COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COALITION OPERATIONS;
AND DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, CPA
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 10:03 A.M. EDT
DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good afternoon. Just a couple of quick administrative
items, and then General Kimmitt will have an opening statement, then we'll be
happy to take your questions.
Ambassador Bremer today handed over another ministry to the Iraqi Cabinet for
Iraqi control -- the Ministry of Science and Technology -- with a ceremony held
at the ministry building. He also met with the Iraqi Governing Council earlier
today. He started his day this morning with a meeting with the Iraqi Ministerial
Committee on National Security. And later this afternoon he met with a group of
Iraqi teachers, about 30 Iraqi teachers, and that was held here at the
Convention Center this afternoon.
Ambassador Richard Jones is en route to Fallujah. He has been one of the members
of the joint Governing Council/coalition delegation that has been negotiating
with Fallujan leaders, trying to reach a peaceful resolution there. He is there
to continue discussions and to monitor the situation.
Our message remains to the Fallujan people that heavy weapons, illegal weapons,
must be turned over per the agreement reached earlier in the week. Fallujans
must work to remove foreign fighters, drug users, former Mukhabarat, Special
Republican Guard, former Fedayeen Saddam, and other serious, dangerous, violent
criminals operating out of Fallujah. And while we continue to be hopeful, based
on the intentions of those with whom we have been negotiating and discussing
these issues, we do caution that we are in a mode right now of days, not weeks.
Time is running out. We want to reach a peaceful resolution to the Fallujah
GEN. KIMMITT: Thanks.
And just to add to that, there was some discussion -- we had heard over numerous
press venues the number of heavy weapons that had been turned in over the past
24 to 48 hours. We'd given you some pictures of what has been turned in.
Over on the far left, those are some rocket-propelled grenade rounds, look
pretty good. But if you look at the labeling on them, they say "inert," which
means they were training rounds, certainly not the ones that have been used
against coalition soldiers.
Next to them a number of mortar rounds and grenade rounds that obviously have
been buried for an extended period of time, certainly not the type that have
been used against our Marines in any of the recent engagements.
Same thing for the machine gun on the right that has seen better days.
And that on the far right is the pickup truck that brought most of the quote,
unquote, "heavy weapons" in. And you can see from what was brought in that very
few, if any, of those weapons had the slightest capability of being used. As Mr.
Senor said, we're looking for a serious engagement of serious discussions from
people that can deliver and not bring in rubbish or trash or junk, but the heavy
weapons that have been responsible for the recent engagements in Fallujah.
Overall, the coalition continues offensive and support operations focused on
restoration of a stable environment in order to continue the repair of
infrastructure, stimulate the economy and pass governance over to the people of
In the northern zone, coalition and Iraqi security forces remain active in the
Task Force Olympia area of operations. There were 10 attacks in the past 24
hours, five directed against coalition or Iraqi security forces.
In Mosul, Task Force Olympia conducted a transfer of authority ceremony for the
Albanian company which departed today, having been replaced by another Albanian
company. They departed Iraqi having completed their mission with distinction,
and on behalf of the coalition, we appreciate their contributions.
In eastern Mosul last night, drive-by shooters attacked the Bab Shamas (sp) pump
station, but there were no injuries or damage to equipment.
In Hammam al Alil, coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search targeting
three individuals responsible for attacks on 9 and 10 April. A brigade
high-value target and three other primary targets were captured.
On the Syrian border near Rabiya, Iraqi border police detained 12 benzine
In the north central zone of operations, enemy activity included 16 attacks,
eight of which were directed coalition or Iraqi security forces.
In Samarra, two attacks yesterday were reported, four mortar rounds impacting
near the ICD headquarters. There were no injuries to coalition forces in this
attack. In the second attack, an IED exploded near a coalition force convoy.
Again, no injuries or damage to equipment.
Last night in the 1AD -- 1ID area of operations, coalition forces conducted a
series of raids targeting Sadr militia safe houses near Balad. The raids
resulted in the detention of six targeted individuals and 15 other males.
Also last evening, coalition forces identified an illegal checkpoint near Tuz.
The checkpoint was manned by four males brandishing weapons and robbing passing
cars. An aerial weapons team moved to the area to investigate and the criminals
attempted to flee and they were engaged by the aerial weapons team. A combat
patrol sent to investigate counted three individuals killed. The surviving male
attempted to engage the combat patrol with small arms fire and was subsequently
killed in a firefight, which wounded one U.S. soldier. The patrol seized 20 hand
grenades, a jeep with four 155 mm rounds, fuses and one rocket-propelled grenade
launcher with three rounds. The wounded soldier was evacuated for treatment
where he is stable condition.
In Baghdad the 1st Cavalry experienced 16 attacks, of which 12 were directed
against coalition or Iraqi security forces. Task Force Baghdad captured 18
suspected enemy and confiscated significant amounts of weapons and ammunition
over the past 24 hours.
Coalition forces executed Operation Lancer Lightning in Sadr City, a coordinated
cordon and search of several Sadr militia strongholds. The operations resulted
in the detention of five suspects with no injuries or damage to coalition
This morning coalition forces conducted a raid near Al Duluiyah. The target of
the raids were suspected of an RPG attack on an ICDC commander on the 20th of
April and the raid resulted in 12 personnel detained.
In the western zone of operations, coalition forces experienced three attacks
against Iraqi and coalition security forces out of a total of six attacks in the
past 24 hours. We continue to see anti- coalition forces fighting from fortified
positions, misusing mosques as weapons storage sites and using mosques also as
In Fallujah there were two reports of hostile fire in the past 24 hours.
Yesterday morning enemy forces attacked the Marines twice in northwest Fallujah
in a well-documented incident. The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force continues
aggressive patrols and offensive operations outside of Fallujah, as well as
providing humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Fallujah. Movement of
humanitarian assistance in and out of Fallujah was halted for several hours
yesterday because of attacks on coalition forces. Forces will continue to
maintain the cordon around Fallujah and are prepared to resume offensive
operations on order, and continue to encourage the return of local ICDC and
In the central-south zone of operations, there were a total of 11 attacks, nine
targeting coalition or Iraqi security forces. Coalition forces continue
Operation Iron Saber, executing intelligence-based operations and MSR security
in the region south of Baghdad, reconnaissance operations to develop
intelligence on the location of Sadr militia leaders, as well as the
identification of local leadership, sheikhs and imams for engagement.
In al Kut, coalition forces conducted three cordon-and-search operations in
order to capture an individual suspected of being a Sadr militia cell leader and
weapons dealer. The unit captured the target as well as five additional
In the southeastern zone of operations, the current situation remains stable,
with seven attacks, five attacks which were directed against coalition or Iraqi
security forces. There were three attacks against Iraqi police and coalition
forces yesterday in Basra. The southeastern zone of operations in the past 36
hours has been dominated by consequence management following the VBIED attacks
Today an ICDC checkpoint was attacked by a drive-by shooting. The ICDC soldiers
at the checkpoint returned fire at the attackers, but there were no casualties
as a result of the attack.
MR. SENOR: And with that, we will be happy to take your questions. Yes, sir? Go
Q (Through interpreter.) Ibrahim Hassan (sp), from an organization of Faily
Kurds. A group of families have recommended me to give you a message that is in
form of a question, so please be so honest in answering this question.
The helicopters who are flying a low profile in the areas where they are fully
populated, in different times and different circumstances, so that also has just
scared the children and the innocent people and the families, and also
(consequently ?) so some of those members of the families have been inflicted
and they just were scared, and there have been so many diseases -- psychological
diseases, skin diseases also, due to these, I mean, illegal flying low profile
helicopters in those areas. So they are just seeking for a solution. If it is
possible, please find a solution to save the lives of those people who are --
who were harmed and inflicted with harm because of these actions.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, number one, the low-profile helicopter flights have a
purpose. It allows our helicopters to fly low and fast. It allows them to
conduct their operations to provide security to the people of Iraq.
Having spent most of my adult life either on or near military posts, married to
a woman who teaches in the schools, you often hear the sounds of tank firing.
You often hear the sounds of artillery rounds going off. And she seems to be
quite capable of calming the children and letting them understand that those
booms and those bangs that they hear are simply the sounds of freedom. If you
can take this message back in the form of a statement, that if you tell your
families and you tell your children and you tell your wives that there is
nothing to fear from those helicopters -- in fact, much of the peace you enjoy
and the fact that the children can go back to school, the children can go out to
play, the children can enjoy a free life -- is because of those soldiers that
are inside those helicopters out there, protecting their freedom and protecting
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q American newspapers are talking about a change in policy, bringing back some
of the Ba'athist top-level people because of their skills and so on and so
forth. Can you tell us what is going on?
MR. SENOR: I think Ambassador Bremer has probably heard from thousands of Iraqis
since he's been here on the issue of de- Ba'athification, and what he hears
repeatedly from them is how difficult and necessary it is for Iraqis to come to
terms with their past. Part of Iraq freeing itself from its past is getting de-
Ba'athification right. There is no room in the new Iraq for the Ba'athist
ideology and for the most senior members of the former regime that had a direct
hand in the -- some of the worst Ba'athist crimes and brutality.
So our policy on de-Ba'athification must remain as it is. It is the right policy
for Iraq. We believe it is. The Iraqi Governing Council believes that it is.
Its implementation, however, should be reformed. We have heard complaints from
Iraqis that the appeals process, for instance, is sometimes slower in
implementation than it was originally designed. It sometimes excludes innocent,
capable people who were Ba'athists in name only from playing a role in
reconstructing Iraq. And those are the sorts of people for which there was a
process built in to allow exceptions, to allow for appeals. But the exceptions
and appeals process doesn't do anybody any good if it is not expeditious. And so
what we are looking at now is a way to implement -- make revisions to the
implementation process so the implementation going forward reflects the initial
intention of the policy. But the actual policy in terms of who is de-Ba'athified,
what the criteria is, that policy remains intact. And this will be the -- an
issue that Ambassador Bremer is going to address tomorrow night specifically in
an address to the nation that he will be delivering on Al-Iraqiyah.
GEN. KIMMITT: But in line with that policy and inside that policy, as we
continue to grow the Iraqi armed forces from more than just squads and platoons
and companies and battalions that need lieutenant colonels, captains and majors,
as the organization gets bigger, as the Ministry of Defense is fleshed out, as
the Iraqi armed forces Joint Forces Headquarters is established, there is going
to be a need for high-ranking officers. You're going to need generals, you're
going to need full colonels, you're going to need senior officers to command and
control those organizations. Obviously, that is not a skill level that you can
get in a series of weeks. It takes 10, 15 years to grow some of our senior
sergeants, and even longer to grow senior colonels and generals. And so it just
is a natural consequence that sooner or later there was going to come a time
when we would need senior officers. And there are many senior officers remaining
from this country who can meet all of the criteria that had been established in
the de-Ba'athification policy, and still have significant amount of contribution
to offer the nation of Iraq in the defense structure.
MR. SENOR: Yeah, I would just add, that may be where some of the confusion is
coming from. First of all, the policy isn't changing, we're looking at ways to
improve the implementation. And what General Kimmitt's talking about, which is
bringing back senior-level military officials to play a role, it was always --
as he said, it was always expected that we'd have to do that, it was always part
of the plan once we built up the command control structure. But it was always
expected that those individuals would be fully vetted, and by no means would
have had a direct hand in any of the Ba'athist horrors. So bringing back
generals, a handful of generals, depending on the number, would not be
inconsistent with the overall approach to de- Ba'athification.
Yes? In the back.
Q Lars Rasmussen (sp), TV2, Denmark. Recently the body of a Danish businessman
was found on the outskirts of Baghdad. What can you tell us about the
circumstances of his death? And specifically, when was the CPA informed about
MR. SENOR: I can have someone from our office here provide you details after.
(To the general.) I don't know if you've got any.
GEN. KIMMITT: All of the details that we have are still being provided through
the Danish government. The Danish government has asked that they be the release
authority for this information. And we will certainly defer to any announcements
that come out of the Danish government in this case.
MR. SENOR: Yes, ma'am?
Q (Through interpreter.) Halim Asah (sp), Al Musharka (sp) newspaper. I have two
questions, one for General Kimmitt, and the other is for Mr. Senor.
Regarding the withdrawal of the Spanish forces, regarding the withdrawal of the
multinational forces from a lot of regions, will new forces replace these forces
that are being withdrawn?
The second question, for Mr. Senor: Do you have details about the latest
operations that took place in Basra and the investigations regarding these
operations? Thank you very much.
GEN. KIMMITT: On the issue of the Spanish withdrawal and the other forces that
will be withdrawing from Multinational Division Central South over the next
weeks and months, we are going through analysis right now to determine the best
way to ensure that there will not be a security vacuum with the departure of
That analysis is being conducted as we speak, and there are a number of options
being looked at. One option would be to use existing forces from elsewhere
within the area of operations and put them down in the area of Najaf and Karbala
to replace them. Another option is to use the existing forces remaining; where
we currently have three brigades, use two brigades to cover the entire area. A
third option would be to encourage another nation to come in and provide a new
contribution to the coalition. Those options are being weighed and analyzed at
this time. We would expect that those decisions are forthcoming. We certainly
intend to have those decisions in time so that, as the Spanish, Honduran,
Dominican Republican -- Dominican Republic and El Salvadoran troops depart,
there is not a security gap created before we can get new troops in.
MR. SENOR: (To Gen. Kimmitt.) Do you want to finish up with Basra?
GEN. KIMMITT: And on the second question, regarding Basra, I think the facts are
pretty well known in terms of sadly the number of civilians that were killed and
Iraqi police that were killed as well. And particularly horrible and deplorable
was the killing of 20 young children right next to one of the car bombs.
Q Did I hear you right? Forty? Four-zero?
GEN. KIMMITT: Twenty.
And as to who did it, we don't have any information and no group has yet claimed
responsibility. We have no information that directly ties it to any number of
groups. However, if you take a look at the manner in which it was carried out,
the technique that was used, the tactics that were used in the attack, it
clearly points to a network, a terrorist network, a coordinated terrorist
network such as the Zarqawi network, who right now, absent any other evidence,
would probably be the number one candidate and the number one group that we
would look at as being responsible for the commission of this heinous crime.
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q Guy Henschel (sp) with CNN. A couple of questions, if I may. There have been
reports today of a journalist that's been shot in the Adhamiya district and a
couple of hostages being released. Do you have nationalities and the
circumstances surrounding these events? And do you also have a confirmed number
of civilian casualties from Fallujah from the Ministry of Health? Thank you.
MR. SENOR: On the second question, I've heard reports about these numbers from
the Ministry of Health. I don't want to comment on them yet because I haven't
seen a final number; I've seen reports of them. And moreover, I'm not certain of
the methodology that was used to collect them. I know that getting accurate
numbers on civilian casualties -- on any casualties in this situation -- is very
difficult, particularly in an environment like Fallujah underwent of recent. So
we're going to take a closer look at those numbers, take a closer look at the
And on the -- and on the --
(To Gen. Kimmitt.) Do you have anything on the one casualty? No?
We can check with our folks and see if there's any updated information. I have
no current information on that.
Q Yes, Dan. What you recognize now as a slowing down of appeals process in the
de-Ba'athification, is there a causal nexus with the person who is the chairman
of the de-Ba'athification commission, Mr. Chalabi, and who is quite obsessed
with that issue? And would you change on that?
And a second question. Another member of the Chalabi family seems to have been
appointed as administration chief of the special tribunal. Has he been nominated
or appointed? And is it a position which is also considered by Ambassador
Bremer? I mean, does he have still to sign such decisions or countersign such
decisions, or is this entirely done by the Governing Council?
MR. SENOR: First of all, on your first question, look, we are looking for a way
to expedite a de-Ba'athification appeals process that was designed by the
Governing Council in consultation with the coalition. We want it to be
implemented in the manner in which it was designed. That is our goal here. We
want to seek a resolution to this process, a solution to this process quickly.
It's not about any personality, it's about getting a solution. And we hope that
everyone involved with de-Ba'athification can play a constructive role in that
To your second question, we believe the steps that the Iraqi special tribunal
are taking are positive next steps. The appointment of judges is obviously
something that's important in building up the infrastructure, if you will, the
legal infrastructure and the personnel infrastructure necessary to get the Iraqi
special tribunal on the path to ultimately being able to handle cases. Next
steps, of course, which we want to take a look at are the rules and procedures
they establish for preparation of arraignments and other matters that the
special tribunal must move forward on. But we believe that as Iraq moves toward
sovereignty and as the special tribunal begins to put itself in a position to
handle these cases, they need to be taking these steps. They need to do things
like appointing judges and putting personnel in place. So overall, we think the
fact that they are making progress is a positive sign.
Q (Through interpreter.) General Kimmitt has mentioned something about -- that
somebody has been detained, a group of people. They were illegal. Were those
people who were detained foreign fighters? If they were foreign fighters, what
are their nationalities?
GEN. KIMMITT: There were a number of people that were detained over the past 24
hours. I'm not aware that any were foreign fighters. We typically don't find
that out until after a day or so of interrogation. What you may be referring to
are the 12 that we caught on the Syrian border. They were assessed to be benzene
smugglers and not, to our knowledge, coming into the country as foreign
MR. SENOR: Patrick?
Q Two questions regarding Fallujah. One is, how are the leaders of Fallujah,
even if they are inclined to get rid of these people at arms there, these
insurgents and others, foreign fighters, how are they supposed to do that? How
many of these insurgents do you estimate there are? And number three, who are
these drug users, and what kind of drugs are they using, and what is their role
in the insurgency up there?
MR. SENOR: On your second point -- or your final question -- I'll let General
Kimmitt handle the front end -- we have been told by -- our delegation has been
told by Fallujan leaders that many of the individuals involved with the violence
are on some -- are on various drugs. It is part of what they're using to keep
them up to engage in this violence at all hours. And the Fallujans leaders, the
political and civic leaders with whom we've been talking, have repeatedly
expressed this to be a serious problem, that the drug use by those engaged in
the violence is something that we need to address. And so it was based on those
recommendations that that was included in the communique, the joint communique.
And it is one of the issues that we want to take on.
GEN. KIMMITT: On the issue of the number of fighters inside Fallujah, we've got
some very wildly -- a wide range of estimates ranging somewhere -- at the
beginning of the fight, somewhere on the order of 1,000 to 2,000. I don't know
if any assessments have been provided since then that would change that number
significantly, but that's the number that we're templating at this time.
Q And how are the leaders supposed to kind of get them out?
GEN. KIMMITT: That's called leadership. Again, they are not expected to get them
out, they're expected to get them to the negotiating table, to the discussions,
where they go back to these fighters and say: There's an opportunity for peace.
There's an opportunity here to avoid dragging our wives and our children into
this fight. There's an opportunity here to avoid any more damage to this town as
a result of military operations. This is the deal that is being offered. What
can I tell the coalition?
That's called leadership. And if they can't provide that, and if they can't
deliver that, it is clear to us that the fighters in Fallujah understand
completely what is going on, what is being offered, and what the linkage is to
further military operations, or lack thereof. So if they can't deliver, then
we've got to take a look at some other options, to include the ending of the
suspension of offensive operations; in other words, the resumption of offensive
But it is clearly the desire of the coalition at this time that we try to
attempt a peaceful resolution to the situation in Fallujah to avoid any further
bloodshed, to avoid any further damage, to avoid another fight, which can be
avoided if those leaders show leadership and go back and persuade the people
that are holding their city hostage that this is the best deal that they're
going to get.
MR. SENOR: Ed. Welcome back.
Q Thanks, Dan.
Q (In Arabic) --
MR. SENOR: This gentleman right there. Go ahead.
Q My question concerns Muqtada al Sadr. We saw reports that there was a
demonstration, an anti-occupation demonstration today down in Basra in reaction
to the bombings yesterday where one of Sadr's main aides led several hundred
people in a demonstration against the British, saying that they were responsible
for the bombings. It seems from that that even though Muqtada al Sadr is bottled
up right now in Najaf, that he can cause a lot of antagonism towards the
occupation forces. And I'm wondering whether you have a clear-cut plan on how to
silence this, if that's your intention?
MR. SENOR: Our objective here is not to silence the expression of free speech,
peaceful demonstration, freedom of assembly -- all rights, I might add, that are
guaranteed in the Transitional Administrative Law, the interim constitution
passed by the Iraqi Governing Council. These are things that we have worked hard
to protect in this country since we arrived.
So I guess, Ed, I would separate that from the Sadr issue, the broader issue of
Sadr, the arrest warrant issued to him by an Iraqi investigative judge that
wants Sadr tried under Iraqi law in Iraqi courts, he wants him to be detained by
Iraqi police -- that's a completely separate issue about whether or not those
who may or may not be sympathetic to Sadr are actually exercising their right to
free speech and freedom of assembly. And our policy remains the same on Sadr,
and we've communicated this to a number of people, a number of organizations
that have approached us about Sadr. We've addressed it from this podium as well.
The rule of law must prevail in Iraq, period. End of issue. Illegal militias
must be disbanded. There is no room for these militias and this mob violence
that Muqtada al-Sadr has attempted to organize. Finally, there is no room for
unilaterally taking over government buildings and other government properties.
Obviously, those things must be returned.
And so those are the principles that we have articulated here repeatedly, those
are the principles we've articulated to anybody who is seeking a peaceful
resolution to the issue. If people want to protest peacefully in favor or
against the things we do or others may do, that's a completely separate matter.
GEN. KIMMITT: And I would ask you to take a hard look at this notion of
exploiting people's grief to make a political statement. After the Ashura
bombings, coalition forces were swept up in some instances by people expressing
their grief, throwing shoes at them, so on and so forth. The coalition forces
pulled off, realizing that at that time it was just a period of grief and
expression that these people were going through. We saw the same thing yesterday
in Basra as the coalition forces were sort of caught up in that maelstrom of
grief, and again backed off and tried to give space to the people to properly
vent their grief and their rage and their outrage at the loss of their loved
Compare that with Muqtada al-Sadr, who tried to exploit that grief rather than
accept it, tried to turn that grief of the crowd into mob violence, which he did
down in Basra today. And I think it speaks volumes at the thuggish behavior of
Muqtada al-Sadr and what he represents that he would intentionally try to use
the grief of the people to make a political statement, which obviously caught
hold to some in this room to somehow suggest that this was demonstration of his
strength and his capacity for creating large numbers of incidents. In fact, I
think it's even far more illustrative of the base behavior that he is willing to
undertaken to advance his agenda.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (Through interpreter.) Al Omani (ph) News Agency. Two questions. First for Mr.
Dan. Would you please inform us about what went on between Ambassador Bremer and
the Governing Council? Second question. We heard that a number of detainees are
to be released today, so when, exactly, will they be released? Thank you.
MR. SENOR: On your first question, Ambassador Bremer talked about a number of
issues with the Governing Council, everything ranging from the de-Ba'athification
issues we were speaking of before, to issues related to detainees, to the
security situation generally, obviously providing them an update in other steps
we are taking to address the security situation. Economics came up relating to
some job programs that we are working on. Those are the range of issues. He also
talked to them about the address he was delivering tomorrow evening, which will
be televised on Al-Rahiya (ph).
GEN. KIMMITT: I don't know how many detainees will be released today. It has
become so routine that large numbers of detainees are released. We typically do
it on Tuesday. For example, two days ago we released just over 200 detainees. I
don't even know what time today if we are releasing detainees today, but we'll
have the CPIC get that answer for you right after this press conference.
MR. SENOR: Yes, in the back.
Q Gene Chu (sp), NBC News. Dan, just picking up on your comments about freedom
of expression, I'd just like to ask how -- the explanation for Mr. Sadr's
newspaper, Al-Hawza, being shut down. First question.
Second question, this is addressed to General Kimmitt. What is the threshold,
sir, that the leadership in Fallujah of the insurgency has to show to sort of
prove to you that, you know, that we will -- you know, we'll halt offensive
operations? And what, then -- what type of timetable? You're talking days, but
is this something that -- I understand that the residents are not being allowed
back into the city. So what do they have to show you militarily to say okay,
fine, we'll stand down?
MR. SENOR: On your first --
(To Gen. Kimmitt.) Do you want to go first?
GEN. KIMMITT: (To Mr. Senor.) You go ahead.
MR. SENOR: On your first question, as in all democracies, certainly Western
democracies, with any freedom like freedom of the press, freedom of expression
comes responsibility, and there is no tolerance in any democracy for using
newspapers to incite violence. And certainly in this country we are not going to
tolerate a situation where a newspaper is being used to incite violence against
the coalition or the Iraqi people, and that was the basis of our concern with
There are some 200 newspapers that have sprouted up since liberation in this
country. Certainly we bend over backwards to ensure all of their right and
freedom to operate, whether they be critical or supportive of the things we do.
That's not the issue. The issue is whether or not that freedom is used
irresponsibly/dangerously to incite violence in a way that we believe lives
could be lost and lives could be lost immediately unless we address the
The basis of that policy is modeled after similar laws, media laws in the United
States, in the United Kingdom and Australia. It's about striking the right
balance between protecting freedom of speech and protecting against the
incitement of violence.
GEN. KIMMITT: The people in Fallujah -- the leadership in Fallujah certainly
understand what we are looking for in Fallujah: the restoration of legitimate
Iraqi control in Fallujah, the elimination of all the foreign fighters and
terrorists and fighters in Fallujah. We have been very clear that one of the
steps is to turn in all the heavy weapons. That is the most visible sign that
those inside Fallujah can use to demonstrate to us that they are serious about a
peaceful track, that they are serious about a peaceful resolution. That was
understood on both sides of the table in the discussions. The leadership clearly
accepted that as they went back into Fallujah. This is not a serious expression
of intent. These types of weapons are not a serious demonstration that they want
peace. This is not a serious offer that they have come back to us and shown us
that they want peace inside Fallujah.
To answer your question directly, a large field full of the heavy weapons that
have been used against the people in Fallujah, and been used against the
coalition forces in Fallujah, that's the minimum. They understand that. We've
made the points accessible for them to conduct it. We have done nothing to
impede their capability to produce them.
MR. SENOR: We have time for one more question.
Yes, ma'am. Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Lela Shimari (ph) -- (inaudible). Some news have been
leaked that the U.S. is entering mass destruction weapons into Iraq by foreign
companies, and this is being used to support the campaign of President Bush for
reelection. So what is your comment about this subject?
MR. SENOR: I haven't seen the reports, so it's difficult for me to respond to
them. But based on your characterization of the reports, they strike me as
highly unlikely, and if I may take a swipe at the newspaper that are reporting
them, without having seen the articles -- borderline absurd. So --
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: I'm sorry?
Q (Through interpreter.) It has been published on the Internet.
MR. SENOR: On the Internet? Okay. I haven't seen the reports, so.
GEN. KIMMITT: And on the military side, I can categorically deny that we are
bringing any weapons of mass destruction into Iraq to either facilitate the
military campaign or the election campaign.
MR. SENOR: Thank you, everybody.