L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Appointment of New Governor for Najaf
6 May 2004
After decades of brutal one-man rule, Iraq today stands on the brink of a new
democracy. Just eight weeks from today an Iraqi government will assume full
One of that government's most important tasks will be to prepare for elections
next January, Iraq's first free national elections.
Those January elections will elect a national assembly and that assembly will
serve not only as a legislature but it will also write Iraq's permanent
That constitution, the first written by Iraqis and approved by a national
referendum, will serve as the basis for Iraq's future governments. The
constitution will embrace individual rights for all and equal treatment before
the law. It will do so because the Iraqi people will accept no less.
But the difficulties and sufferings of the people of the middle Euphrates region
cannot continue until then. The Iraqi authorities and the coalition are
cooperating to reaffirm the rule of law and to restore order to the middle
Euphrates area. To further that cooperation, I'm naming Adnan al-Zurufi as
governor of Najaf.
Governor Zurufi, a member of the Bani Hassan tribe, earned a degree in Islamic
law at Alfik (ph) College, the Islamic jurisprudence college, in Najaf. He is
the right man for the job at this time. A sports hero as a youth, Governor
Zurufi showed his love of justice as the head of an anti-Saddam student
organization. This led to his imprisonment and escape from Saddam's jails. He
participated in the
1991 Iraq intifada and was eventually forced into exile. He returned to Najaf in
April last year.
Governor Zurufi's attachment to Najaf and his proven willingness to fight for
justice will serve the people well as he administers the government.
The contrast between Governor Zurufi's love of justice and the behavior of
another individual in the middle Euphrates could not be more stark. Over the
past few months, one man and armed elements under his control have spread
lawlessness, fear and economic paralysis, especially in Najaf and Karbala.
These lawless elements, who attempt to advance the interests of one group at the
expense of everyone else, have engaged in armed attacks. They have occupied and
looted public and private property by force of arms. These armed bands have
fired mortars from the courtyard of the mosque in Kufa. They have stored arms
and munitions in the mosques of Iraq's holy cities. They have operated outside
the rule of law by conducting their own courts and prisons.
This must stop.
The people of the middle Euphrates are eager for a return to normal life and
they're going to have it. There is no room in the new Iraq for the kind of
lawless, self-interested behavior we have seen over recent weeks.
The coalition is providing the civil authorities, the Iraqi police and the Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps with the authority and resources necessary to restore
security and revive the regional economy.
Additionally, we want to work with local authorities to establish zones in and
around the holy shrines where only licensed weapons are carried by specially
No individual is above the law.
No group is beyond the law. That is why we encourage Najaf's community leaders
to come forth with proposals to bring matters to a reasoned and just resolution.
Establishment of lawful tranquility requires Sayyid Muqtada and his armed
followers no more and no less than what is required of all citizens. First,
Sayyid Muqtada must face Iraqi justice for the crime of which he has been
accused. And second, his armed followers must disarm, as must the members of all
The people of the middle Euphrates have asked the coalition for help, and we
will provide it. We will do all we can, but only Iraqis can provide the
leadership necessary to reinstate and maintain the rule of law.
The governorate of Najaf must have a strong Iraqi administrator. Governor Zurufi
is such a man. He is a committed and courageous supporter of democracy and law
and order, and I am pleased to name him as the new governor of Najaf.
Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Zurufi.