COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COALITION OPERATIONS;
AND DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, CPA
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 11:05 A.M. EDT
DATE: MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good evening. I just have a brief opening statement, and then
General Kimmitt will make an opening statement, and then we will be happy to
take your questions.
Today the Iraqi police service formally arrested Mustafa al-Yacoubi, this
pursuant to a valid arrest warrant issued by an Iraqi judge. Mr. al-Yacoubi was
arrested in connection with the brutal murder of Ayatollah As Seyed Ala-Majid
al-Khoei (sp), who was repeatedly stabbed and shot to death last April in front
of one of the world's holiest shrines.
Mr. Yacoubi has been transferred to Iraqi police custody, where he is held at an
Iraqi detention facility and will be tried by Iraqi judges in Iraqi courts under
Iraqi law. Today the Iraqi investigative judge held his first meeting with Mr.
Yacoubi to ensure that he fully understands the charges against him and he fully
understands his rights. The arrest and trial are about justice and law and order
in Iraq. The Iraqi people want elections, not mob violence, to determine who
will govern Iraq.
GEN. KIMMITT: Good afternoon. The coalition is acclerating its offensive
operations to kill or capture anti-coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi
people. In response to the latest increase in violence, in the past 24 hours the
coalition conducted 1,566 patrols, 10 offensive operations, 18 raids, and
captured 42 anti-coalition suspects.
In the Al Anbar province, Iraqi security forces and the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force initiated Operation Vigilant Resolve to confront anti-coalition and
anti-Iraqi elements in the Fallujah area. The joint force, currently consisting
of over 1,300 personnel from the 1st MEF, Iraqi armed forces and the Iraqi Civil
Defense Services, have established a series of traffic control points around the
city of Fallujah, along with additional assets to regulate passage and establish
a cordon in and out of the city. A curfew from 1900 to 0600 has been
established, and these are the first of a series of actions taken to attack
anti-coalition and anti-Iraqi forces, to reestablish security in Fallujah and
begin the process of civil military assistance projects in Fallujah.
Over the past 36 hours, there have been a number of demonstrations and incidents
throughout the central and southern zones of Iraq, some of which turned violent,
as elements of Mahdi Army incited and perpetrated violence against Iraqi
citizens, Iraqi security forces and the coalition.
In Baghdad yesterday there were six demonstrations in support of Muqtada al-Sadr
and demonstrating against the detention of Mustafa Yacoubi. In Sadr City, three
police stations came under attack, but all have been returned to IPS control.
In An Najaf, a large crowd gathered midday Sunday to show support for Sadr and
Yacoubi, and the demonstration turned violent in the afternoon, when elements of
the Mahdi Army attacked coalition facilities on the edge of the city.
In An Nasiriyah, a violent demonstration of approximately 200 Mahdi Army
personnel attempted to secure bridges entering the city. The only hostile action
against coalition forces was a rocket grenade fired at a CPA building, which
missed. The governor defused the incident, and the demonstration ended
In al-Amarah, a crowd of about 2,000 built up peacefully during Sunday
afternoon. At approximately 1700 an explosive device was thrown at coalition
forces that led to violence. Order was reestablished later in the evening.
In Basra, there were peaceful demonstrations by about 1,500 Sadr supporters in a
number of different locations. There were some RPG attacks after the crowds
dispersed, without effect on coalition forces.
In al Kut, a crowd of 1,000 Sadr supporters protesting the detention of Mustafa
Yacoubi were dispersed without incident.
Today those cities are relatively quiet. There have been a number of
demonstrations in Baghdad, to include a peaceful demonstration outside the Al
Hurra Police Station in western Baghdad and a demonstration in the vicinity of
the Sadr bureau in Sadr City. There have also been demonstrations in An Najaf,
Basra and al Kut with no reported violence.
There are reports of a takeover of a contractor building in An Nasiriyah by Sadr
followers as well as other reports of a takeover of an abandoned building in
Basra by approximately 200 Mahdi Army members. In both cases there is no
violence reported, and Iraqi police service and coalition forces are monitoring
MR. SENOR: With that, we'll be happy to take your questions.
Yes, go ahead.
Q Thank you. Larry Kaplow with Cox Newspapers. Can you tell us what happened
today in Shula, where there are reports that there are helicopters that fired on
targets there? Is that true, and what were the targets?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, there were attack helicopters, Apache helicopters used today
in Baghdad. It is my understanding that one helicopter was fired upon by
small-arms fire, approximately five to six rounds that hit, one round which may
have hit the cockpit without injury to any of the pilots. Acting within the
limits and the inherent right of self-defense, the helicopter fired back with
approximately 100 or so rounds of 20-millimeter. But no rockets were fired and
no anti-tank missiles were fired.
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q (Through interpreter.) Naji Murubai (ph) from Ad-Dustour newspaper. Mr.
Kimmitt, there are -- news came from the Shula city about launching some
missiles on some houses and centers of the groups of Muqtada Sadr. This was
through -- broadcast through the BBC. How accurate is this information?
GEN. KIMMITT: That information is wrong. As I said earlier, the helicopter fired
in self-defense after it had fired on by small-arms fire. No rockets were used,
only 20-millimeter rounds.
MR. SENOR: Rachel.
Q This is for you, General Kimmitt. We've heard from senior military coalition
officials that say that Sadr should be detained because they know -- they have
evidence that he was coordinating attacks. So my question is, why hasn't he or
will he be? And if so, can we --
MR. SENOR: Rachel, I'll answer that. An Iraqi judge has issued an arrest warrant
for Muqtada al Sadr, and that is based on evidence that connects Muqtada al Sadr
to the brutal murder of Mr. al-Khoei, a murder in which Mr. al-Khoei was
repeatedly stabbed and shot to death in front of the world's -- in front of one
of the world's holiest shrines. And I think the message to all individuals that
were involved in that murder is that the Iraqi people want elections, not mob
rule to determine who will govern Iraq.
Q All right. Just a follow-up. Has he been served with --
Q (Off mike.)
MR. SENOR: Okay. Well, we'll fix the translation.
GEN. KIMMITT: Both. He is correct.
GEN. KIMMITT: Both.
Q Have you -- sorry, Dan.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead. Rachel.
Q Just a follow-up.
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q Has he been --
MR. SENOR: What I said was there is an arrest warrant against Muqtada al-Sadr.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Has he been served with a warrant? Where is he now? Has he been taken into
GEN. KIMMITT: He has not been taken into custody. He has not been served with
that warrant at this time.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q James Hider from the Times. Do you know where he is? We're hearing reports
that he's in Kufa, he's in a mosque surrounded by a large number of gunmen. How
difficult is it going to be to serve this warrant and arrest him?
GEN. KIMMITT: I think a lot will depend on how he intends to take the news of
this warrant and whether he decides to come peacefully or whether he decides to
come not peacefuly. That choice is the choice of Muqtada al-Sadr.
MR. SENOR: I would just add to that that the Iraqi Governing Council has issued,
just earlier today, a very strong statement addressing this entire issue. And it
has specifically said -- the Governing Council specifically said that Iraqis
should show respect for mosques and other holy sites.
Yes? Go ahead.
Q Luke Baker from Reuters. These warrants were issued last autumn, we heard. Why
have you waited till now to arrest or try to arrest Yacoubi? And why haven't you
detained Sadr earlier?
MR. SENOR: Sure. The arrests -- there were originally 12 arrests made shortly
after the murder of Mr. al-Khoei. And there was a view and there is a view today
in Iraq that when these cases come to trial, in the effort to conserve Iraq's
scarce judicial resources, that as many of the individuals involved in a
particular case be tried at once. The initial 12 individuals were arrested.
Subsequently after a meticulous investigation, additional warrants were filed.
There were additional individuals they intended to pursue. The initial 12 were
found early on and detained. It was more difficult to target some of the other
Recently they have begun -- the Iraqi judge, the investigative judge has begun
to prepare the case for trial, about a month of preparation. And in light of the
fact that the case was about to go to trial, he thought it important to take
another shot at trying to gather up some of the other individuals that had been
involved and for whom there were warrants. Mr. Yacoubi falls into that category,
and they detained him.
Q But -- sorry -- you could have detained Yacoubi and Sadr months ago, then. I
mean, they've been freely available to be detained. Why only now?
MR. SENOR: The investigative judge made a determination that as he prepared this
trial, that it is important to go -- try again, take another shot at trying to
detain Mr. Yacoubi. And so in consultations with coalition forces, we carried
Q Yeah, Daniel Cooney (sp) from Associated Press. Can you just say, when was the
warrant issued for Sadr's arrest, and when will the arrest be carried out?
MR. SENOR: The arrest for Muqtada al-Sadr has been -- it was issued within the
last several months. I can get you the exact date after this meeting. I know the
warrant for Mr. Yacoubi was even prior to that. And as to when the arrest will
be carried out --
GEN. KIMMITT: You'll know.
MR. SENOR: Yeah. Let's just say there will be no advance warning.
Yes, go ahead.
Q Carrie Gerhardt (sp), National Public Radio. I have two questions and they're
kind of big, but it's my last day, so I feel like maybe you guys will answer
So, okay, the first one is, we've heard from doctors at the al- Khatib (ph)
hospital in the Al Shula district of Baghdad that U.S. troops have been going in
there and asking the doctors to -- anyone that they're treating with a bullet
wound to save the bullets and the fragments and put them aside so that they can
then test those bullets afterwards to see if they're from coalition weapons.
I'm wondering why they would have a crazy idea like that.
And also, my second question is the arrest warrant for Sadr was issued several
months ago. Can you tell us when exactly, maybe?
MR. SENOR: Yeah, I just said in the previous question that I would get the exact
date after. I said in the last several months.
GEN. KIMMITT: I have not heard those reports about coalition forces going into
Q Hi, it's a question for General Kimmitt. CNN is reporting that General Abizaid
has asked for options for increasing the number of troops in Iraq. Do you think
in the light of the recent events that more troops are needed to stabilize the
country going into and following the handover?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, if that was a statement made by General Abizaid, I'd suggest
you ask General Abizaid.
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Name and affiliation inaudible.) I have a question
regarding the subject of detaining Mr. Muqtada al- Sadr. Of course you know that
al-Yacoubi was not present as you indicated, and there have been some -- and due
to so many reasons you have delayed detaining al-Yacoubi. So what are the
reasons behind delaying the detaining of al-Yacoubi while he was involved in so
many occasions in -- (inaudible) -- to call people or to ask people to act
against the coalition, why haven't you called those people to investigate, and
put them for investigation? And why have you just taken this -- you have taken
this decision only right now? Are you going to delay the handing over of the --
stick to the deadline for handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi by the 30th of
June, or are you going to be -- try to delay it to another time or another date?
MR. SENOR: The Iraqi investigative judge has made it clear that there were a
number of individuals that were connected to the brutal murder of al-Khoei, and
the first 12 individuals were detained sometime shortly after, but not
immediately after the incident. Keep in mind that the court system was initially
in some mild state of disarray immediately following liberation. So it took some
time to get organized, and then the Iraqi investigative judge began to organize
the investigation. Twelve individuals were arrested.
The Iraqi investigative judge is now prepared to bring the trial to court. And
in an effort to conserve scarce judicial resources in Iraq, the goal by many
Iraqi judicial -- by many Iraqi investigative judges is to try as many
individuals involved in any particular case at one time. In light of the fact
that the trial was going to court and the case was being prepared, he thought he
would take another shot at trying to gather up other individuals involved with
the case, and that's when warrants were issued and this matter came -- sort of
bubbled up, if you will, recently.
To your second question --
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: Let me answer your second question before you ask a third.
Q (Through interpreter.) Why haven't you been calling them -- why haven't you
been calling them for investigation while this person was present and while he
was accused a long time ago?
MR. SENOR: It isn't our investigation. It is the investigation of an Iraqi
investigative judge, and we have been working with this Iraqi investigative
judge and a number of these steps have been taken at his initiative, not ours.
Now to your second question, we intend to hand sovereignty over on June 30th.
That has been our plan. We've made that clear that that is our plan, going back
to November 15th, and it will continue to be our plan on June 30th when we hand
over political sovereignty to the Iraqi people, period.
Q Dan, there are several points in your account of the arrest warrant for Mr.
Sadr that I'm a little bit unclear on. They're all small ones, but if you could
help me clarify to understand. First of all, if I'm not mistaken we're talking
about a total of 37 individuals, then, who are -- who have been implicated in
the death of Mr. Khoei, 12 who were arrested shortly after his murder last April
and then an additional 25 who -- for whom arrest warrants were issued in the
MR. SENOR: Where's that number coming from?
Q The 25? Remember yesterday?
MR. SENOR: Yeah. It's a total of 25, 12 initial and then 13 subsequent -- now
13, including Mr. Yacoubi.
Q Oh, but you said a short time after. So are you saying by the fall?
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q Because yesterday --
MR. SENOR: I don't know the exact date, but in any event, it's -- what I said
yesterday -- it's a total of 25. Twelve have been arrested. Now the 13th has
been arrested, Mr. Yacoubi, and now there's -- the balance is 12.
Q Including Mr. Sadr?
MR. SENOR: That's correct.
Q Can you name the investigative judge in Najaf?
MR. SENOR: I cannot. I will try to do that in the next couple of days, but
obviously I have to get authorization from that individual.
Q When did this judge issue his request for the coalition forces to, A, detain
Mr. Yacoubi, and B, to make public the arrest warrant for Mr. Sadr?
MR. SENOR: I don't know the exact date that a discussion was held, but we have
been in consultations with the investigative judge for some time.
Q You -- and finally, your definite -- your position is definitely that this
announcement of an arrest warrant -- of a murder warrant for Mr. Sadr, coming 72
hours after his sermon in Kufa, is just a coincidence and then that is related
exclusively to his -- to the initiative of this investigative judge?
MR. SENOR: The -- absolutely. The arrest warrant has been issued some time ago,
well before any sermon he gave on Friday.
Q But the announcement is now.
MR. SENOR: I'm sorry?
Q But the announcement is now, so that means you --
MR. SENOR: Well, that's correct, because we are obviously addressing this issue
with regard to Mr. Yacoubi and surrounding events.
Q Dan Murphy from the Christian Science Monitor. Is any action being planned
against the Mahdi Army more generally? And if so, what?
And a separate question: I read an AFP report that said the ICDC turned on
American troops in this neighborhood where the Apache fired today. Have you
heard anything about that?
GEN. KIMMITT: I have heard nothing about the second report. It would -- I think
it would fall in line with some of the other reports that we've heard over the
last couple of days that have proven not to be correct.
We have a very strong policy and a very direct policy towards militias. Militias
are inconsistent with a democratic and sovereign nation with a central
government. We are particularly focused upon militias that start attacking
coalition forces, start attacking Iraqi forces, start attacking Iraqi civilians.
The actions of the Mahdi Army over the past 48 hours is clearly inconsistent
with a safe and secure environment, and clearly inconsistent with the security
of the people of Iraq. And we will take action, as and when necessary, to
maintain a safe and secure environment in Iraq. Individuals who create violence,
who incite violence, who execute violence against persons inside of Iraq will be
hunted down and captured or killed. It is that simple.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Gregor Mayer from the German Press Agency. Could you explain in more details
the events yesterday in Sadr City? You mentioned three police stations were
attacked. You counted eight U.S. military lost lives. So was there a real gun
battle? What happened?
And my second question: In Shwala (sp) today, some of our photographers saw a
burned-out -- what looked like a burned-out military -- American military truck.
So was there casualties in the American side, a convoy attacked, or whatever?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, the -- if you would like the specific details, I would
recommend you go to the 1st Armored Division. They can give you -- I mean, we
could spend 15 minutes talking about all the events of the last night. But as I
understand, the casualties were taken in two separate incidents as coalition
forces were moving into Sadr City, based on intelligence of anticipated attacks
upon those Iraqi police forces.
But the 1st Armored Division has the details on that, and I would commend you to
them for those details and the details of the large truck that I think many
people saw on fire today in the Al-Shwala (sp) district.
MR. SENOR: Yeah?
Q General, can you say whether or not al-Sadr is being pursued also criminally
in regard to the demonstrations that turned violent over the weekend? And also,
could you elaborate a little bit more on what's going on in Fallujah? There's
been a report of at least one Marine killed there. I don't know whether it's
related to the operation that's ongoing. But are they operating on specific
intelligence, pulling people out that they have developed information on?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, on the first question, not only are militias banned inside
of Iraq and when those militias turn to violent acts, will we take actions
against them; but we will also go for their leadership, their leadership organs,
the people at the top, the people in the middle, the people that are inciting,
the people that are planning, the people that are executing the violence.
As regards Fallujah, I would refer you to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force for
the details of their ongoing operation. We did confirm this morning that there
was a Marine killed in the Al Anbar region. For more details about the ongoing
operation, we have embedded a number of reporters out with the 1st MEF, and I
think they could probably give you far more detail than we could from this
MR. SENOR: John?
Q General --
MR. SENOR: Use the mike, John. Can't hear you. Thanks.
Q John Burns, New York Times. General, Dan, if we look at everything we've seen
in the last week and what you've told us today about the decision to proceed,
with or without American active cooperation and encouragement, with the serving
of an arrest warrant against Muqtada al-Sadr, it looks as though you've reached
a critical moment on the approach to June 30th, where the attempt to approach
June 30th as softly and as cooperatively as you could, in your judgment, has had
to turn to something much tougher; that we get the impression that there's a new
steeliness, a new decision to go hard. Is that correct?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first, I would say that that decision was not independently
made by us. That decision to conduct offensive operations is in response to some
others who have made the decision to, as you would say, go hard. It was not the
coalition that caused the casualties in Fallujah. It is the coalition that is
responding to those casualties in Fallujah. It is not the 1st Armored Division
who executed combat operations in Sadr City for the purpose of disrupting
operations in there, but in fact it was Mahdi Army members who took on the 1st
Armored Division as they were trying to set up control or reestablish control on
legitimate government offices and Iraqi police stations.
We are responsive to the level of violence. We have a responsibility, we have an
obligation to maintain a safe and secure environment. We have forces that are
absolutely capable, 100 percent of the time, to be in a mode of fixing schools,
fixing sewers, fixing health clinics. That's what our soldiers would like to be
doing. That's what our Marines would like to be doing. And soon in Fallujah they
will be doing that. But their first and foremost responsibility is for safety
and security in Iraq. And when that safety and security is threatened, is
challenged, and violence is incited, and violence is executed, those same
soldiers and those same Marines are capable of putting down their paintbrushes
and picking up their weapons to defend the people of Iraq and to ensure that the
process of taking this country to democracy and sovereignty will not be impeded.
MR. SENOR: John, I would just add that there are clearly foreign terrorists and
former Ba'athists and other extremists inside Iraq that are trying to derail the
process to June 30th, in which we hand over sovereignty. As General Kimmitt has
said, we absolutely will not tolerate that. The Iraqi people will not tolerate
that. For example, Samir al-Sumaidy, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council,
earlier today was quite explicit on this point: that the debate in Iraq today is
not between any two ethnic groups or any two regions; it's between moderates and
extremists. And there are no -- there's no room for extremists in Iraq,
particularly when it comes to issues like the rule of law and justice and ideas
like the one I articulated earlier: that elections will determine who governs
Iraq, not mob violence.
But I think it's important that this not only a lead-up to June 30th, because
after June 30th, even if there are acts of violence after June 30th, American
security forces will still be here. We will still be working side by side with
the Iraqi security forces to address any violence or efforts to derail the new
Iraq that are similar to what we are experiencing before June 30th.
Q I'd like to follow up.
MR. SENOR: If you use your microphone.
Q General, Dan, if you looked at the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday, the
display in American newspapers today, the media, and indeed, some politicians on
Capitol Hill, are presenting the events of the past few days here as a crisis,
or at least one of the most critical moments in this entire American enterprise
here. Is that the way it's felt in the green zone?
MR. SENOR: I would say that the way we feel is in interacting with the Iraqis at
the grassroots level, Iraqis out in the provinces, Iraqi political, regional and
religious leaders, we hear one thing over and over -- it's important when we
make a commitment to keep it. We made a commitment to the Iraqi people that we
would hand over political sovereignty on June 30th. But we also made a
commitment that after June 30th, we will still have a major role in helping to
reconstruct this country and continuing to secure this country, and that will
continue on June 30th.
I think there is somehow this view that there's going to be this dramatic change
after June 30th, as though the lights will be switched off and we will depart.
And that is simply not the case. Ambassador Bremer will depart. The coalition
control -- or the coalition role in the political process will be handed over to
the Iraqi people. But we will still have a prominent role here in security and
we will still be deploying billions and billions of dollars in the
reconstruction of Iraq, which will be spread over several years. We will have
the largest U.S. embassy here in the world. We will have -- as I said, deploying
over $18 billion, with civilian reconstruction personnel from the United States
and other coalition countries still here.
So while Ambassador Bremer will be gone and our role in the political process
will be handed over to the Iraqi people, we will still continue to work with the
Iraqi people, work quite closely with the Iraqi people after June 30th.
GEN. KIMMITT: And I would just tell you that I'm not sure about the green zone,
but I know on a rooftop yesterday in An Najaf, with a small group of American
soldiers and coalition soldiers, Spanish soldiers and Salvadorian soldiers who
had just been through about three-and-a-half hours of combat, I looked in their
eyes, there was no crisis. They knew what they were here for. They'd lost three
wounded. We were sitting there among the bullet shells -- the bullet casings,
and frankly, the blood of their comrades, and they were absolutely confident.
They were confident for three reasons. One, because they're enormously well
trained. Two, because they're extremely good at what they're doing. And three,
because they knew why they were there. There was no doubt in their mind why they
were there, there was no doubt of their purpose, and they knew that they were
getting the support from the people back home. And they fully understood in a
very crystal clear way what they were there for, why they were there, and what
their purpose was and is. And to them, there certainly didn't seem to be a sense
MR. SENOR: So ahead.
Q Nick Ricardi (sp), Los Angeles Times. On the Sadr warrant and the chronology
here, I just want to take one last stab at this. I understand that you're
working on a timetable urged by an Iraqi judge. And correct me if I'm wrong in
my understanding of the chronology, but the judge made a judgment call -- no pun
intended -- in the summer or early fall that there wasn't sufficient capacity,
or what have you, to arrest individuals as prominent as Mr. Yacoubi and Mr. Sadr.
But because the warrants were issued at that time, there was an official
determination that they were likely to have been involved in what I think you
yourself said was a very heinous and violent murder of a very prominent
individual. Certainly, since that time they've had an armed militia that you
consider to be dangerous and potentially a threat to national stability, and
they've urged in a number of statements actions which could be interpreted as,
you know, violent or disruptive actions.
Why was the coalition willing to wait all this time for the Iraqi justice system
to get to the level -- the point where it could take on a challenge like this?
Why did it allow this to linger for so many months if it was such a threat?
MR. SENOR: You're asking us to make an assessment of all these other related
factors in determining when action was taken or action was decided to be taken.
I can just tell you that we are dealing specifically with an arrest warrant.
That is the basis upon which Mr. Yacoubi was detained. And it was in
consultations with an Iraqi investigative judge because it is an Iraqi arrest
warrant, it's an Iraqi process. Mr. Yacoubi will be tried in an Iraqi court by
Iraqi judges under Iraqi law. And these discussions about when to act upon an
Iraqi arrest warrant were based on consultations with the relevant Iraqi
Yes, go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Name and affiliation inaudible.) What are the
procedures that will be done by the American forces after the -- (inaudible) --
controlled some of the government institutions and some police centers?
GEN. KIMMITT: For those personnel that we've captured in those locations, we
will detain them. For those persons that we could identify, we will follow up
our operations, conduct future operations to go after them, to capture them,
along with the Iraqi police service. We will treat them the same way we treat
any anti-Iraq, anti-coalition elements.
MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?
Q Thank you. Dr. Ahmed Rushdie (ph) from Dar es Salaam newspaper. General
Kimmitt, according to your talking now, is there any arresting memos will be
appeared before the 1st of June, especially against Islamic leaders?
MR. SENOR: I'm sorry, what's the question?
Q Arresting memos will be appeared?
MR. SENOR: I'm not going to comment on any other warrants that may or may not be
Q (Through interpreter.) General Kimmitt, you spoke about that there are
intentions for the American forces to arrest -- to implement the judge decision
to arrest Mr. Sadr, and this action could cause disturbances again in Iraq while
you are on your way to give sovereignty. Does the coalition forces looking for a
middle ground or a kind of negotiation to calm the situation and so that Mr.
Sadr be presented to a just trial so that you're not facing disturbances to the
process of delivering sovereignty?
GEN. KIMMITT: We absolutely do have a middle ground to avoid violence in terms
of having the warrant served and Muqtada al-Sadr coming to justice. He's free to
surrender. He's free to walk into any police station. He's free to have that
warrant served upon him. He'll be treated with dignity. He'll be treated with
respect. He'll be treated the same way every other alleged criminal in the Iraqi
justice system is treated.
MR. SENOR: Someone who hasn't asked a question. Yes, sir? Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Hamid (sp) Ali from El (ph). Will these incidents
affect the destiny of the political process in Iraq and the expansion of the GC
so that the political parties would be more cautious in choosing those who
represent them, especially after what was said by some of the religious
organizations and the lack of their representation in the GC?
MR.SENOR: We believe that the Iraqi Governing Council is certainly the most
representative body in the history of Iraq, and it's arguably the -- one of the
most representative political bodies in the entire region. You have political,
religious, regional leaders from all over the country, from all backgrounds.
There are Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd, Turkomen, Christians, men, women; again, from the
north, from the south, from the central part of the country. We think it is a
very diverse and representative body.
Before we wrap up here, I have one quick announcement that I wanted to make at
the end. Ambassador Bremer today announced the appointment of 28 new deputy
ministers in 14 ministries. Nominations for these deputy ministers came from
both the Iraqi Governing Council and the ministers themselves. CPA personnel and
Iraqi ministry officials have worked intensively over the past year to increase
the capacity of the country's ministries to function effectively and deliver
vital services to the Iraqi people. Their work has included everything from
identifying qualified managers, renovating and equipping buildings, and training
staff. The appointment of these deputy ministers is another important step in
these efforts. This group of deputy ministers is expected to have major impact
on the ability of the Iraqi ministries to develop their staffs, manage their
programs and create effective ministries able to take on the challenges of the
This is a highly qualified group. The new deputy ministers were educated in
Iraq, the U.S., some in the U.K., France and elsewhere. It includes seven Ph.D.s
in areas as diverse as agricultural, political, science, law, electrical
engineering, animal science, biochemistry. The group includes Iraqis from
throughout the country, including six women. We plan to appoint the second
tranche of deputy ministers representing the remaining 11 ministries shortly.
The new deputy ministers will be assigned to the following ministries: Ministry
of Agriculture, Culture, Ministry of Displacement and Migration, Ministry of
Education, Ministry of Electricity, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Human
Rights, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Municipalities
and Public Works, and Ministry of Transportation.
What I've done is I've asked the press center staff to have bios of all these
new deputy ministers available to you at the International Press Center. So if
you want more information on these individuals, it will be there waiting for
And that's all for today. Have a good evening.