COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY
WITH DANIEL SENOR, COALITION SENIOR ADVISER;
AND BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 9:38 A.M. EDT
DATE: MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good evening.
As far as Ambassador Bremer's schedule is concerned, today he had several
internal meetings. He held a meeting with the Iraqi Ministerial Committee on
National Security, which included the Iraqi minister of defense, interior
minister and national security adviser.
He also -- Ambassador Bremer decided to issue a formal statement to follow up on
what he -- some of the comments he made yesterday. He made comments in
interviews with Al-Arabiya, with Al-Jazeera and with a round table of Iraqi
journalists, and he's asked that we issue a formal statement to follow up. I'll
read you the statement. It'll be issued shortly.
"A dangerous situation is developing in Najaf, one that is putting all the
law-abiding citizens of that holy city at even greater risk. Weapons are being
stockpiled in schools, mosques and shrines. This explosive situation cannot be
tolerated by those who seek a peaceful resolution to this crisis. The coalition
certainly will not tolerate this situation. The restoration of these holy places
to calm places of worship must begin immediately."
Again, that is a statement by Ambassador Bremer that will be issued later today.
GEN. KIMMITT: Thank you.
Good afternoon. The coalition continues offensive and support operations focused
on restoration of a stable environment, in order to repair infrastructure,
stimulate the economy and transfer sovereignty to the people of Iraq.
Today in the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 72 patrols, three offensive operations and detained two anti-coalition
An Iraqi child and an adult were injured this afternoon when an attacker threw a
hand grenade at a coalition convoy in Tall Afar. Both civilians were treated and
seen by medics, and evacuated to a local hospital. There is an ongoing
cordon-and-search at the location where the attacker is believed to have fled.
In the north central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 330 patrols, two raids, capturing six anti- coalition suspects.
Two days ago a coalition forces combat patrol was attacked with small arms fire
in the vicinity of Baqubah airfield. The combat patrol returned fire, killing
one male armed with a specialized sniper rifle. Two nights ago a coalition
patrol raided an anti-coalition meeting area in the vicinity of Baqubah. The
patrol detained nine Iraqi males and seized magazines and cell phones. The
detainees were transported to a coalition base camp for questioning.
In Baghdad, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search last night to detain
a suspected Mujaheddin member in central Baghdad. Forces detained five suspects,
including the target, and confiscated fake IDs, visas and passports.
This morning a coalition force patrol searched a building in the Wazariyah (sp)
neighborhood of central Baghdad, acting on information that it contained
suspicious chemicals. During the search, there was an explosion in the building
which killed two U.S. soldiers, wounded five and injured eight civilians in the
vicinity. Forces from the 1st Cavalry Division reacted to the incident and
assisted the first responders from the Iraqi police service in rendering medical
and security assistance. An investigation has been initiated into the
circumstances of the blast. And the Al-Jazeera reports that as many 12 Marines
may have been killed in that incident are completely false.
In the western zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted
69 patrols, capturing 59 anti-coalition suspects.
This morning at 10:00 hours Marines were engaged by rocket- propelled grenades
and small arms fire from a mosque in northwest Fallujah. Coalition forces
returned fire and advanced toward the source of that fire. Prior to entering the
mosque, a PsyOps team ordered all personnel to come out with their hands raised.
No forces exited and coalition forces entered, finding the mosque completely
empty with the exception of a significant amount of expended shell casings in
the minaret. After the inspection coalition forces left the mosque and returned
to their positions.
At 12:00 today coalition forces were once again engaged by rocket-propelled
grenades and small arms fire originating from the same mosque. The coalition
forces became pinned down by the enemy fire and requested additional support. A
quick-reaction force, which included air and tank support, arrived at the scene
and directed suppressing fire on the mosque, killing eight enemy fighters and
damaging the infrastructure of the mosque. As a result of the attack, one
coalition soldier died of wounds, with an additional eight soldiers wounded.
In the central-south zone of operations, the division conducted 84 patrols and
established 47 checkpoints. Yesterday coalition forces established an
observation post, vicinity Karbala. The OP was established to overwatch
locations suspected of being enemy ambush positions, and at midnight soldiers
noted five men armed with two rocket-propelled grenades and three AK-47s. There
was an engagement with coalition forces resulting in two enemy killed.
In the southeastern zone of operations, the situation in Basra continues to be
peaceful following the car bombs earlier this week, with no apparent backlash
against coalition forces.
The offshore terrorist attack two nights ago has focused attention on the
security arrangements for the onshore oil infrastructure. Routine patrolling has
resumed throughout al-Amarah and has been generally well received by the locals.
I want to show you two items tonight. This is a map of Fallujah. This is the
area that most of the operations are being conducted within the cordon. This is
the site from which the Marines inside Fallujah received fire. There is a mosque
up in the northwest corner as well as another fighting position. This was the
fighting position that the Marines were operating from when they started
receiving fire from the mosque and from further north.
To give you some additional information, we took some combat camera video over
the past couple of days of operations near Fallujah. It doesn't have a lot of
sound to it, so I'll try to narrate it as it goes along.
This is a group of gentlemen that are coming back to Fallujah to join the Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi police. These are some of the many trucks of
humanitarian assistance that is being permitted back into Fallujah. You can see
that we are allowing the free access of ambulances coming into Fallujah. Some of
the humanitarian support being given to the people of Fallujah.
As you notice, that we are working side by side with both coalition forces and
the Iraqi Civil Defense. Here's some of the senior police members from Fallujah
working with the coalition forces. This is an example of the families that have
been let back in to the city of Fallujah. Can't have a video without a policeman
kissing a child. Again, another example. And this is what we get in return. This
is a mosque being used by the enemy to fire at coalition soldiers. You can see
the firing coming from the different windows. Sadly, we're getting more and more
film of the latter rather than of the former.
And with that, we'll go ahead and take questions.
MR. SENOR: Yes, go ahead.
Q Yeah, Quinn O'Toole (sp) with NPR News. Can you give us some more information
on the incident in Baghdad today? Who was conducting the search of the
suspicious chemical facility or whatever? What specifically were you tipped off
that it was? Who was conducting the search? And can you give us more about the
reaction of whoever came in afterwards, after the Humvees were destroyed?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, let me give you -- the location where the raid occurred was
a chemical store which the owner and his associates were suspected of supplying
chemical agents to terrorists, criminals and insurgents. There was also
information that suggests these individuals were involved in the production of
chemical munitions. Based on that and other intelligence, some of our
organizations went into the location and were conducting the inspection when the
Q When you say chemical munitions, what exactly do you mean?
GEN. KIMMITT: As I've said, there's information that suggests these individuals
were involved in the production of chemical munitions. That could be any number
of chemical munitions. It could be smoke. It could be anything. But it
apparently had enough credibility to it, that information, that we sent
coalition forces in to do the inspection.
Q Was the inspection by the Iraq Survey Group?
GEN. KIMMITT: The inspection was by a number of coalition forces. As you can
imagine, since we still have not been able to notify the families of the
deceased, we're going to just refer to all units that were involved in that
operation as part of coalition forces until after the notification.
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q Jim Chu (sp), NBC News. We've been seeing a lot of images of ordinary Iraqis,
you know, especially after this attack, cheering after these attack on coalition
forces. How does this jive with what the coalition has been saying, that this is
essentially a small minority that's supporting these insurgents?
And also, General Kimmitt, picking up on your comments on Basra today, have
there been any developments on the investigation there? Have there been any sort
of links established with al Qaeda?
MR. : Go ahead. Go ahead.
MR. SENOR: On your first question, I have no doubt that television coverage
picks up many images of people cheering attacks on, against coalition forces,
but no way do those select images reflect the majority of Iraqis, many of whom
are speaking out. In fact, earlier today Dr. Mowaffak Rubaie, Iraq's national
security adviser, held a press conference. Following this press conference,
Samir Sumaidy, the Iraqi minister of interior, is holding a press conference. A
group of representatives from the Iraqi Governing Council recently visited with
foreign fighters that have been detained to get a direct, firsthand account of
the fact that there are foreign fighters in this country. And they communicated
that to Dr. Rubaie to express their outrage.
And if you look at the polling -- and I've referred to this on multiple
occasions -- if you look at the polling across the board in Iraq, while there
are some who cheer on violence, the silent majority of Iraqis express grateful
appreciation for the liberation, express opposition to the occupation, which we
understand -- it is not nice to be occupied -- but at the same time, they
express concern about the coalition departing. They want the coalition to stay.
They're worried that if the coalition departs, the security situation will
And that's because the majority of Iraqis recognize that their enemy is our
enemy. We have that in common. Their enemy and our enemy is a small band -- a
small band, whether it's the small band in Fallujah of former Fedayeen Saddam,
former Mukhabarats, former Special Republican Guard, international terrorists
like Abu Massim -- Hassim (sic) al-Zarqawi, international terrorists of al Qaeda
ilk that are in the country; whether it is the small band in the southern part
of the country, the ragtag militia of Muqtada al-Sadr -- these enemies are
enemies that the coalition and the majority of Iraqi people share. And I just
don't accept the notion that because some media coverage tends to zero in on a
handful of images -- that that somehow reflects the view of a majority of
GEN. KIMMITT: We have no group that has claimed responsibility for the Basra
blasts. There were media reports that suggested somehow five persons had been
picked up by the Basra police and led to a great store of explosives. We
continue to work with the Ministry of Interior to validate that report. We just
don't have any more information than what we've already said.
MR. SENOR: Yes? Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) Rad Asah Adi (sp) from Al-Yoman Akara (sp) newspaper.
My first question is to General Kimmitt and the second is to Dan Senor.
Mr. General, recently there have been both sides, leaders of Fallujah and the
coalition leaders -- both of them allegate (sic) or claim that they have broken
the truce. Can you clarify what are the facts exactly? This is for General
Mr. Dan Senor, if the policy, as it says, is -- if is possible, if it is
possible, you say that we resort to peaceful solution, but why you've resorted
to fires? And are you -- you say that there are the outrages. As you said that
you are resorting to peaceful solution, but why there are so many outrageous
movements in all these countries just like Najaf and Fallujah?
GEN. KIMMITT: In your first question, you asked that there are allegations and
counter-allegations between the insurgents inside Fallujah and the United States
Marine Corps 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in terms of the breaking of the
cease-fire. We have given the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force an order to suspend
offensive operations. They only have the right to conduct operations invoking
their inherent right to self-defense, and they are not out there looking for a
fight. They are very careful about avoiding a fight. They are documenting every
day and they send up to us a cease-fire status report, and the cease-fire status
report demonstrates time after time after time that as they go up onto rooftops
to occupy a position, they are shot at. When they're shot at, they return fire.
They move forward to their observation post, and an RPG is shot at them. they
These Marines are not out trying to gain new terrain inside the city or take new
buildings inside the city. They respond when fired upon. They invoke their
inherent right to self-defense. They conduct defensive operations when fired
upon. We have significant methods by which we can determine, such as one unit
will receive mortar impact at a specific location, and this was documented by
the electronic systems that we have. So, time after time after time, the Marines
have demonstrated a significant amount of patience and discipline; when the
opportunity arises, they don't take that opportunity, but when fired upon, they
will respond. They have a responsibility to respond to make sure their fellow
Marines don't get killed by the insurgents.
There is nobody who is on that scene -- and I know a significant amount of the
press is currently working alongside the Marines, and we encourage that to
demonstrate that time after time it is the Marines that are fired upon, and only
in requirements to respond to that fire do they open up with their weapon
systems as well.
But it's also very important to understand that if they are fired upon, they
will respond appropriately. They will use all the systems that they have
available. They are a tremendous air-ground team. They have the capability not
to call on just their fellow Marines but they can bring in tanks, they can bring
in mortars, they can bring in the great fire pilots that they have for the
And many times it would appear that those provocative actions on the part of the
enemy are intentionally inspired for the purpose of trying to get a tank in the
camera lens, an airplane in the camera lens, so as to somehow try to convince
hopefully an unconvincing (sic/means unconvinced) and unpersuaded public that
this is something that it is not. And I'm glad to see, time after time, that the
evidence is carefully analyzed by the civilian population as well as by the
press, and recognized that the responses of the Marines have been appropriate,
well within the rules of engagement, and demonstrative of a well- disciplined
MR. SENOR: On your other question, I have seen real outrage expressed by many
governments and many foreign countries. The Japanese, the Italians come to mind.
Both countries have suffered setbacks in recent weeks with hostage takings, and
yet all they have done is reasserted their commitment to seeing this through,
seeing the path to securing Iraq's freedom through, seeing through the war on
terrorism. They have not gone wobbly. They have not backed down. They have
remained focused. And I -- those are just two examples. Obviously, there are
many. The coalition is large in number and very diverse, and I think by their
actions every coalition country that is on the ground every single day is
expressing their outrage by the tactics of the terrorists and the extremists and
the former Saddamists.
Q Hi. A question from the Chicago Tribune for General Kimmitt. There was a
report today that U.S. Army units had moved into the base formerly occupied by
the Spaniards in Najaf. Could you confirm that and say if they're going to be
there indefinitely, or if they'll be replaced by someone else?
GEN. KIMMITT: I don't know that those forces have actually gone in to occupy
that camp in Najaf yet. I know it's something that we're looking at. We have
said, as we look at the analysis, how we will cover the shortfall of the
departure of the Spanish forces and the other forces, that there is going to be
a need for a force to continue security operations in that area. Right now we
have some American units in that area, and it is highly likely that, for some
period of time, the American forces could move into that base camp to use it
either as a temporary or more than temporary base.
MR. SENOR: Yes, ma'am.
Q (Through interpreter.) Hollud al-Zayed Dimanjuri (ph), Ibn Al-Balad (ph)
newspaper. Mr. Dan, you have said that the security situation in Najaf is very
dangerous and cannot be tolerated, and you want a peaceful solution. Does this
mean that you want to reach an agreement, as was declared in Fallujah? And if
this situation stands, will you carry out military action in Najaf?
MR. SENOR: What I said was the basing of operations and the stockpiling of
weapons in holy places is intolerable. Using shrines and mosques and schools to
store weapons is simply unacceptable. We do not believe the citizens of Najaf
should tolerate it, but regardless we are making it clear that the coalition
will not tolerate it. And the process by which these holy places are restored to
places of calm rather than places of storage of weapons must begin immediately.
That is what I said. I will not speculate on next steps. I'm simply saying that
this is unacceptable. And those places of worship are not protected under the
Geneva Conventions in the event of military action if they are used as bases for
operations and bases to store weapons and other tools of violence.
Q Gregor Mayer from German Press Agency. Mr. Senor, what hard evidence do you
have on that weapons storage in Najaf? Are there pictures? Yesterday you said
you had some concerned citizens, but this sounds a little bit not really hard to
MR. SENOR: Doesn't sound what? I'm sorry.
Q Not really hard. I mean --
MR. SENOR: Hard? When we repeatedly hear from the Iraqi people about their
concerns about weapons being stored by illegal militias in Mosques, in shrines
and schools, we take that information very seriously.
Q (Through interpreter.) Have you took preparations for joint patrols in
Fallujah? And what is the nature of their mission there?
Question two: Replacing the Spanish forces and the Honduras forces, will they be
replaced by U.S. forces or any other forces?
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question about joint patrols. As early as tomorrow,
but as we get closer and closer to that time, it may be delayed, just as we're
bringing the forces together and conducting the typical rehearsals one conducts
before an operation of this type. We will have joint Iraqi police service, Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps, and coalition patrols. We would expect that they will come
into the town of Fallujah.
You can see that there are many roads coming into Fallujah from different
locations. Those are the ways that we will get back. There are all sorts of
different ways of coming into this town from those battle positions. The idea
would be to get our forces and those Iraqi security forces back into the city to
occupy the Iraqi police stations there, to start patrolling up and down the
streets, and start becoming a visible presence of Iraqi control over the city of
It could start as early as tommorow.
But we're going to let the commander on the ground make those decisions on when
he thinks his forces are ready, the conditions are right and the situation is
optimum for starting those patrols.
On your second question, about which forces will replace the Spanish, we've said
that we are still examining all the options. That could include using some of
the current forces on the ground. That could include bringing forces from other
sectors, other zones, down into that region to pick up the zone that the Spanish
were operating in. It could be a new contribution coming from a country already
part of the coalition or perhaps a new coalition partner deploying troops into
Iraq for that purpose. Any number of options are available. I suspect that those
decisions will be made in the near future. But right now we're examining all
those options to see which will be the optimum solution.
MR. SENOR: Yes, in the back?
Q Arwa Damon with CNN. With regards to Fallujah, is tomorrow still the deadline
for the weapons handover? And with regards to Najaf, has there been any reaction
or comment from local leaders to the stockpiles of weapons in Mosques and
GEN. KIMMITT: We are hoping that tomorrow there will be a large weapons turn-in.
We have not -- as I looked through the report today, over the last 24 hours no
additional weapons were turned in, so we're left with the two groups of weapons
that I think most people have seen the pictures: the first large group that came
from the back of a pickup truck that looked like they were probably used in the
Boar War and no more recent than that; then we had a second group, the next
group, a smaller quantity, some sniper rifles, some were actually capable. But
clearly, the amount of weapons that have been turned in come nowhere
approximating the number of weapons that are inside of Fallujah, and clearly do
not demonstrate a good-faith effort on the part of the insurgents to meet us
halfway, part of the way, any part of the way in terms of bringing a peaceful
solution back into Fallujah.
Tomorrow we will expect to see large amounts of weapons. If those weapons aren't
there, we will still proceed with our plans to move joint patrols into the city.
The end state remains restoring Iraqi control into the city of Fallujah. We have
not been pushed aside from that intent, have not been pushed aside from that end
state. And we will do that through negotiations, we will do that through a
political track or we will do that through force of arms. But it will be done.
MR. SENOR: To your question on Najaf, we are only looking for one reaction. We
want the process to begin immediately for the restoration of holy places from
places of stockpiling of weapons, period. They must restore to places of calm
and religious practice, and they must cease to be places where violence is
organized. That's the only reaction we're looking for, and that process must
begin immediately. The coalition is making that clear to everyone in Najaf. That
process must begin immediately. We will not tolerate mosques being used to
Q Patrick O'Donnell, Daily Times. About these joint patrols, I'm wondering,
General Kimmitt, if you could elaborate. Are these going to be one U.S. Marine,
one Iraqi policeman? Are they going to be platoon size? I mean, do you have --
are you going to be leaving the currently occupied portion of Fallujah and going
into the portion of Fallujah where there are no Marines? I mean, how is that
going to work? And do you have confidence that, one on one, a Marine and an
Iraqi police could be walking safely around the streets of Fallujah?
GEN. KIMMITT: The commanders on the ground are going to make the determination
what the right size of that patrol looks like. Clearly, much of that will depend
on the intelligence information they have about if anybody's going to oppose
them or try to interfere. Those are the issues that they're working on right
now. Those are the rehearsals they're going through outside of Fallujah as we
speak. But it is clear that their intention is that, over a period of time, that
we will have an Iraqi police, Iraqi Civil Defense and Iraqi government authority
restored to the city of Fallujah, and the coalition and the Iraqi security
forces will be walking side by side in the process of doing it.
In terms of the numbers, in terms of what kind and what color of trucks they're
going to have, we're going to let the commander on the ground make those
determinations based on his assessment of what he sees on the ground.
Q But it is going to go beyond the zone currently occupied by the Marines, one
GEN. KIMMITT: Excuse me?
Q I mean, these patrols will extend beyond the part of the city currently
occupied by the Marines.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, we're patrolling those areas currently occupied by the
Marines now. These will be new areas of the city they're walking into, not old
MR. SENOR: Yes.
Q (Through interpreter.) Abbas al-Falhei (ph) from Al Minar newspaper. I have a
question to Mr. Dan Senor. Mr. Dan, how do you view the appeal that have been
given/forwarded to the assembly of the Muslim scientists regarding the true
initiatives of not inflicting harm to any person in Fallujah in case that he
submitted or forwarded his weapons? What are the guarantees that he would not be
inflicted with harm or he would not be detained by the coalition forces?
MR. SENOR: I have not seen the particular statement you're referring to. But as
far as the spirit of the statement, or at least the way you've characterized it,
I would just say we want to minimize bloodshed. We want a peaceful resolution to
the situation in Fallujah. The onus at this point is on those who have been
engaging in violence in Fallujah since beginning of February, really. If action
is not taken by those individuals in those groups -- whether they are former
Fedayeen Saddam, whether they're former Mukhabarat, whether they are former
Special Republican Guard, whether they are foreign fighters like Zarqawi -- they
are the ones that can head off violent confrontations in Iraq and violent
confrontations in Fallujah.
GEN. KIMMITT: It's very simple. If somebody is not a threat, somebody is not a
threat. If a person inside Fallujah is not carrying a weapon, he will not be
considered a threat. If a person is carrying a weapon, he will be considered
hostile. He will be considered a threat and appropriate action will be taken.
As for people walking up and down the streets of Fallujah, we would encourage
that. We would encourage the capability of not only the people of Fallujah to be
walking up and down the streets, but Iraqi police service and the Iraqi civil
defense service and the coalition forces to be walking up and down the streets.
But at the same time, there are people in Fallujah that have shot at coalition
forces, that have shot at Iraqi police, that have created violence; and they're
subject to the rule of law. And the rule of law must prevail in Iraq and it must
prevail in Fallujah.
So no one inside the city of Fallujah has any reason to fear the return of Iraqi
control to the city of Fallujah. If they are hostile in that process, they have
a reason to fear. If they have blood on their hands, they have reason to be
subjected to the courts of the country of Iraq. It is that simple.
MR. SENOR: Yes? Go ahead.
Q George Osterkamp, CBS News. On the effort to get the weapons out of the
mosques in Najaf, is there any positive response from moderate clerics in Najaf?
MR. SENOR: Again, I'm not going to comment or characterize reactions. Again, we
are looking for one very clear reaction here. Weapons must be removed from
places of worship immediately. We will not tolerate it. If they are not removed
immediately, further steps may have to be taken. We are making that clear. We
are making that clear to everyone. That was the message Ambassador Bremer
communicated yesterday. It is the statement he is issuing today. I'm reiterating
it. Places of worship that are being used to stockpile weapons must be restored
to places of calm.
Q The follow-up then is, was Ambassador Bremer's statement directed toward those
MR. SENOR: I think everybody who has an interest in seeing a peaceful resolution
to the situation in Najaf and everybody who wants to head off a potentially
explosive situation in that area has an interest in seeing to it that mosques
cease to be used for stockpiling of weapons.
Q (Through interpreter.) Ali Nasara Koreshi (sp) from Semen Al-Ati (sp)
newspaper. Mr. Mark Kimmitt, good evening. My question is there -- what are the
tools or how can overcome the terrorists and the hostiles (sic)? What is the
guilt? Why the civilians are also -- have been the victims? What is the peaceful
solution? Please find us a solution to get rid of those terrorists.
GEN. KIMMITT: Probably the best way to get rid of terrorists is twofold. Number
one, recognize that terrorism preys in all societies. It is capable of living
inside all the societies. But everyone in that society has -- must stand up
together and say no to terrorism.
But it has to be more than just words. It has to be more than just thinking: "No
more terrorism." You can't simply be passive and expect somebody else to take
care of the terrorist threat for you.
The number-one tool to fight terrorism is information and intelligence. And
every citizen in Iraq, every Iraqi policemen, every Iraqi Civil Defense Corps
soldier, every coalition soldier should consider themselves part of the fight
And every bit of intelligence that you may have, every bit of information that
you may have related to something in your neighborhood that looks out of place,
out of space, like it doesn't belong there, people coming and going in the
middle of the night and loading their cars, unloading their cars -- give that
information to your local Iraqi police service. Let that intelligence be the
information that we need to turn it into action which allows the coalition
forces and the Iraqi security forces attack to kill or capture those terrorists.
Everybody must stand together. Everybody must stand up. You cannot hide from
terrorism and expect it to go away or blow away. You must stand up. You must be
counted. Your voice must be heard. Your voice must contribute to the fight
If everyone in this country stood up and said, "Let me tell you what I know,"
that would provide sufficient intelligence to catch the Zarqawis, to kill the
networks of Ansar al-Islam and to make sure that inside this country terrorism
will no longer be a threat.
MR. SENOR: Carl (sp)?
Q Two questions. First, on the Baghdad explosion, do we know what caused the
GEN. KIMMITT: No.
Q The second thing, General, is, what you just said about rule of law, can you
help me reconcile that statement with a sort of famous statement by an officer
senior to you a couple of weeks ago that the forces were going to Najaf to kill
Muqtada al-Sadr, who is wanted on an arrest warrant? There's a due process
question there. I mean, it's confusing.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, what was talked about was we had said many
times from this podium that we will destroy Sadr's militia. It is that simple.
We will not only destroy the militia, but we will destroy every element of that
militia. Take a look at what that militia has done since the beginning of April.
It attempted to attack the legitimate democratic institutions of this country.
It didn't try to take over amusement parks, it didn't try to take over lakeside
property. What it attempted to take over were police stations, media outlets,
That was sedition. That was an attack against young democratic organizations
that are the guarantors of freedom inside this country. Not only did they attack
those institutions, but they attacked and killed numerous people, uncounted
numbers of people, that were defending those police stations, that were
occupying those television stations, that were fighting from those government
buildings. That army, as a hostile force in this country, became a legitimate
target for the coalition and the Iraqi security services. Anyone part of that
organization, whether it was somebody carrying a gun or somebody directing that
gun, fell under that special purview as well.
MR. SENOR: Carl, I would just add that any statements coming from officials from
the CJTF-7 have been complemented repeatedly by statements by Ambassador Bremer
and others, including members of the coalition military, that Muqtada al-Sadr
has the option to submit himself to Iraqi justice. We have been clear on that
point. Not only does he have the option, but we are demanding that he subject
himself to Iraqi justice.
There is an Iraqi investigative judge that has prepared an arrest warrant, that
has prepared a case. We are prepared to ensure that Muqtada al-Sadr is tried by
an Iraqi judge, which has been requested -- this has been at the behest of the
Iraqi authorities -- be tried by an Iraqi judge in an Iraqi court under Iraqi
law, to be detained in an Iraqi detention facility. This has been made clear
repeatedly by the coalition, been made clear repeatedly by Iraqi authorities for
months now. So Muqtada al-Sadr can bring this to resolution if he submits
himself to Iraqi justice.
Q (Name inaudible) -- from the NHK. General Kimmitt, what about the ceasing-fire
agreement between the coalition forces and Fallujah? Is it ended?
GEN. KIMMITT: No, it's not ended.
Q So it's still going on?
GEN. KIMMITT: We are still talking. We still feel that we are fulfilling our
part of the contract. We certainly feel that we are going out of our way to meet
the terms of the agreements. We would not say the same for the other side. And
we certainly hope that there is an epiphany on the part of the belligerents
inside of Fallujah tonight to recognize that there are two tracks. There is a
peaceful track, a peaceful settlement, or there is a settlement that is achieved
by force of arms; their choice.
MR. SENOR: Last question. Yes, ma'am.
Q (Through interpreter.) Selah al-Madri (ph), Hasinidad (ph) Iraqi Daily. I was
today by coincidence in Al Wazariyah (sp), where the explosion took place. My
question is, the factories in this area are used for manufacturing cosmetic
material and are not used for manufacturing chemical substances. So what is your
evidence about your claims?
GEN. KIMMITT: We had sufficient evidence and sufficient intelligence for us to
go into that location. And if in fact that building was solely being used to
manufacture lipstick -- it had quite an explosion inside that building, which
cost the life of two coalition soldiers, injured a number of coalition soldiers
and a number of Iraqi civilians. So if it was making lipstick, that's some
pretty high-test lipstick.
MR. SENOR: Thank you, everybody.