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Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing

Presenters: Daniel Senor, Coalition Senior Adviser; and Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Director of Operations
April 26, 2004 9:40 PM EDT
Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing

            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.

 

            General Kimmitt.

 

            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 suspects.

 

            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 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 towards 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 noticed 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.

 

            (Begin video.)

 

            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.

 

            (Video continues.)

 

            As you notice, that we are working side by side with both coalition forces and the Iraqi Civil Defense.  Here are 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. 

 

(Video continues.)

 

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.

 

            (End video.)

 

            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 explosions occurred.

 

            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 destabilize.

 

            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 Iraqis.

 

            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 Kimmitt.

 

            Mr. Dan Senor, if the policy, as it says, is – if it 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 return fire.

 

            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 walking 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 Marine Corps.

 

            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 fighting force.

 

            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.

 

            Yes.

 

            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.

 

            Yes?

 

            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 us.

 

            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.

 

            Yes?

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  Have you took preparations for joint patrols in the 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?

 

            Thank you.

 

            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 Fallujah.

 

            It could start as early as tomorrow.

 

           

                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 schools?

 

            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 day, 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 stockpile weapons.

 

            Patrick.

 

            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 imagines.

 

            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 areas.

 

            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…was Ambassador Bremer's statement directed toward those moderate clerics?

 

            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.

 

            Yes?

 

            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 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 policeman, every Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldier, every coalition soldier should consider themselves part of the fight against terrorism.

 

            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 against terrorism.

 

            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 explosion?

 

            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, government buildings.

 

            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.

 

            Yes?

 

            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.

 

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