(Note: Due to bad audio from the source, this transcript contains numerous inaudible sections.)
MR. SENOR: (In progress) -- in which we outline the five steps going forward, the five phases, if you will, five-step plan, for Iraq, which are -- include handing over sovereignty on June 30th to the interim government, continuing to train, equip -- recruit, train and equip Iraqis who serve on the front lines to secure their own country and make again greater contributions to defend against the significant terror threat that will be here after June 30th; continuing to build on our successes in reconstruction of Iraq's civil infrastructure; continuing to broaden international support in all its forms; and continuing to work with Iraq as they go on a path towards establishing representative government with elections scheduled for 2005.
And obviously right now we're in a phase where Ambassador Bremer is working closely with the recently announced interim government to get them on track for that June 30th handover. And already there have been a number of ministries that have been handed over; already Iraqis are assuming authority in a number of areas. We're spending almost every day meeting with various ministers, meeting with the prime minister, helping them prepare as they pursue this very critical phase in the five-step to hand over sovereignty. And that would continue right up till we depart.
Secondly, a number of you have asked questions about the status of the U.S. mission or the U.S. Embassy, where things stand with regard to building out the foreign mission, the U.S. mission. And I just wanted to -- there've been a number of briefings in Washington that have not been here. I just wanted to give a few pieces of information. If you have further questions, I can answer them.
By June 30th the Department of State will have on the ground almost half of all those who will be staying on for permanent positions. Permanent positions for the embassy are one-year assignments. Those would be the critical positions, and then obviously they will build out immediately after June 30th from the other positions.
From the senior level positions, in addition to Ambassador Negroponte who you're familiar with, include Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, who will be the deputy chief of mission who right now is deployed to help with the transition, but most recently served in Albania. Ambassador Ron Neumann, who is the U.S. ambassador to Bahrain. He will be the political-military chief here. He's also been in Iraq. He took time off from Bahrain to help serve here and help assist the CPA and Ambassador Bremer on political transition matters, and he will continue on in the new embassy as the political-military chief. Ambassador Steve Browning of Malawi will be here as the management minister counselor. Robert Ford from Albania will be the political counselor. He's regarded as one of the best Arabists in the State Department, and is a Turkish speaker.
As for the mid-level ranks within the embassy, there are approximately -- there's some 140 positions -- over 200 volunteers competing for those assignments. In addition, there are identified 35 positions that will open up to cover regional outreach throughout the country.
Between -- we estimated for these numbers -- a number of you have asked for specific numbers -- between 900 and 1,000 flown-in Americans will be under chief of mission authority in the new embassy. And there will be others who will be on 90-day special projects. There will be 600 or 700 Foreign Service Nationals. That number will likely grow to a ratio that's more representative of, more typical of the ratio of Foreign Service Nationals to flown-in positions at other missions.
As for the regional outreach throughout the country, there will be four regional hubs reporting through the embassy. There will be one in Mosul, one in Kirkuk, one in Hillah and one in Basra. There will be five smaller regional teams working directly with the military units in multiple communities. And the embassy in Baghdad will work with the provincial government and the municipal government in Baghdad. The regional hubs will operate like constituent posts of embassies overseas, yeah and they will report back to the embassy. For the time being they will not operate like consulates. They will be hubs. And, again, I am happy to answer questions. We will be providing more briefings on this -- some are background -- over the next couple of weeks to address the number of questions you've had as we move forward with the transition.
So, General Kimmitt.
GEN. KIMMITT: Good afternoon. The coalition and Iraqi security forces continue security and stability operations in Iraq in order to repair infrastructure, stimulate the economy and transfer the sovereignty to the people of Iraq.
To that end, in the past 24 hours, the coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 1,900 patrols, 20 offensive operations, 29 Air Force and Navy sorties, captured 39 anti-Iraqi elements and released 10 detainees. The next detainee release from Abu Ghraib is scheduled for 14 June when 650 detainees are scheduled to be released.
One hundred Iraqi police officers from Baghdad are en route to Kirkush military training base, where they will receive special training in urban warfare. Additionally, $24 million in contracts have been submitted to recruit six additional 400-man public order battalions as part of the Iraqi Police Service civil intervention force. With these additions, the Iraqi Police Service civil intervention force will total nine public order battalions and two counterinsurgency battalions.
In the north-central zone of operations, two coalition soldiers were wounded by an improvised explosive device near Kufa this morning. The soldiers were evacuated to a coalition medical facility.
In Baghdad, a stationary VBIED struck a coalition convoy in southern Baghdad, wounding three U.S. soldiers. Coalition forces apprehended an individual seen running from the vehicle, carrying his cell phone with him. The VBIED was a gray Mercedes with 30 pounds of explosives and either four or five 125-millimeters projectiles inside, detonated by a remote devices, suspected to be a cell phone.
This morning, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search of the Sadr Bureau Bunker en Sadr City. En route the objective coalition forces were attacked by several IEDs and RPG fire. There were no injuries to coalition forces, and one vehicle was damaged.
On 7 June, coalition forces took two Turkish and two Iraqi civilians into custody after they and their vehicle tested positive for explosive residue at a CPA checkpoint nearby. All four stated they were working as part of a news team on their way to an interview. While conducting a security inspection of the vehicle, coalition dog units spotted the presence of explosive residue coming from the rear panel of the van near the fuel tank. A total of three separate positive hits were registered by the team at the same location. Further, three of the four personnel were also tested positive for explosive residue by coalition units. After questioning, all four individuals were released on 11 June, after it was determined they were no longer a security threat.
In the central-south zone of operations, a group of 25 personnel attacked the Ali Ustiya (ph) Iraqi police station yesterday, utilizing six to eight trucks, small arms and improvised explosive devices. They drove up to the front of the IP station, got out of their car and fired several warning shots into the air. Police officers at the station fled, and the attackers went into the station, stole three AK-47s, a pistol, one TV, one satellite receiver and one air conditioner. They did not break into the vault where weapons and body armor were kept. Upon departing, they placed a home-made IED consisting of two 152-millimeter explosives -- excuse me, artillery rounds -- and an unknown amount of plastic explosives inside the station. The explosion destroyed about one-third of the police station.
Task Force 1st Armored Division continues operations to successfully isolate Sadr and his militia in Najaf, through rewards and rebuilding -- (inaudible) -- Additionally, the Iraqi Police Service is actively (weeding ?) the remnants and militia inside the city of Najaf.
The weapons reward program is still ongoing in Najaf with relative success. To date, 48 mortars, 877 AK-47s, 223 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 774 RPG rounds, 1,830 mortar rounds have been turned in. And approximately $350,000 has been paid out to the citizens who support this program.
MR. SENOR: And with that we will be happy to take your questions. Yes?
Q You said that you released these four people who were suspected of coming into the compound to -- posing as a news team, is that correct?
GEN. KIMMITT: That's correct.
Q (Inaudible) -- that they are still a threat, if they were trying to get into this establishment posing as a news team.
GEN. KIMMITT: They had press credentials. There was some concern about the press credentials that they were carrying, but after further investigation their credentials were substantiated. Their employment with the news organization was substantiated. And as some of the other questionable documents they had were investigated, reasonable explanations came up with discrepancies. It was determined that these persons were not a threat; hence, they were released.
Q One follow up. You had explosive residue on the car around the fuel tank you said. I understand that you went back to the hotel and checked their room and there were some explosives found there. Is that correct?
GEN. KIMMITT: That's not correct.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (In Arabic not translated.)
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question, that was the incident we just referred to. It was actually two Iraqi citizens who were picked up with explosive residue on their vehicle, and three of the four persons had detection for explosive residue on their persons. Again, these were -- there were some questionable documents. They also had some questionable airline tickets. Once those questions were resolved, those persons had satisfactory explanation for the purpose and their reason for being in this area -- in fact, it did not happen at the CPA, it happened right here in the vicinity of Al Rashid. And once the people and their organizations gave satisfactory answers to all the questions we had, the persons were released.
On your second question, it is not the intention of the coalition to release imminent threats to the security of Iraq prior to June 30th. UNCR 1589 was quite explicit that we retain the authority to detain persons. We understand that we are going to be talking with the interim Iraqi government on the procedures after they are detained, but there is still a clear responsibility, in fact an obligation on the part of those who provide security for this country to ensure that we do not release imminent threats of security of Iraq in public streets.
Q This is regarding the assassination of the deputy foreign minister today. Could you comment on what kind of security someone in his position would have, and who provides that security?
MR. SENOR: I hope you understand -- and these issues have come up in the past -- we are reluctant to provide a great deal of detail to the press on the nature or structure of security for Iraqi government officials, precisely because those who are seeking to assassinate Iraqi government officials seek that information.
I could tell you that the coalition does one of two things -- provides one of two things for Iraqi officials, depending on the officials. We either provide security ourselves or we provide training and funding for security for the Iraqi officials who administer security of the respective ministries, to administer security. I don't want to specify case by case. I hope you understand we don't want to be tipping our hand to those terrorists who are trying to assassinate these individuals -- which individual is eligible for what kind of funding or what type of training. But at the minimum we provide funding and training to a number of these government officials.
Now, it is often up to them as to the extent to which they want their security forces to participate in the training we provide. We obviously encourage it. We obviously would defer to the official themselves if they want to -- choose to establish security or security training through another way. But I will add that security for these Iraqi government officials is a very -- (inaudible) -- coalition, and while there have been some tragedies over the last few weeks which have been simply awful, it's important to recognize that a number of tragedies have been averted, and it's in part because of the work the coalition has done, but also in large measure the work of Iraqi security forces and other security forces assigned to these officials, or those who are just involved, Iraqis in official positions in the Iraqi national security services.
Q I'm just (trying ?) to get a sense of the total -- (off mike) -- Iraqi people. And there were sources who said it was a quick-reaction force that's being organized to identify -- (off mike) -- do damage, respond to that attack, and -- (off mike). Can you say anything about the state of those plans? Who will lead that force, if it is indeed in the works, and something about the scale?
MR. SENOR: Let me say this -- and for similar reasons I don't want to get into great detail -- as the question I got just a moment ago, we obviously don't want to indicate our plans at a great level of detail and -- (inaudible) -- as to how we are going to protect against these attacks. Those organizing these attacks obviously want that information.
But let me just tell you what our experience has been over the past here. About a year ago, we experienced significant attacks against Iraq's electrical infrastructure, its oil infrastructure, and this was at a time when there was virtually no security -- there were no security forces guarding this critical infrastructure, and this infrastructure was very vulnerable, very brittle with regard to these attacks, and it contributed to a second problem that there was no redundancy for these systems, which made it very susceptible to breakdowns across the country when one isolated area was attacked.
So we built up an Iraqi security force and Facilities Protection Service, which is -- can't give you exact numbers, but it's some 15,- or 20,000 Iraqi security personnel guarding this infrastructure. We did that in line with applying substantial funding to reconstructing much of this infrastructure building a redundancy -- there was virtually no redundancy in this infrastructure when we arrived here. Saddam Hussein just didn't invest in critical infrastructure.
So a combination of investing in redundancy and providing security services along the critical infrastructure, resulted in two things. One, the marginal risk for the terrorists to engage in these attacks went up, because they knew -- they learned quickly that when you engage in these attacks the likelihood of being confronted, possibly killed if you engage in these attacks went up. And the marginal benefit of a successful attack in the eyes of these terrorists went down, because with redundancy built in it was harder to make the kind of impact that they were seeking because we of course invested in the infrastructure.
So what are they doing now? They are engaged in more spectacular attacks, larger attacks, to try to overcome or persevere over the defense mechanisms that we've put in place. They were working -- and, again, I don't want to get into specifics of what we are doing to address that, what the Iraqi -- what Prime Minister Allawi has planned -- I certainly would let him speak, if he's comfortable speaking about his plans. But, needless to say, we've recognized the problem, we've already addressed it. The attacks against critical infrastructure went way down. The impact of remaining attacks went way down. And now we have a new kind of attack. And we'll help the Iraqis to address that as well.
GEN. KIMMITT: And what's so disheartening about these attacks is these are clear demonstrations on the part of terrorists that they are attacking the people of Iraq. It is not the multinational forces that will suffer if you will stop the electricity grids, or if there are any mile-long gas lines. These are clearly attacks against the Iraqi people. It's the long-standing policy of terrorists to try to intimidate, to try to frustrate, to try to isolate the people of Iraq. And it's very, very important in our mind the people of Iraq clearly understand what's going on here, and they understand if they band together to clearly reject the terrorists as they try to separate the people of Iraq from the interim Iraqi government or from the coalition forces.
Q I wonder whether you could tell me something about the military's plans after the 1st of July? In other words, what roles will you conduct from -- whether you'll -- what you can tell us about your physical plans and that sort of thing? If you can't fill it in right now, to a large extent, when do you think those things may crystallize?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, I think we can fill them in now. The U.N. Security Council resolution was a clear mandate and authority for us to continue to operate inside Iraq. The letter provided by Prime Minister Allawi was clear and indicated that the people of Iraq want to continue to have multinational forces operate inside of Iraq in partnership with the Iraqi security forces -- no longer as occupiers but now as a partnership.
What we are going to do different is very, very -- what should be -- not much different -- I don't think you're going to see much difference on July 15th than you saw on January 15th. We still have responsibility, in cooperation and partnership with our Iraqi security partners to make a safe and secure environment, a safe and secure environment here in Iraq. We will not be pulling out of the cities. We will not be relocating. We certainly would like to see more and more Iraqi security forces at the lead. But it is important that the people of Iraq understand that the clear message from the United Nations Security Council resolution and from the prime minister-designate of Iraq, for the choice to continue, the presence of the multinational forces, be in partnership with the Iraqi security forces. So we do not see that as either a catalyst or a requirement to significantly change our operations, our locations or our patterns.
Q But, general, -- (inaudible) -- will change? Not whether you are going to lay it out now with some target dates, or are you going to have to feel your way?
GEN. KIMMITT: We're not going to feel our way. We have talked for months and months about the concept of local control. Our end state, our exit strategy from Iraq: Are credible, capable Iraqi security forces capable of providing for the defense of their nation -- internal and external security? That clearly is the best way or the quickest way for the coalition forces to withdraw from Iraq. That means what we need to do is continue our process of manning, training, equipping the Iraqi security forces to take on the responsibility. That means we continue to work with the Iraqi security forces in partnership, so that they can take over more of the responsibilities, we can take over less of the responsibilities. That is done by conditions and not by the calendar. As we talk about local control, we're talking about when the conditions on the ground, which we typically talk about being credible Iraqi control over a city -- the mayor, the police chief -- when those are present, when the tactical situation permits, when the end of this situation permits, we are ready to withdraw and turn this completely over to the Iraqi security forces. But that's a conditions-based -- those conditions need to be met before we preemptively withdraw and facilitate or create a security vacuum. We're not going to let that happen. But nor are we going to stay another day longer than necessary.
MR. SENOR: Ed.
Q Ed Wong from the New York Times. The governor of Najaf said today that he was going to allow some of the police down there to arm themselves with some heavier weapons such as RPGs. And I know that some of the urban anti-terrorist groups that are training are to be trained to fire RPGs. So I'm just wondering if basically to what extent will heavier weapons be allowed to be used by police or some domestic Iraqi security forces outside of the army to combat whatever insurgent forces are out there?
GEN. KIMMITT: I think that's clearly a choice for the governor of Najaf to make. If he believes that his police forces down there in the conduct of their public security role need to be -- have heavier weapon sets, that's a choice for the Iraqi to make. That's a choice for the Iraqi government to make.
MR. SENOR: I would just add that on the situation in Najaf -- I went through the five steps the president addressed in his speech regarding Iraq. His first two, transition of authority on June 30th and increasing Iraqi responsibility for security. What we are seeing down in Najaf is Iraqis already embracing those two steps the president spoke about. You are seeing Iraqis solving problems among themselves and Iraqis assuming the leadership to solve problems themselves. The governor of Najaf has played a critical role in the situation down there, certainly asserting his leadership, Iraqi leadership in the situation (in the south ?).
The discussions that began between Muqtada al-Sadr and the Shi'a House or Shi'a Conference were at the initiation of the Iraqis, not of the coalition. And certainly the Iraqi police have been playing an instrumental role in the situation with the militia down there over the last few days, and with regard to the president's second step, about the Iraqi security forces playing an increasing role. So as we move forward here, many parts of the country where there have been some crises in the past, and where realistically there will be problems in the future, it is encouraging to see the signs of Iraqis assuming positions of authority, assuming positions of leadership, assuming roles of problem-solving among themselves, and playing an increasing role in their own security.
Q (Off mike) -- if you will allow me two questions. One is -- (inaudible) -- some of the attackers this morning have been arrested -- (inaudible) -- assassinated the deputy foreign minister? And secondly, on Fallujah -- (off mike) -- Fallujah situation is completely out of control of the situation, and also the noble sheiks cannot do anything. So, could you tell us something, what's going on inside Fallujah and what is in this regard the terror threat? Has it decreased? Has it increased? What is going on? Thank you.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, on your first question regarding the assassination or the -- (inaudible) -- assassination, I don't have any details. The Iraqi police may have details whether they picked anybody up in that.
The Fallujah Brigade, the situation in Fallujah -- if you take a look at the ledger right now, there are positives and negatives in terms of what's going on in Fallujah right now. There's been one military incident since May 3rd that involved gunfire. In fact, didn't even involve gunfire -- it involved a couple of mortar rounds -- (inaudible).
So since May 3rd it has been generally quiet in Fallujah. The Fallujah Brigade is operating inside the city and it's generally quiescent. It's quiet. There's haven't been any major incidents.
On the other side of the ledger, on the negative side of the ledger, we have clearly articulated the coalition objectives include Iraqi control back in the city, foreign fighters out, heavy weapons out, those responsible for the attacks on the Iraqi police station on the 14th of February and those responsible for the attack on the American contractors, the brutal murder and the dismemberment of the contractors be turned over to Iraqi justice.
We are not satisfied that we are making adequate progress in the latter. We are not satisfied that there has been progress on any of those objectives, with the exception of having an Iraqi presence back in Sadr City. On the other hand, you need to balance that off against the fact that we have not had to resort to a force of arms to move the process forward.
We can sit here and judge whether it's moving fast enough, not fast enough, too fast or too slow, but we're carefully watching Fallujah. We are certainly intending to try to accelerate the process through peaceful discussions rather than through military discussions. So, it's sort of a mixed report card, a mixed ledger right now, in Fallujah. It is quiescent, it is quiet, somewhat peaceful, but there's still a long way to go in Fallujah before the coalition and for that matter before the Iraqi government can be satisfied that we have brought Fallujah to resolution -- resolution defined as those objectives of frankly taking Fallujah and letting them enjoy parts, and significant parts, of the billions of dollars that have been provided for the reconstruction of this country.
Q (In Arabic, not translated.)
GEN. KIMMITT: That's the nature of partnership. The nature of partnership is that one side certainly enjoys its own privileges which it worked to get. The Iraqi government will not command the multinational forces. No, nor will the multinational forces command Iraqi security forces. We are setting up the modalities or setting up the organizations by which we can operate together to provide jointly and through partnership a safe and secure environment here in Iraq. We are doing many things already with the Iraqi security forces who have been operating for long periods of time with the Iraqi police, the Iraqi -- (inaudible) --
We are now starting more engagement and partnership at the senior levels at the Ministry of Defense, the Iraqi armed forces -- troop visits out to the different MNDs , as well as talks between the Iraqi leadership and the multinational forces leadership. We are going to set into place our capability to share data such as operational data, to share intelligence data, so that we have somewhat of a common vision between the overlapping and the separate operations as well. So in terms of what we are trying to keep -- it's quite simple -- you have the multinational forces and the Iraqi security forces working in a partnership, together for a common objective, which is seeking security of Iraq. We are absolutely convinced that the procedures that we are setting up, the organizations we are setting up, the liaison that we're exchanging essentially (celebrate ?) so that we will be able to do this with very, very little difficulty. It's important to understand that the coalition right operates with 30 different nations, 30 different military organizations working together. And so we understand within the multinational forces how to operate with other countries. And this is different because this is Iraq, it's a civil, sovereign nation. That's exactly right. But the United Nations command in Korea operates every day with the sovereign nation of Korea. We know how to do it there and we've been doing it for many years. So we're very, very -- we're quite convinced that this will be easy -- modification of easy adaptation so that tomorrow the partnership is more -- (inaudible) -- but it's also practiced as well.
Q (In Arabic -- not translated.)
MR. SENOR: Let me be clear: Iraqis will have full, complete and total sovereignty on June 30th. Iraqis will control their natural resources, such as oil. Iraqis will be drafting their budget for 2005. Not the coalition. Iraqis will be in control of their foreign policy. Iraqis will be in control of their defense infrastructure, in charge of their security services. Iraqi government will be in control of all these areas and all the others that one associates with government authority, executive authority, following June 30th.
Most importantly, Iraqis will be in a position to hold fellow Iraqis accountable for the decisions of their government. It will be Iraqi officials standing up here giving press conferences and answering your questions about the decisions they're making to run your country -- not coalition officials. In fact, it's already begun. You know, Prime Minister Allawi speaks to the press on almost a daily basis. He says his ministers will start to do the same too. They have already begun the process by which they are being responsive to the Iraqi people. And that will transition in totality on June 30th, when you'll only be hearing from Iraqi governing officials about the management and the day-to-day operations of their country, about the long-term agenda for their country. All that will be addressed by Iraqi officials. And, as I say, you will be able to hold Iraqis accountable as I said, and the day-to-day exchanges like the ones we have here, press conferences, and their views -- (inaudible) -- but also in January of 2005 when Iraq holds its first direct elections -- first in its history, really first in the last 35 years, and probably one of the only of its kind in this part of the world. So Iraqis will know full well that they have complete sovereignty and they have an opportunity to participate in all sorts of these activities that will really commence with a great deal of momentum in the weeks ahead.
Q (In Arabic -- not translated.)
MR. SENOR: Sure, yeah. Well, these are issues that will be worked out between the United States government and the Iraqi interim government. And these issues are worked out in any bilateral government in which the United States government has a mission on the ground in Iraq. So of course the United States government will need property to house its embassy. This will be one of the largest missions in the world, as the United States government has said, to include U.S. permanent officials as well as Foreign Service Nationals, about 1,600 or 1,700 people working here in the embassy or out throughout the country. There will be a USAID mission -- probably one of the largest in the world. The United States government has been -- (inaudible) --
Now, the character of our engagements will change after June 30th. The commitment, the actual commitment of our engagement will not change, and a substantial commitment, requiring substantial resources to execute --billions and billions of dollars -- at work here. So we're going to need the requisite property, facilities, in order to continue to have a relationship with Iraq in a way that is both supporting and bilateral. And it's going to be an area that's sufficient secure. We expect the security to be greater earlier on than later on.
And so we will work these issues out with the interim government. The Iraqi interim government has issues as well, and ensuring that the U.S. government is in a position to operate here and is certainly in a position to continue to operate.
GEN. KIMMITT: On the second question, on June 30th Iraqis will be in control. Today you are free, it is democratic. On June 30th it will be sovereign. There are some people who will not like that. There are some people who will out and hunting to test the new Iraqi government, sovereign Iraqi government, to see how durable it is and how capable it is. We would expect that those who are trying to separate the people of Iraq from the Coalition Provisional Authority now and the coalition forces, will try to separate and intimidate the people of Iraq not to trust the new Iraqi government. They will probably attempt to through their actions demonstrate that the Iraqi government is incapable of looking out for the best interests of their people. So we fully expect that the security requirements, as Mr. Senor said, will continue for a certain period of time. We would absolutely hope that on July 1st the terrorists and the former regime elements -- those who do not want to see this country achieve democracy, freedom and sovereignty -- those who would prefer totalitarian extremism -- would certainly hope they would accept the fact that the people of Iraq have spoken. We certainly hope that they would accept the fact that there's no turning the clock back to totalitarianism or to extremism. But we've also got to prepare for their dying gasps, for their attempts to try to derail the process of the Iraqi interim government to succeed and to take you to full democracy. And the Iraqi security forces, in partnership with the coalition forces, now the multinational forces, will continue to provide the backdrop for a safe and secure environment to see you through that time. Thank you.
Q (In Arabic -- not translated.)
MR. SENOR: To your first question -- and I'll let General Kimmitt -- (inaudible) -- question -- the agreement, the U.N. Security Council resolution -- (inaudible) -- moment ago how it manifests itself in terms of the partnership, the relations between coalition forces, multinational forces, and the Iraqi forces. If there is a change in the future, I can't discuss or speculate. I don't know if there will be a change in the future -- (inaudible) -- pass this resolution, and let's let this process kind of play itself out. But our understanding based on the resolution and the annex to the resolution include the letter exchange between Prime Minister Allawi and Secretary Powell as a real mutual understanding about this partnership, as General Kimmitt has spoken to, about the need for multinational forces and support (for after ?) June 30th -- (inaudible) -- terror threat here. Iraqis to play a role in securing their own country, as it is in the interests of the United States government for Iraqis to play a role in securing their own country.
GEN. KIMMITT: As to your first question, the cordon and searches you were referring to, those cordons and searches in Najaf are actually being conducted by the Iraqi police service. Over the past few days, there were some resurgence of violence down in Najaf, it was a compliment to the governor of Najaf that although some had called up and said that we need coalition forces assistance, he said, No, we can take care of this problem ourselves. Coalition forces did not participate in those operations. They stood ready at their base camps nearby if it turned into an emergency situation. But as we have seen over the past couple of days, the police were quite capable of handling the problem, and it's going to -- (inaudible) -- . Last question.
Q General, you seem to be disappointed in Fallujah. Detailed reports that insurgents are ruining many parts of the city. Do you reserve the right to roll into Fallujah again if your demands are not met? And also this question applies to Muqtada al-Sadr, if he threatens your forces -- or do you need the green light from the new Iraqi government?
GEN. KIMMITT: The -- first of all, I don't want to engage in a hypothetical about what we might do or might not do. We retain the right to use any military option necessary proportional with our rules of engagement to solve a problem in Fallujah. However, it remains our preference that this is not solved through military means but through peaceful dialogue. There is some work to do in Fallujah. To suggest that we are satisfied with the progress thus far in Fallujah would be mistaken. We've got work to do in Fallujah. We've got to take a peaceful track, a political track, a diplomatic track, to see if we can solve this. But we also have the military track if necessary.
MR. SENOR: Thank you, everybody.
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