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Coalition Leaders Welcome Iraqi Governing Council Policy

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2004 – The Iraqi Governing Council's announcement of its new "de-Baathification" policies and procedures Jan. 11 was welcomed by the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, coalition spokesman Dan Senor said at a briefing in Baghdad today.

The Baath Party also known by its formal name, the Baath Arab Socialist Party -- is the political party of Saddam Hussein.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III signed the first de-Baathification decree May 16 and delegated authority to the governing council Nov. 4, said Senor. "Ambassador Bremer said the governing council now has full command of de-Baathification," said Senor. "The policy is appropriately tough on senior-level Baathists. It strikes a balance between being tough on senior-level Baathists while it also allows reintegration of nominal Baathists into society. (And it does so) with a sense of dignity and with an effort to ease the poverty and desperation that many nominal Baathists have faced since their dismissal."

Senor noted Bremer has said that de-Baathification should be a policy implemented and managed by Iraqi people. "This signifies another important step in the transition of authority overall to the Iraqi people, which will culminate on June 30 with the handover of sovereignty," he added.

At the same press briefing, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Combined Joint Task Force 7, provided an update of operational activities in Iraq.

There were an average of 17 engagements daily over the past week against coalition military forces, said the general.

The coalition, noted Kimmitt, remains offensively oriented to kill or capture anti-coalition elements and enemies of Iraqi people and to establish a safe and secure environment.

In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 1,768 patrols, 24 offensive operations and 32 raids. This resulted in the capture of 114 anti-coalition suspects.

This included 192 patrols and four cordon-and-search operations in the northern zone. Fourteen individuals were detained.

Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers were attacked just north of an airfield in Mosul today, said Kimmitt. The ICDC guards returned fire, and the enemy broke contact. A search of the buildings where the fire originated resulted in the capture of four individuals.

Coalition forces also conduced three cordon-and-knock operations in Mosul, he said. These operations detained six people, including the suspected leader of a former regime element, the "Missing Shadow" group.

Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company completed a 48-kilometer cable project from Mosul to Dahuk, said Kimmitt. It's the first wide-area high-speed intercity public access connection in the north, said the general. "It will provide increased capacity for the telephone system and eventually be used for a high- speed data network to connect banks, airports, hospitals, universities and government agencies."

In the north central zone, coalition forces conducted 155 patrols and five raids, and captured 43 individuals, said Kimmitt.

In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi forces conduced four offensive operations. Thirty-three enemy personnel were captured during 473 patrols. Coalition forces continue to work with ICDC soldiers, he said. They conducted a cordon-and- search operation in the area, which included 500 vehicles and 250 houses "to disrupt enemy activities and safe-haven operations," said Kimmitt. It resulted in the capture of 23 personnel.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health will fund construction of about 270 clinics in Iraq. About 15 to 20 percent of them will be in Baghdad, said the general.

In the western zone, the coalition conducted 195 patrols, captured 18 individuals and denied entry to 105 persons at the border. In the central-south area of operations, coalition forces also detained and deported 151 illegal persons to Iran for illegal border crossing.

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