COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COALITION OPERATIONS;
AND DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, CPA
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 9:20 A.M. EST
DATE: MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good afternoon. I just have a short statement and General Kimmitt
has an opening statement, and then we'll be happy to take your questions.
In response to allegations of the former regime's misconduct in the
administration of the oil-for-food program, Ambassador Bremer has issued a
directive to interim Iraqi ministers, CPA senior advisors and regional
governance coordinators to safeguard all information related to the oil-for-food
program. This includes contracts, amendments and annexes to contracts and
supporting materials. The directive stated that documents should be inventoried
and recorded and inventories provided to CPA as soon as possible.
Irregularities, including any evidence of bribes, kickbacks or corruption,
should be noted. CPA officials will review submitted inventories and may seek
access to any or all records associated with the oil-for-food program. These
documents will be made available to investigations, some of which are being
conducted by the United Nations, the U.S. Congress and Iraqi officials. The
coalition is also assisting interim Iraqi ministers in identifying any current
ministry officials who may have knowledge of misconduct arising from the
administration of the oil-for-food program.
GEN. KIMMITT: Thank you.
The area of operations remains relatively stable. Over the past week there have
been an average of 21 engagements daily against coalition military, just over
two attacks daily against Iraqi security forces, and just under four attacks
daily against Iraqi civilians.
The coalition continues to conduct offensive operations to kill or capture
anti-coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi people, to obtain intelligence
for future operations, and to ensure the people of Iraq of our determination to
establish and provide a safe and secure environment. To that end, in the past 24
hours the coalition conducted 1,336 patrols, 20 offensive operations, 16 raids,
and captured 69 anti-coalition suspects.
In the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 75 patrols, three offensive operations, and detained nine
Two days ago, an Iraqi police station southeast of Rabiya was attacked with
small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Iraqi police the attackers
without effect and are investigating the incident.
In the north central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 290 patrols, five raids, and captured 36 anti-coalition suspects.
Yesterday the chief of police in Balad, Lieutenant Colonel Fadil Ali Jansen
(sp), was assassinated in Balad. Eyewitnesses saw the killers drive off in a
gray, late-model Kia and noted the license plate number, 8881, found later to be
a rental vehicle from Baghdad. A good description of the assailant was also
obtained, and a be-on- the-lookout alert has been issued.
Yesterday coalition forces conducted a raid in Kirkuk in order to capture three
brothers suspected of planning to attack a location in Kirkuk, under the guise
of Northern Oil Company security personnel. The unit captured one of the
brothers and continues to conduct operations to capture his two siblings.
Yesterday coalition forces conducted a raid in Baiji to capture a suspect in the
12 March rocket-propelled grenade attack which resulted in the wounding of a
coalition soldier. Three individuals were detained, including the primary
An unidentified civilian was killed and eight Iraqi Civil Defense Corps
personnel were injured this morning by a car bomb at one of the gates to LSA
Anaconda. The dead civilian is believed to have been the driver of the car that
exploded, and six of the wounded were taken by ground ambulance to the 31st
Combat Support Hospital in Balad. Two ICDC members were treated at a local
hospital, and coalition quick reaction forces responded to the attack and have
cordoned off the area.
In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 538 patrols, 35 escort
missions, and captured seven anti-coalition suspects.
Two days ago, coalition forces observed rockets landing in the coalition sector.
They observed a vehicle flee the scene with his lights off and followed it to a
nearby house. The unit searched the house and discovered artillery aiming stakes
and weapons. The unit captured two Iraqi citizens, who tested positive with a
Operation Iron Promise continues. As of last evening, 1st Armored Division
troops conducted 76 battalion operations, had captured 115 enemy personnel, 208
weapons, 107 artillery and rocket rounds, and significant quantities of
improvised explosive device materials.
More than 130 Iraqi police service officers are undergoing advanced forensic
training. The officers departed over the past two days for the United Arab
Emirates for a three-week training course provided by trainers sent by the
government of Germany, which also donated forensics kits for each of the Iraqi
trainees to use in the investigation of crimes here in Iraq.
In the western zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted
208 patrols and detained 20 anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday coalition forces
conducted a cordon and search in Fallujah to kill or capture enemy forces
suspected of planning and supporting the attack against the Fallujah police
station on 14 February. The operation resulted in the capture of two enemy
personnel and a quantity of weapons and ammunition. Yesterday coalition forces
and the Mahmudiya police conducted a joint operation to kill or capture four
brothers suspected of a recent attack on the Mahmudiya police chief. The
operation netted in the capture of all four targets.
In the central-south zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 110 patrols, established 48 checkpoints and escorted 42 convoys. Two
days ago an Iraqi judge was killed when his car exploded in Al Hillah. Iraqi
police, coalition quick-reaction forces and military police were dispatched to
the area and the Iraqi police service will take the lead for this investigation.
Finally, in the south-eastern zone of operations, on Saturday a position manned
by coalition forces at the Shatt al-Arab Hotel was attacked by Iraqi males who
fired approximately 50 rounds in their direction. A quick-reaction force was
deployed and captured two personnel currently being held for questioning.
MR. SENOR: And with that we are happy to take your questions.
Q (Through interpreter.) I have two questions. The first question for General
Kimmitt: You say that news media, the Arab media, say that there are six
officers who were in the Iraqi army -- there were high-ranking officers, a
lieutenant general and 11 officers who were sent to the United States to train
them there intensively and bringing them back to use them in the Ministry of
Defense. Is this news true?
You, Mr. Dan, you talked about training the Iraqi police in the United Arab
Emirates. We know that their training will be in the field of forensics. Why did
you choose the United Arab Emirates and what is the role of the German police in
this training and expanding on this training?
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question, we were asked the other day whether we had
any Iraqi generals in Jordan for training. We did have eight Iraqi future
generals -- candidates for general officers who transited through Jordan on the
way back from a course in the United States. Many of you are familiar with the
Marshall Center that we have in Germany. At that place it's an opportunity to
bring generals from different countries together for the purpose of discussing
how militaries that work in countries with civilian control of the military --
how they operate, how they set up their budgets, how they work the
civil-military cooperation between the defense department and the military
We have started a new course -- the vicinity in the area of the National Defense
University in Washington, D.C. We had these future generals go back to the
United States for some intensive training in the United States for that very
same reason. At this location, at the National Defense University, they became
exposed to the notion of how does the military operate with civilian control.
What are the budgeting processes? What are the civilian- military relations, as
I mentioned earlier? At that location, they saw it all happening. They were
exposed to officers from other countries that live in that environment. They
were able to use that opportunity while in Washington, D.C. to visit some of the
different organizations such as the Pentagon, such as Office of the Secretary of
Defense, office of the chairman joint staff.
So we see this as an opportunity to set that future leadership corps and cadre
up for success as we move the process of developing the Iraqi armed forces from
far more than simply companies, battalions or brigades, but also simultaneously
training what will be the future leaders of the Iraqi armed forces and how they
will operate in a society where civilian control of the military will be the
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q Mr. --
Q I had two questions.
MR. SENOR: Oh, sorry.
Q Second question.
MR. SENOR: Right.
GEN. KIMMITT: The course was offered, as we understand, by the government of
Germany at a location in the United Arab Emirates. I don't know particularly why
that site was chosen.
(To Mr. Senor.) Perhaps you have more?
MR. SENOR: I don't have the details on the site, but generally speaking, as you
know, we have a very ambitious plan for the training of Iraqi security forces
across the board. And there is not sufficient capacity within Iraq to
accommodate the schedule that we intend to abide by for the training of security
forces, so in some cases we go outside the country. There may not be the
capacity, the infrastructure capacity, or there may not be the skill sets
locally necessary to train in certain areas as expeditiously as we'd like to, so
we sometimes direct that outside the country. It's temporary. The goal is not to
train these individuals or train individuals in these specific areas long into
Iraq's future outside the country. But in the short term, as we're building up
these forces, sometimes it's necessary to tap into other countries.
Yeah. Fiona (sp).
Q Can you give us an update to the investigation to the killing of the Arabiyah
MR. SENOR: Yeah. As we understand, the military investigation is nearly
complete. We had asked for Al-Arabiyah to provide the driver who made the
allegations as well as the car. It is our understanding that there have been two
meetings thus far between Al- Arabiyah and the military investigation team. The
actual driver is still in a period of mourning, we understand. We want to
respect his desire to go through the three-day mourning period before we ask to
sit down with him. It is our understanding that that meeting will be held
tomorrow. That should provide enough of the evidence at this point to sort of
put the investigation to bed.
Q Just to follow up, did you get the bullets back from the bodies, from the
GEN. KIMMITT: I don't know. The investigation team may have that. I've
specifically not got in the way of the investigation, so that they can carry
this out without a whole lot of interference. But I was told today by the 1st
Armored Division that they expect to have this investigation done in the next
MR. SENOR: I'd just add that yesterday we at the CPA headquarters received
representatives of a large delegation of Iraqi journalists who submitted a
petition and a letter to Ambassador Bremer, obviously urging for the highest
standards in the process of the investigation, which we obviously are -- agree
with and are complying with. And my understanding is that the Iraqi Governing
Council received a similar delegation.
Someone over here. Go ahead.
Q Yeah. Hi. Two quick questions for General Kimmitt. The first question is, just
following up on a question raised the other day by a CNN journalist about access
to the Abu Gharib prison, and you had mentioned go to -- ask the Red Cross
directly about their access. And the Red Cross has the policy of not speaking,
specifically because they know that they will be denied access if they do. So I
wanted to raise that as an issue, if you're aware of that.
The second is, I'd like to find out if you know anything about heightened
security concerns of the last 24 hours, specifically rumors that car bombs have
entered Baghdad, targeting Western-owned hotels.
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question, about the ICRC, if that's their policy,
that's their policy. It remains our policy that we will not subject the
detainees in Abu Gharib or any of our detention facilities to public humiliation
or ridicule. And as a result, we will continue to treat them in am manner
consistent with that, as we treat enemy prisoners of war under the Geneva
As to the heightened security concerns, we always take a look at all the
intelligence that comes into our organizations from various means, and we take
the appropriate force protection measures as a result.
MR. SENOR: Deborah (sp), go ahead.
Q Hi. I've got a couple of questions. The first one: How worried are you that
Yassin's assassination this morning is going to incite possible further
insurgencies here in Iraq?
And the second question, totally different: Do you have any information about
the two Finnish contractors that were killed this morning in Baghdad? Thank you.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah. On the latter question, I would refer those questions to the
Finnish embassy. They've asked to take those questions, rather than us, at this
point, until the whole process has worked itself out.
Concerned about the targeted assassinations -- we've been concerned about the
increase in violence for quite a long time. We have felt over the last few
months that the terrorists and the extremists have started shifting away from
the hard targets of the coalition military and the Iraqi security forces, are
now going out of their way to specifically target softer targets.
I think all of us understand why and the purpose of going after police chiefs,
after -- going after innocent civilians, going after representatives of the
government. It is simply to try to drive a wedge within this society, between
the people of Iraq, whether Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd, and between the people of Iraq
and the coalition, and within the coalition itself, by targeting specifical
countries, for the simple purpose of trying to break our will as this country
moves forward. They recognize that it is a very short time period before we hand
over sovereignty to the people of Iraq. And as we've seen in such documents such
as the Zarqawi letter, the terrorists are absolutely intimidated by the notion
of this country being passed over to the people of Iraq as a free, democratic
and sovereign nation. So sadly we have predicted and sadly it has come true that
we have started to see a spike in violence as we move closer to governance. All
I can say is that I'm glad that the people of Iraq recognize that this is a
planned policy of intimidation, and I'm proud of the people of Iraq for not
Q Sorry, I was referring to the spiritual leader of Hamas who was assassinated
in Israel. The people are very angry. I mean, are you concerned that this is
going to spill over into Iraq and trigger more chaos here?
GEN. KIMMITT: And again, I would say that not only are -- the people of Iraq
clearly understand that internal events have the capability of creating a
worst-case scenario of sectarian violence and they will not stand for it. I also
believe that the people of Iraq fully recognize that what happens in the world
at large does and could have a collateral effect in this country as well.
And the last thing that we have seen in poll after poll, and as we've talked to
individual Iraqis -- for example, the most recent poll said that 90 percent of
the Arabs in this country want to see a single, cohesive, unified country, and I
think they recognize that that's in their best interest and they want to prevent
anything from interfering with that. And so whether it's internal attempts at
trying to create sectarian violence or external effects -- events attempting to
create sectarian violence, I think the people of this country are smart enough
not to let that incite violence in this country.
MR. SENOR: Yeah.
Q (Through interpreter.) Bukh Hassan (ph), Al-Iraqiyah TV. Regarding the
investigation of the OFF program -- oil-for-food -- there are so many Arab and
international personalities in Iraq. So are the investigation would be on
public, and are they going to be called for investigations, especially some of
the personalities, our international and Arab personalities? Are they going to
be called for investigation?
MR. SENOR: I would refer those questions to the institutions that are conducting
the investigations. The United Nations has indicated earlier this month that
they plan to launch an investigation. We've recently learned that the United
States Congress -- certain congressional committees in Washington will be
conducting investigations. Iraqi officials have indicated -- on the Governing
Council have indicated an interest in launching an investigation.
So I would -- the coalition is not conducting an investigation of our own. We're
here to support the investigations of other parties and help uncover the truth
by doing the sorts of things I've discussed, which is inventorying, analyzing
and providing documents, identifying witnesses. But in terms of how the
investigations are held and who will be subpoenaed, I would refer you to those
conducting the investigations. And I would also suggest that you look at the
subpoena authorities -- in other words, the subpoena authority of those
individual institutions. It's really up to them.
Q Someone asked about an increase of targeting of Western hotels in Baghdad. And
following that, there was a raid on a hotel in the Karrada district last night
which houses many Western journalists. Someone, apparently, was arrested. I
wondered if you could tell me anything about it and what might have been
GEN. KIMMITT: I think at this point what we'd like to do is let that
investigation carry itself out for a few days before we comment on it.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (Name inaudible) -- from the Associated Press. Some senior U.S. officers have
recently complained about the delay in delivery of equipment for the Iraqi
police, such as body armors and radios. Do you have any comment on that? And why
is the delay?
MR. SENOR: Yes. There are several reasons there have been some delays. We've
spoken about them before. One, we have had, as I said earlier, a very ambitious
effort to build up Iraqi security forces, now almost 200,000 Iraqis serving in
security positions in this country, more Iraqis in security positions in Iraq
today than there are Americans. Certainly Iraq is our largest coalition partner
today. And so, obviously, the deployment of all the equipment, there's sometimes
a lag between the deployment of the equipment and the rapid rate at which we are
training and deploying security personnel.
But in specific delays, I think there was some reference to a particular
contract related to the equipping of some Iraqi security services and the fact
that that contract may be delayed or halted because of an investigation being
conducted in Washington about the contract. And Ambassador Bremer is currently
allocating funds from the Iraqi budget to address any shortfall that may result
from any delay. So the plan that was in place will not be put off track as a
result of any review of the contract.
Q Two questions. Can you first tell me if there's been any new agreement coming
together on disarmament of the peshmerga and the Badr brigade, the Badr
organization? Is there talk of compensation? Has this moved forward in recent
And second, can you comment on reports of a letter from Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's
office to the U.N. saying he may boycott their visit if they come, because of
ongoing disagreements with the Transitional Administrative Law?
MR. SENOR: On the second issue, I have no knowledge of any such letter.
Obviously, I would refer you to the U.N. or to Ayatollah Sistani's office. I do
not speak for either.
On your first question, we are in discussions with the militias. It's our
policy, as was outlined in the Transitional Administrative Law, that there is no
room in the new Iraq for security organizations that are outside the control of
the national government. And while we intend to recruit individuals from across
Iraq, including former members of militias, into the new Iraq security services
-- be it the army or the police, the civil defense corps, border guard,
facilities protection services -- they will be recruited as individuals, not as
representatives of a political party, a faction, a militia. That continues to be
the policy and we want to implement it, as far as the militias are concerned, in
a way that allows their members who want to play a role in the new Iraq and who
have -- we have no concern about playing a role -- there's nothing in their
background or their past activities that we believe should preclude them -- we
want to do it in a way that provides opportunities for them to get involved. And
if there is no role, we're looking at a number of ways to provide them a sort of
dignified withdrawal from security roles that they had in their militias, be it
some sort of pension program or new employment opportunities. So we're in
discussions with the militias right now about doing that. We've been making a
lot of progress. No final details yet; we'll let you know when we have them.
Q Can you explain, then, why so many doctors are still complaining of drug
shortages nearly a year since Saddam was toppled?
MR. SENOR: I haven't seen any reports of any complaints, so if you can give me
something specifically, maybe after this, I can respond. Generally speaking, I
think that the Iraqi health care system was in pretty dreadful shape when we
arrived. In fact, in Saddam Hussein's last national budget he dedicated 70 cents
per capita to health care funding. We have increased the Iraqi -- the 2004
budget has increased the Iraqi health care budget by something like 3,500
percent. We've opened all 240 hospitals, we've opened primary health care
centers. There's substantial funding in the supplemental that the U.S. Congress
appropriated last year to opening additional primary health centers and, of
course, there's substantial funding that has been dedicated to the distribution
of drugs and pharmaceutical products. I haven't seen the specific complaints. If
you can get me a specific complaint I can talk to our health care staff and get
their specific response.
Q They're not specific complaints. But almost any hospital you go to it is the
MR. SENOR: Oh, okay. So just sort of generally speaking I will say we are, as I
said, we are -- we've made a lot of progress; we're deploying a lot of funding
to this. But recognize that like much of the other essential services in Iraq,
after 35 years of chronic underinvestment a lot of these efforts do not get
repaired overnight. We've made dramatic improvements over what existed before.
We know we have to make more progress. We are dedicating substantial funding to
it. It's certainly a priority.
Q (Through interpreter.) I have two questions. From Al Mashriq newspaper.
The first to Mr. Dan Senor, regarding the Ministry of Health. Putting off the
personal funding, the auto-funding, the resources of the Ministry of Health has
been reduced. So you have to increase the budget of the Ministry of Health.
Second question is that when there is any bombing taking place -- when there is
any accident taking place in an area, the coalition soldiers try to randomly
capture a number of people in the area without specifying them, and later they
are being released. So is there any systematic procedure you -- the coalition
forces follow to capture those people, or is it done randomly?
MR. SENOR: On your first question, the Ministry -- we have dedicated substantial
funding, as I said in response to Caroline's question, substantial funding to
all health care programs in this country, including the standing up of the Iraqi
Ministry of Health. And in fact, it looks like the Iraqi Ministry of Health will
be one of the first four or five ministries that we will hand over total
operational control to the Iraqi authorities, the Iraqi minister of health, Dr.
Abbas. That will be our first -- it will be included in the first tranche of
ministries that we hand over in the months ahead. So the Iraqi Ministry of
Health is in good condition, pardon the pun, and we are working closely with the
management of the Ministry of Health to put them in a position to stand alone,
independent of the coalition senior adviser that currently works with them.
GEN. KIMMITT: As to your question about our capture procedures, no, they're not
random procedures. We spend an awful lot of time developing intelligence before
we conduct an operation, and it's not just one source of intelligence; it's many
sources of intelligence. We know that there's often a chance that somebody who
provides a piece of intelligence may have a piece of intelligence for -- that he
may have another reason for somebody to be picked up.
However, when we do that raid, when we do that cordon and search and we pick up
a target, if that target is sitting in his living room with perhaps three of his
friends and they're all there cleaning weapons, we would probably be expected
not only to pick up the target, but those other four persons that were sitting
-- three or four people that were sitting in there with him, even though they
weren't the primary targets. We would bring them in for capture. We would bring
them in for questioning. We would ask them reasonable questions: what were you
doing with our target, have you been helping our target out? And we're going to
spend some time with those people because if they are with one of our targets,
they may have some information about other operations that this target may have
been planning to carry out against the people of Iraq or against the coalition
If, after a reasonable period of time, it turns out that those other persons
that were picked up along with the primary target have no information or are not
considered an imperative threat to the coalition, we're going to put them back
on the street, back to their homes. If, on other hand, we find out that they
have intelligence which would lead us to believe that they might have been
implicated in other criminal activity or other security issues, certainly we're
going to detain them as well.
But to your specific question, no, our process is not random. No, we don't go on
large sweeps. No, we don't take hostages. And no, we think our way through
before we conduct these operations, based on very credible intelligence.
MR. SENOR: Yes? Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Is he going to be detained for security reasons and
then he would be released? Until the investigation get over?
GEN. KIMMITT: We will capture those collateral to a raid, and we will hold on to
them for some period of time. If, within the first 72 hours, we cannot prove to
a reviewing officer that that person is an imperative threat -- security threat
to the coalition, we will typically send that person back home. But we don't try
and convict without a judicial process. We do hold on to these persons as
security detainees, as long as they are considered a security threat to the
people of Iraq and to the coalition.
We do reviews after a period of time, which, quite frankly, are not even --
those reviews are not even codified inside the Geneva Conventions.
But we have and we continue and we will continue to put those captured back on
the street, those that we have detained for a period of time back out on the
street. I think we're releasing a very large number tomorrow, somewhere on the
order of -- we released a couple of hundred, I think, on Sunday, and we plan to
release couple of hundred more on Tuesday. So we will be getting these people
back into society when they are no longer deemed to be security threat to the
people of Iraq and to the coalition forces.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q General Kimmitt, just to follow on the questions about the raids at the
hotels, are these being directed in any way, I guess, in relationship to what
you discussed earlier about this shift to softer targets, or are you acting more
on specific intelligence in doing these --
GEN. KIMMITT: We go where the intelligence takes us.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Namir (sp) from the Spanish News Agency. Can I ask
General Kimmitt? This morning two people from Finland were targeted. It's said
that they were killed by a sniper. Have you investigated this? Is there any --
another accident (sic) in which a sniper was killed to kill Iraqis or
GEN. KIMMITT: The coalition did not make that report of a sniper. We read that
in the newspaper. Whether it's somebody with a weapon who was shooting from a
very short range or from a very long range, I'm not sure that we are capable of
saying that there are technically snipers out there, people that are firing on
the order of 1,500, 1,600 meters away from the target.
I suspect that what we're going to find out when the investigation is complete
-- that investigation, which is being conducted by the Iraqi police service --
that this was probably simple small-arms fire and not a trained sniper who was
going after a specific target. Again, that's just speculation. But to answer
your question, I don't think that we have seen highly trained snipers operating
in the Baghdad area, as one might have taken away from the terms that were used
in that article.
Q Yesterday we read in al-Zamal (ph) newspaper about the dismissal of the deputy
of the Ministry of Interior, Ahmed Kadhim. What's your comment about that?
MR. SENOR: I'm sorry? The dismissal of who? I'm sorry.
Q Dismissal of the deputy of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Ahmed Kadhim.
MR. SENOR: I have no information on it. I would refer you to the Ministry of
Interior. I don't have any details on it.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- from Middle East News Agency. Mr. Dan,
can you give us information about when will the United Nations mission visit
Iraq? Do you have any information concerning Lakhdar Brahimi, whether he is
going to head this committee? Especially, that some religious leaders are
opposed to this leadership of Lakhdar Brahimi for this team.
MR. SENOR: The Governing Council has written a letter to the United Nations,
which I understand they have received, inviting the U.N. to return. The
coalition has sent a letter, as well, inviting the U.N.'s assistance in advising
the coalition, in advising the Iraqi Governing Council, in advising the Iraqi
people on the formation of an interim government and helping advise on the
preparations for the direct elections that will take place in this country by
the end of January 2005. The U.N. has, as I said, acknowledged the receipt of
the letters and indicated that they intend to move soon.
We don't have exact dates yet. We will not, at least -- the U.N. is free to, but
we, of course, will not announce any specific dates, for operational security
reasons. And it is our understanding that Mr. Brahimi will play the lead role in
overseeing these U.N. teams when they arrive. He recently held a press
conference discussing communications he's had with Iraqi leaders, particularly
religious leaders. My understanding is they're moving forward according to plan.
Q (Through interpreter.) From Al-Hurriyah Television. My colleague talked about
the random raids. I want to ask about the random shooting. In case the American
forces were targeted to an attack, we see that the coalition soldiers start
shooting randomly without identifying the target. This happened for many times.
We have visited the hospitals and we have seen men and women civilians wounded
by this random shooting. Is this behavior individually or is it systematic
behavior? Or is it the orders of the coalition forces?
I have another question: If this happens in America when children and civilians
are subjected to the bullets of the coalition -- or is it only indifference to
GEN. KIMMITT: First of all, when you end a statement with a question mark, that
does not make it a question, but I will answer it nonetheless. Our soldiers
operate under very strict rules of engagement and rules for the use of force.
That is a systemic policy. They are expected to stay within those rules of
engagement and the rules for the use of force. That's what they're trained to do
and that's what they are expected to do. And so, number one, no, the soldiers
don't shoot randomly as a matter of policy; no, they don't shoot randomly as a
matter of procedure. And I would challenge you to give me a specific case of
where you can ascertain that our soldiers shot randomly --
Q (Through interpreter.) And in Hifah (sp) in the hospital of Karamah (sp), I
have seen them by myself. I went with many journalists to this place when a --
(inaudible) -- vehicle was struck. There I found children and women and Iraqi
civilians wounded by the bullets of the coalition forces.
GEN. KIMMITT: And if I could complete my answer to your question -- again, our
soldiers are expected to follow the rules of engagement and rules for the use of
force. On those instances, those very rare instances when our soldiers do not
operate within those rules of engagement and rules for the use of force, they
are investigated, they are tried and the appropriate actions are taken at the
end of this -- at the end of that trial. Very simply, I think that the record
that is shown by the coalition forces from 35 different nations is that their
level of restraint in many of these situations is a credit to their training, a
credit to their discipline and a credit to their leadership.
Let me finish.
MR. SENOR: Let's move on to the next question.
Q I want to say to you -- talk to you, but --
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Bahram Hamid Ali (ph) from al- Mushtel (ph). Will you
prosecute Jordan for purchasing oil from Saddam at half price? And within the
corruption, there are many who got coupons for free oil from Saddam. Will they
MR. SENOR: That's precisely what the U.N. has indicated they want to
investigate, is any of these sort of irregularities: kickbacks, corruption,
bribes in the oil-for-food program. The coalition isn't conducting an
investigation. We are, however, working aggressively to compile the information
necessary for investigations that will be conducted by other institutions. So
the specific charges, and to use your word possible prosecutions, those are
issues that will have to be determined by the organizations that are conducting
investigations. We are in a supportive role. We want to do everything we can to
help uncover the truth here, and Ambassador Bremer has issued a directive to
that effect. And we will be taking additional steps in the days and weeks ahead
to further bolster the robustness of the overall investigations that are being
conducted in ways that we can be helpful.
Sewell, go ahead.
Q Hi. I'm Sewell Chan with The Washington Post. Some questions for General
Kimmitt about the incident at the Balad military base this morning. I was out
there and several ICDC members who were present at the time of the bombing this
morning, sir, expressed a lot of concern about whether the ICDC is at greater
risk from these -- from terrorists and from insurgents than the U.S. military
forces. Some of them feel that they're essentially almost cannon fodder. You
know, they're much more exposed, they're less protected than U.S. military
personnel are, and they don't feel that they're given adequate protections for
what they're asked to do. Also I just -- I wanted to ask you to respond to those
concerns, and also if you could tell us what sort of units are based at that
airbase. And if you could tell us also a little bit about the ICDC units that
are co- located there, I would greatly appreciate that.
GEN. KIMMITT: Let me talk to you about the ICDC, first of all. That is an
organization that we are building up on the order of 45 battalions. We want them
to work side by side with the coalition forces, and to suggest that somehow they
are being used as cannon fodder, somehow they are being used as something other
than full partners in the security requirements here in the country I think
would misstate the fact. I think perhaps at that time, after they had seen a
couple of their buddies wounded, they may have made some comments that they
probably are going to later regret.
But the fact is that we have worked side by side with the Iraqi Civil Defense
Corps since its inception. We have worked alongside them, we have equipped
alongside with them, and frankly the coalition soldiers have fought and died
alongside them as well. There is no suggestion that somehow we are going to put
the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps out where we would not be willing to go; quite the
contrary. The commanders on the ground fully understand that the Iraqi Civil
Defense, the Iraqi armed forces, the Iraqi police service are fundamental to the
partnership that we have with the security requirements here in the country.
They're full partners, and they will work alongside the coalition forces until
they're ready to take independent missions on themselves.
We still have some training to do. We still have some development to do. We
still have some experience for them to gain. But we're tremendously proud of the
responsibilities that they've undertaken. We admire their courage. We admire the
fact that they will fight and bleed and die to defend this country, just the way
570 American soldiers have and another hundred or so other coalition forces have
done. That's a full partnership, and there's no such thing as a junior partner
and a senior partner in this process of defending this country.
MR. SENOR: Okay.
Q (Off mike) -- question about --
MR. SENOR: Turn on the mike. (Inaudible.)
Q I'm sorry. Could you answer the latter part of my question, sir, about the
base and what ICDC units are located there and what --
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah. I think that as a matter of course we're not going to
specifically talk about all the different bases we have in this country and
which units occupy them, for obvious operational security purposes.
Q Not even just the one at Balad, sir?
GEN. KIMMITT: Nor the one in Ramadi, nor the one in Fallujah.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q I was wondering: Have there been any investigations of soldiers violating
rules of engagement by shooting randomly and that kind of thing?
GEN. KIMMITT: We've had a number of investigations over the years -- over the
past year of soldiers who have not used -- who have not followed the proper
procedures for the rules of engagement and rules for the use of force. One that
comes to mind is that of Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, and there are a couple
of more out there. I think those that are a matter of public record can easily
be picked up.
But yes, there have been, sadly, cases where soldiers have operated outside
established, trained rules of engagement and rules for the use of force -- a
very, very small number in a force of over 150,000. I think the numbers are well
less than a dozen -- don't have the numbers right here; I'm only even
speculating on that number. But less than -- I guess, by my calculations, that
would be one in a thousand, far less than one in 10,000, far less than --
probably about one in 10,000.
And that's -- while each of those cases is nothing to take great pride in, the
fact is that 99-plus percent of the soldiers are operating well within those
rules of engagement, under very tough conditions, showing remarkable restraint,
day after day, operating inside this country.
MR. SENOR: Time for one more. Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Name and affiliation inaudible.) My question is
regarding the threat that is the threat of the floods because Turkey has opened
their dams and they have been exposed to the danger of floods. And we, Iraq,
haven't got any precautional procedures for these emergency cases. What happens
if Turkey has opened or opens their dams fully? What are the precautional or
emergency (steps) that the Iraqis should take in case that we are confronted
with such a case, the threat of a flood?
MR. SENOR: I will consult the relative authorities on that issue. I don't have
the answer right now for you. And tomorrow at the briefing, or separately I can
have one of our people follow up with you, we'll get you that information.