of Baghdad large numbers of rocket attacks on a
Those areas that, after a certain period of time, it looks like things are
pretty calm; there's a good relationship between the citizens and their local
government, between the local citizens and the police, local citizens and the
ICDC; and the military presence is almost seen as redundant or in fact some ways
counterproductive because they're ready to take responsibility themselves, those
are the areas that we're going to be looking at for local control first. But
somehow to suggest that Fallujah is a candidate for that, I think the events of
the last couple of weeks has demonstrated that that's probably not where General
Swannack is looking for the first test case for local control.
Lisa, go ahead? Did you have anything?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, yeah.
Q Yeah. Also, a follow-up on Fallujah. Why, then was the decision to intervene
left to the discretion of the Iraqi ICDC commander? I mean, surely the soldiers,
the American soldiers must have heard what was going on, and it would have been
incumbent on them to at least go and have a look for themselves to see how
serious the situation was.
And also I wanted to ask about a report that there were four Iranians captured
in Fallujah and put in jail, and it was something that the city council was told
by the police chief last week. Was there no attempt by American or coalition
forces there to get to the bottom of who they were, why they were there and why
they were in a cell?
MR. SENOR: Actually, I think the report that we had was that the four people
that they were attempting to break out -- I'm not sure that they are Iranian.
These were people that were being held in the local jail because they had fired
on an ICDC bus the week before. There's still much that we don't know about that
But as regards to why didn't the coalition forces go check, as a matter of fact
we had an MP unit that was moving through the town that actually was stopped and
took RPG fire, and they were pinned down. But it's also important to understand
that the entire operation conducted against the IPS took on the order of 15
minutes. This was a very, very well-trained unit that came in. They came in, did
their business, and got out very quickly. The ICDC was pinned down for a certain
period of time, but by the time they were able to reestablish control in their
own area and go over and reinforce the IPS, the attackers were gone.
Q You have no idea -- you don't know about these alleged four Iranians who were
in jail and the city council had been told about them?
MR. SENOR: No. I'd ask the 82nd that question. They would probably be able to
give you a much better answer.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: Yeah. First of all, there were no special detainees that I'm aware of
that were kept in Fallujah. These were common criminals. That's why they were
being kept in the local jail, some of them for felony crimes such as attacking
ICD buses, so on and so forth, but no special detainees that come to mind.
Second, the Iraqi police service is armed. They have shotguns, they have
sidearms, much as what typical police services have. They have vehicles. They
have some levels of radio. They do have some sidearms for self-protection. The
heavier types of weapons and equipment we typically would find with the ICDC,
the local Iraqi Civil Defense Corps persons that are stationed just down the
street from them.
Q (In Arabic.)
GEN. KIMMITT: The movement of the forces outside of Baghdad is a decision that
was made by General Dempsey for the purpose, as we've talked about, on local
control. But local control is not just an issue of basing. By virtue of the fact
of these forces being outside the city of Baghdad, they still have the
capability to conduct patrols inside. But eventually, as we were going to have a
much less visible presence in Baghdad when the conditions permit, this was seen
as an opportunity, as General Dempsey and General Chiarelli are changing out
their forces, to move to a -- locations outside the city, with an eventual
desire to turning over the security of the city to the Iraqi security forces.
There's no suggestion that the movement to these new bases will necessarily
cause the forces of the 1st Armored Division or the 1st Cavalry Division to have
an immediate lesser presence, but that certainly postures them in the future to
lower that presence when the conditions permit.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Kristin Rossi (sp), CBS Radio. Could you talk a little bit about the mayor of
Fallujah and just kind of clarify? Did he resign? Was he arrested? And is he in
GEN. KIMMITT: I think as we're conducting the entire investigation, we're going
to be bringing in quite a few people in Fallujah to see what information they
may have in connection with the attack on the Iraqi police service station.
Q Just as a follow-up, is the mayor currently in U.S. custody, as is being
reported, or coalition custody?
GEN. KIMMITT: I know that he was brought in -- asked to come in for questioning.
Whether he is still being held by U.S. forces at this point, I can't answer
Q So he came in for questioning only?
GEN. KIMMITT: That's my understanding.
Q Thank you.
GEN. KIMMITT: And if those questions lead to his innocence then I suspect he
will be released. If those questions lead the coalition forces to suspect that
he may somehow have been involved in the loss of life of 25 Iraqi police service
members inside the town of Fallujah, I would suspect we're going to be holding
him for quite some time.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Yeah, I was wondering about this school blast -- this explosion at the school
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I just -- that's what I was handed a couple moments ago. We
understand that an improvised explosive device exploded at a school in central
Baghdad in the Kadhimiya district today at approximately 14:00 hours. Initial
reports indicate two civilians were killed and three were wounded. We don't know
the victims as of yet. We also understand that when we sent an explosive
ordnance team to assist that a second IED was found undetonated nearby. And I
see from this further report that a coalition explosive ordnance team
successfully defused and removed the second device. That's all the information
we have right now.
Q Do you have something about this morning -- outside of Fallujah in Amiriyah
there was some sort of shoot-out at a house that left -- there was a 70-year-old
farmer who they had wanted to come in for questioning, I think the 82nd
Airborne. And anyway, he died in an exchange of fire.
GEN. KIMMITT: No knowledge.
Q Do you have any more information about this American who was killed yesterday
GEN. KIMMITT: I have a -- there were a couple of attacks. I know we had one down
by Iskandariyah, but we also had a small convoy -- a number of Americans that
were wounded yesterday near Mahmudiya.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. SENOR: Please use your microphone.
Q The report from the 82nd Airborne was that an American -- a religious group,
they were coming back --
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah.
Q Yeah. And --
GEN. KIMMITT: I do know that there was a group affiliated with a church
organization that was moving -- they were ambushed near Mahmudiya on the 14th.
One American citizen was killed, two were wounded. We understand that the
wounded were taken to the 31st Combat Support Hospital here in Baghdad where
they were treated and released. And I note that if you need any further
information on this incident, or on the persons involved, we'd refer you to the
State Department Public Affairs office.
MR. SENOR: Anthony?
Q Anthony Shadid, Washington Post. General, you mentioned earlier that there was
-- an investigation would look at the possibility of inside cooperation in
Fallujah. Given the questioning of the mayor and other officials, could you talk
maybe a little bit more about what kind of cooperation you guys are looking for,
what might have taken place? And is it going further than the police station by
questioning the mayor?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I think we're going to let the investigation take it where
it leads. But there was some question about whether some communications lines
had been cut between the Iraqi police service, whether some people have been
contacted ahead of time -- for example, somebody being called up and say, "Hey,
go to Al Amiriyah because there's something happening out there and they're away
from the police station," to lessen the number of police that were at the
location when the attack actually occurred.
The 82nd Airborne and the Iraqi police service have the lead for the
investigation. And I think they're probably better sources of the information at
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (Name off mike) -- from CBS News. Can you comment on a report that in Mosul
the ICDC stopped a car which apparently contained barrels of mercury and what
they believe was uranium?
GEN. KIMMITT: No. First I've heard of it. I can't make any comment on that at
all. First report.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: The Governing Council has passed a very clear de- Ba'athification
policy. Ambassador Bremer first issued the de- Ba'athification policy on May
16th, and then in August, he delegated all responsibility and authority for de-Ba'athification
to the Governing Council, and then subsequently, the Governor Council recently,
in the last couple of months, issued their own policy.
Basically, it precludes the top four levels of the Ba'ath party, anyone from the
Firqa level and above, from serving in a public position, and any individual who
had served in the top three levels, top three layers of a ministry. There are
processes for appeal. There are processes to opt out of the appeal and instead
accept a monthly payment commensurate with the individual's -- what the
individual's monthly salary would have been at the ministry. And there were a
couple of other exceptions built into the policy. But otherwise, the policy is
quite clear, and it's especially strict vis- a-vis the security services,
because we and the Governing Council feel strongly that it would be a very
dangerous path to go down to start empowering senior members of the Ba'ath party
who were very functionally involved in the repression of the Iraqi people. It
would be very dangerous to begin empowering them in positions of security
service in the new Iraq.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: As far as Zarqawi's tactics or what may cause his change of tactics,
he was quite explicit in the letter that we have strong reason to believe was
drafted by Mr. Zarqawi. He says that his tactics are being driven in part by the
increasing strength and increasing numbers of the Iraqi security services. I
mean, he says in the letter, which I actually have here, the 17-page letter, he
says, "With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming
frightening." He also says that "our enemy is growing stronger day after day,
and its intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation." So
clearly the bolstering of the Iraqi security services was affecting his tactics.
Then also, he's in a race against time when he focuses on the June 30th handover
of sovereignty, which is well under way. He says, "If, God forbid, the
government" -- meaning the new Iraqi government -- "is successful and takes
control of the country, we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again." So
what's affecting his tactics are the strengthening of the Iraqi security
services and the accelerated path to handover of Iraqi sovereignty because he
says if there is Iraqi sovereignty -- if there is an Iraqi government, the al
Qaeda-type forces that want to wreak havoc in this country will lose their
pretext to operate.
What we need to do is we need to get that information out to as many Iraqi
people as possible. This is certainly the Governing Council's view; it's our
view. So they are aware of Zarqawi's strategy because in light of what he points
to as the sort of bulwark against his success -- Iraqi security and Iraqi
democracy -- he's proposing a new strategy, which is provoke sectarian warfare
in this country. And so we want to alert the Iraqi people to be aware of it; to,
A, provide more information and be on the lookout to prevent such acts; and, B,
in the event such acts take place, which are designed for provocation, to not be
lured into his trap and not be lured into such provocation.
And we have been quite emphatic from this podium about our concern about this
issue and our desire to get the information out, and certainly our desire to
capture or kill Mr. Zarqawi. We have certainly put out a sizeable reward to that
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: We have reason to believe that the letter was headed to senior al
Qaeda leadership outside of Iraq. This was based on information we gathered from
the individual in possession of the letter and secondhand information.
General, do you have -- is that --
GEN. KIMMITT: No.
MR. SENOR: Okay.
Q Christoph Reuter, Stern Magazine. Two questions.
First of all, it may sound basic, but who do you suppose, for the time being,
was behind the Fallujah attack, which group? Plus, do you have any indications
that this attack was made to liberate the prisoners inside this compound?
Second question. Referring to the five suspected Ansar al-Islam members captured
in Baqubah, which you showed a few moments ago, what indications do you have
that these people are really affiliated to Ansar al-Islam? Plus, were there any
materials found which would give some indications that they were preparing other
GEN. KIMMITT: With regards to who conducted the attack at Fallujah, it would
appear to us that the size of the attack and the tactics that were used, that
these were an organization, possibly paramilitary, possibly former regime
elements in the former Iraqi army. At the same time, some of the people that we
captured, some of the people that were killed, gave indications that they may
have belonged to some -- had some affiliation with terrorist groups.
So I'm not sure in the case of the Fallujah incident we're really going to be
able to pin this down. But as we said before, first indications, in many of the
suicide attacks, spectacular and symbolic, lead us to sort of point in the
direction of foreign terrorists. Here you had a case with a large number of
paramilitary forces that looked like they had prior military training and used
some level of skill in military tactics. That would cause us to lean first
towards former regime elements, former military. But then there were some other
-- (brief audio break). So, a little bit ambiguous on this one, but the first
leanings are towards former regime elements.
As to who they were capturing, it is our belief that there were up to four
prisoners being kept in the Fallujah jail that had been picked up recently in
connection with an attack on an ICDC, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps bus the week
before. Our first reports indicate that those were the target prisoners that
they were trying to release.
On the question of the coalition forces picking up the potential Ansar al-Islam
-- and we did say "suspected" Ansar al-Islam -- it was the intelligence ahead of
time that caused us to look to this group as having an Ansar al-Islam
connection. I don't know what has been found subsequent to that. Obviously, the
prisoners that were captured are being detained and being interrogated at this
time, and they may give us more information. Having talked to the organization
just before I came in here, they said, as you might suspect, these guys didn't
show up with five cards that said, "Current members, Ansar al-Islam." So it's
going to take some before that suspicion of being Ansar al-Islam is confirmed as
Q Coming back to the issue that you mentioned of the inside connections, that my
colleague already asked, what does that tell you, how worried are you that the
new Iraqi security forces, whether it's the CDC or the police, may be
infiltrated by either former regime supporters or terrorist groups? Or what is
the risk of that, how real it is?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, I think there's always a risk, any time you have any
organization stood up such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps or the Iraqi
Security Forces. We do have a very careful vetting process. That process is very
good, but it's not fail-safe nor is it foolproof. So there's always a concern,
and we take the appropriate risk measures to ensure that incidents like this are
MR. SENOR: Yes? You asked already, let me just ask someone who hasn't -- all
right, go ahead. Oh, you didn't ask? All right. The gentleman next to you; I'm
Q Johnny Donnan (ph), BBC News. Paul Bremer said yesterday that he had literally
dozens of plans in front of him for whatever might take sovereignty on June
30th. Is it fair to say that the caucus plan is looking now a little unwell, if
not dead in the water?
MR. SENOR: What Ambassador Bremer said is there are dozens of plans floating out
there, some in a very formal sense in terms of a proposal, some in terms of
people bouncing around ideas informally.
As for the caucus plan, we are moving forward on the implementation of the
caucus plan as it is outlined in the November 15th agreement. However, we have
said from the beginning that we would be open to clarifications, we'd be open to
elaborations, we'd be open to modifications to the plan, and certainly we would
welcome the advice that the U.N. has, that Mr. Brahimi has, that the U.N.
secretary-general has, in the weeks ahead.
So the plan, in terms of its implementation, hasn't changed. We're moving
forward with it. And we, like I said, all along have been open to suggestions
and modifications, and we'll just let that play out.
Q Julia Buckley, NPR News. I just want to get clarified how many people were
captured in Fallujah on Saturday -- Sunday? Two people, as I understand it, were
in the hospital They're no longer there. So I wanted to know if some more were
brought in to custody. And are there any suggestions that this group was the one
that perpetrated Friday's attack on the general?
GEN. KIMMITT: I can tell you that there is no connection that we are aware of
between this organization and the small group that fired the RPGs at General
Abizaid the day before. The last report that I have is we have -- I'll have to
go through the reports, but it was certainly less than 10 people that we have
captured. And I'll find out for you how many we still have in detention.
MR. SENOR: We have time for one more question. Yes, sir?
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: Let me clarify or get a better understanding of the question. Are you
asking if there are members of a former Ba'ath cell that are --
Q -- inside the new Iraqi army.
MR. SENOR: Okay. We apply the strictest standards of the de- Ba'athification
policy to every area of public service, of government service in Iraq,
especially the security services. This is not to say that, from time to time,
individuals do not slip through the cracks and make it in. That will happen from
time to time, and when we have that information we seek to address it and
rectify it immediately.
There are some individuals who have made appeals, whose appeals have been
accepted for reasons ranging from they were forced into the Ba'ath Party, they
joined the Ba'ath Party at a senior level under major threat or duress. There
are Iraqi POWs who, during the Iraq- Iran War, were over in Iran for some time
and, as a statement of honor, the symbol of honor, that the former regime
automatically awarded them the level of Firqa, which is within the top four
levels of the Ba'ath Party, even while they were still POWs. So when they came
back, they were at the Firqa level not by choice, and would have been subject to
de-Ba'athification. So there are exceptions made in that regard.
But otherwise, just in terms of senior Ba'ath Party members who apply for
positions in our security services or anywhere else in government, unless they
go through some appeals process, we will not allow them -- assuming we have the
information about their Ba'ath Party status, we will not allow them to serve.
Q Are you consulting with the Iraqi Governing Council on this matter?
MR. SENOR: Not only are we consulting with them, but Ambassador Bremer has
delegated all authority for de-Ba'athification. The de- Ba'athification policy
now is strictly in the domain of the Iraqi Governing Council. The Iraqi
Governing Council has a de- Ba'athification committee. It spent several months
drafting the policy. It is now their policy. It is administered by the Governing
Council. It is drafted by the Governing Council. They have the front-row
driver's seat in that regard. We're just in the back seat on this issue.
Thank you, everybody.