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Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing

Presenters: Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Director for Coalition Operations, Dan Senor, Senior Advisor, CPA
April 22, 2004 10:00 AM EDT
Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing

            MR. SENOR:  Good afternoon.  Just a couple of quick administrative items, and then General Kimmitt will have an opening statement, then we'll be happy to take your questions.

 

            Ambassador Bremer today handed over another ministry to the Iraqi Cabinet for Iraqi control -- the Ministry of Science and Technology -- with a ceremony held at the ministry building.  He also met with the Iraqi Governing Council earlier today.  He started his day this morning with a meeting with the Iraqi Ministerial Committee on National Security.  And later this afternoon he met with a group of Iraqi teachers, about 30 Iraqi teachers, and that was held here at the Convention Center this afternoon.

 

            Ambassador Richard Jones is en route to Fallujah.  He has been one of the members of the joint Governing Council/coalition delegation that has been negotiating with Fallujan leaders, trying to reach a peaceful resolution there.  He is there to continue discussions and to monitor the situation.

 

            Our message remains to the Fallujan people that heavy weapons, illegal weapons, must be turned over per the agreement reached earlier in the week.  Fallujans must work to remove foreign fighters, drug users, former Mukhabarat, Special Republican Guard, former Fedayeen Saddam, and other serious, dangerous, violent criminals operating out of Fallujah.  And while we continue to be hopeful, based on the intentions of those with whom we have been negotiating and discussing these issues, we do caution that we are in a mode right now of days, not weeks.  Time is running out.  We want to reach a peaceful resolution to the Fallujah situation.

 

            General Kimmitt.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Thanks.

 

            And just to add to that, there was some discussion -- we had heard over numerous press venues the number of heavy weapons that had been turned in over the past 24 to 48 hours.  We'd given you some pictures of what has been turned in.

 

            Over on the far left, those are some rocket-propelled grenade rounds, look pretty good.  But if you look at the labeling on them, they say "inert," which means they were training rounds, certainly not the ones that have been used against coalition soldiers.

 

            Next to them a number of mortar rounds and grenade rounds that obviously have been buried for an extended period of time, certainly not the type that have been used against our Marines in any of the recent engagements.

 

            Same thing for the machine gun on the right that has seen better days.

 

            And that on the far right is the pickup truck that brought most of the quote, unquote, "heavy weapons" in.  And you can see from what was brought in that very few, if any, of those weapons had the slightest capability of being used.  As Mr. Senor said, we're looking for a serious engagement of serious discussions from people that can deliver and not bring in rubbish or trash or junk, but the heavy weapons that have been responsible for the recent engagements in Fallujah.

 

            Overall, the coalition continues offensive and support operations focused on restoration of a stable environment in order to continue the repair of infrastructure, stimulate the economy and pass governance over to the people of Iraq.

 

            In the northern zone, coalition and Iraqi security forces remain active in the Task Force Olympia area of operations.  There were 10 attacks in the past 24 hours, five directed against coalition or Iraqi security forces.

 

            In Mosul, Task Force Olympia conducted a transfer of authority ceremony for the Albanian company, which departed today, having been replaced by another Albanian company.  They departed Iraqi having completed their mission with distinction, and on behalf of the coalition, we appreciate their contributions.

 

            In eastern Mosul last night, drive-by shooters attacked the Bab Shamas (sp) pump station, but there were no injuries or damage to equipment.

 

            In Hammam al Alil, coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search targeting three individuals responsible for attacks on 9 and 10 April. A brigade high-value target and three other primary targets were captured.

 

            On the Syrian border near Rabiya, Iraqi border police detained 12 benzine smugglers.

 

            In the north central zone of operations, enemy activity included 16 attacks, eight of which were directed coalition or Iraqi security forces.

 

            In Samarra, two attacks yesterday were reported, four mortar rounds impacting near the ICD headquarters.  There were no injuries to coalition forces in this attack.  In the second attack, an IED exploded near a coalition force convoy.  Again, no injuries or damage to equipment.

 

            Last night in the 1AD -- 1ID area of operations, coalition forces conducted a series of raids targeting Sadr militia safe houses near Balad.  The raids resulted in the detention of six targeted individuals and 15 other males.

 

            Also last evening, coalition forces identified an illegal checkpoint near Tuz.  The checkpoint was manned by four males brandishing weapons and robbing passing cars.  An aerial weapons team moved to the area to investigate and the criminals attempted to flee and they were engaged by the aerial weapons team.  A combat patrol sent to investigate counted three individuals killed.  The surviving male attempted to engage the combat patrol with small arms fire and was subsequently killed in a firefight, which wounded one U.S. soldier.  The patrol seized 20 hand grenades, a jeep with four 155 mm rounds, fuses and one rocket-propelled grenade launcher with three rounds.  The wounded soldier was evacuated for treatment where he is stable condition.

 

            In Baghdad the 1st Cavalry experienced 16 attacks, of which 12 were directed against coalition or Iraqi security forces.  Task Force Baghdad captured 18 suspected enemy and confiscated significant amounts of weapons and ammunition over the past 24 hours.

 

 

            Coalition forces executed Operation Lancer Lightning in Sadr City, a coordinated cordon and search of several Sadr militia strongholds.  The operations resulted in the detention of five suspects with no injuries or damage to coalition personnel.

 

            This morning coalition forces conducted a raid near Al Duluiyah. The target of the raids were suspected of an RPG attack on an ICDC commander on the 20th of April and the raid resulted in 12 personnel detained.

 

            In the western zone of operations, coalition forces experienced three attacks against Iraqi and coalition security forces out of a total of six attacks in the past 24 hours.  We continue to see anti- coalition forces fighting from fortified positions, misusing mosques as weapons storage sites and using mosques also as command-and-control nodes.

 

            In Fallujah there were two reports of hostile fire in the past 24 hours.  Yesterday morning enemy forces attacked the Marines twice in northwest Fallujah in a well-documented incident.  The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force continues aggressive patrols and offensive operations outside of Fallujah, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Fallujah.  Movement of humanitarian assistance in and out of Fallujah was halted for several hours yesterday because of attacks on coalition forces.  Forces will continue to maintain the cordon around Fallujah and are prepared to resume offensive operations on order, and continue to encourage the return of local ICDC and police.

 

            In the central-south zone of operations, there were a total of 11 attacks, nine targeting coalition or Iraqi security forces.  Coalition forces continue Operation Iron Saber, executing intelligence-based operations and MSR security in the region south of Baghdad, reconnaissance operations to develop intelligence on the location of Sadr militia leaders, as well as the identification of local leadership, sheikhs and imams for engagement.

 

            In al Kut, coalition forces conducted three cordon-and-search operations in order to capture an individual suspected of being a Sadr militia cell leader and weapons dealer.  The unit captured the target as well as five additional personnel.

 

            In the southeastern zone of operations, the current situation remains stable, with seven attacks, five attacks which were directed against coalition or Iraqi security forces.  There were three attacks against Iraqi police and coalition forces yesterday in Basra.  The southeastern zone of operations in the past 36 hours has been dominated by consequence management following the VBIED attacks in Basra.

 

            Today an ICDC checkpoint was attacked by a drive-by shooting. The ICDC soldiers at the checkpoint returned fire at the attackers, but there were no casualties as a result of the attack.

 

            MR. SENOR:  And with that, we will be happy to take your questions. Yes, sir?  Go ahead.

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  Ibrahim Hassan (sp), from an organization of Faily Kurds.  A group of families have recommended me to give you a message that is in form of a question, so please be so honest in answering this question.

 

            The helicopters who are flying a low profile in the areas where they are fully populated, in different times and different circumstances, so that also has just scared the children and the innocent people and the families, and also consequently so some of those members of the families have been inflicted and they just were scared, and there have been so many diseases -- psychological diseases, skin diseases also, due to these -- I mean, illegal flying low profile helicopters in those areas.  So they are just seeking for a solution.  If it is possible, please find a solution to save the lives of those people who are -- who were harmed and inflicted with harm because of these actions.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Yeah, number one, the low-profile helicopter flights have a purpose.  It allows our helicopters to fly low and fast.  It allows them to conduct their operations to provide security to the people of Iraq.

 

            Having spent most of my adult life either on or near military posts, married to a woman who teaches in the schools, you often hear the sounds of tank firing.  You often hear the sounds of artillery rounds going off.  And she seems to be quite capable of calming the children and letting them understand that those booms and those bangs that they hear are simply the sounds of freedom.  If you can take this message back in the form of a statement, that if you tell your families and you tell your children and you tell your wives that there is nothing to fear from those helicopters -- in fact, much of the peace you enjoy and the fact that the children can go back to school, the children can go out to play, the children can enjoy a free life -- is because of those soldiers that are inside those helicopters out there, protecting their freedom and protecting their future.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes.

 

            Q     American newspapers are talking about a change in policy, bringing back some of the Ba'athist top-level people because of their skills and so on and so forth.  Can you tell us what is going on?

 

            MR. SENOR:  I think Ambassador Bremer has probably heard from thousands of Iraqis since he's been here on the issue of de- Ba'athification, and what he hears repeatedly from them is how difficult and necessary it is for Iraqis to come to terms with their past.  Part of Iraq freeing itself from its past is getting de- Ba'athification right.  There is no room in the new Iraq for the Ba'athist ideology and for the most senior members of the former regime that had a direct hand in the -- some of the worst Ba'athist crimes and brutality.

 

            So our policy on de-Ba'athification must remain as it is.  It is the right policy for Iraq.  We believe it is.  The Iraqi Governing Council believes that it is.

 

            Its implementation, however, should be reformed.  We have heard complaints from Iraqis that the appeals process, for instance, is sometimes slower in implementation than it was originally designed.  It sometimes excludes innocent, capable people who were Ba'athists in name only from playing a role in reconstructing Iraq. And those are the sorts of people for which there was a process built in to allow exceptions, to allow for appeals.  But the exceptions and appeals process doesn't do anybody any good if it is not expeditious. And so what we are looking at now is a way to implement -- make revisions to the implementation process so the implementation going forward reflects the initial intention of the policy.  But the actual policy in terms of who is de-Ba'athified, what the criteria is, that policy remains intact.  And this will be the -- an issue that Ambassador Bremer is going to address tomorrow night specifically in an address to the nation that he will be delivering on Al-Iraqiyah.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  But in line with that policy and inside that policy, as we continue to grow the Iraqi armed forces from more than just squads and platoons and companies and battalions that need lieutenant colonels, captains and majors, as the organization gets bigger, as the Ministry of Defense is fleshed out, as the Iraqi armed forces Joint Forces Headquarters is established, there is going to be a need for high-ranking officers.  You're going to need generals, you're going to need full colonels, you're going to need senior officers to command and control those organizations.  Obviously, that is not a skill level that you can get in a series of weeks.  It takes 10, 15 years to grow some of our senior sergeants, and even longer to grow senior colonels and generals.  And so it just is a natural consequence that sooner or later there was going to come a time when we would need senior officers.  And there are many senior officers remaining from this country who can meet all of the criteria that had been established in the de-Ba'athification policy, and still have significant amount of contribution to offer the nation of Iraq in the defense structure.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yeah, I would just add, that may be where some of the confusion is coming from.  First of all, the policy isn't changing, we're looking at ways to improve the implementation.  And what General Kimmitt's talking about, which is bringing back senior-level military officials to play a role, it was always -- as he said, it was always expected that we'd have to do that, it was always part of the plan once we built up the command control structure.  But it was always expected that those individuals would be fully vetted, and by no means would have had a direct hand in any of the Ba'athist horrors.  So bringing back generals, a handful of generals, depending on the number, would not be inconsistent with the overall approach to de- Ba'athification.

 

            Yes?  In the back.

 

            Q     Lars Rasmussen (sp), TV2, Denmark.  Recently the body of a Danish businessman was found on the outskirts of Baghdad.  What can you tell us about the circumstances of his death?  And specifically, when was the CPA informed about his death?

 

            MR. SENOR:  I can have someone from our office here provide you details after.  (To the general.)   I don't know if you've got any.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  All of the details that we have are still being provided through the Danish government.  The Danish government has asked that they be the release authority for this information.  And we will certainly defer to any announcements that come out of the Danish government in this case.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, ma'am?

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  Halim Asah (sp), Al Musharka (sp) newspaper.  I have two questions, one for General Kimmitt, and the other is for Mr. Senor.

 

            Regarding the withdrawal of the Spanish forces, regarding the withdrawal of the multinational forces from a lot of regions, will new forces replace these forces that are being withdrawn?

 

            The second question, for Mr. Senor:  Do you have details about the latest operations that took place in Basra and the investigations regarding these operations?  Thank you very much.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  On the issue of the Spanish withdrawal and the other forces that will be withdrawing from Multinational Division Central South over the next weeks and months, we are going through analysis right now to determine the best way to ensure that there will not be a security vacuum with the departure of those forces.

 

            That analysis is being conducted as we speak, and there are a number of options being looked at.  One option would be to use existing forces from elsewhere within the area of operations and put them down in the area of Najaf and Karbala to replace them.  Another option is to use the existing forces remaining; where we currently have three brigades, use two brigades to cover the entire area.  A third option would be to encourage another nation to come in and provide a new contribution to the coalition.  Those options are being weighed and analyzed at this time.  We would expect that those decisions are forthcoming.  We certainly intend to have those decisions in time so that, as the Spanish, Honduran, Dominican Republican -- Dominican Republic and El Salvadoran troops depart, there is not a security gap created before we can get new troops in.

 

            MR. SENOR:  (To Gen. Kimmitt.)  Do you want to finish up with Basra?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  And on the second question, regarding Basra, I think the facts are pretty well known in terms of sadly the number of civilians that were killed and Iraqi police that were killed as well. And particularly horrible and deplorable was the killing of 20 young children right next to one of the car bombs.

 

            Q     Did I hear you right?  Forty?  Four-zero?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Twenty.

 

            And as to who did it, we don't have any information and no group has yet claimed responsibility.  We have no information that directly ties it to any number of groups.  However, if you take a look at the manner in which it was carried out, the technique that was used, the tactics that were used in the attack, it clearly points to a network, a terrorist network, a coordinated terrorist network such as the Zarqawi network, who right now, absent any other evidence, would probably be the number one candidate and the number one group that we would look at as being responsible for the commission of this heinous crime.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes.

 

            Q     Guy Henschel (sp) with CNN.  A couple of questions, if I may.  There have been reports today of a journalist that's been shot in the Adhamiya district and a couple of hostages being released.  Do you have nationalities and the circumstances surrounding these events? And do you also have a confirmed number of civilian casualties from Fallujah from the Ministry of Health?  Thank you.

 

            MR. SENOR:  On the second question, I've heard reports about these numbers from the Ministry of Health.  I don't want to comment on them yet because I haven't seen a final number; I've seen reports of them.  And moreover, I'm not certain of the methodology that was used   to collect them.  I know that getting accurate numbers on civilian casualties -- on any casualties in this situation -- is very difficult, particularly in an environment like Fallujah underwent of recent.  So we're going to take a closer look at those numbers, take a closer look at the methodology.

 

            And on the -- and on the --

 

            (To Gen. Kimmitt.)  Do you have anything on the one casualty? No?

 

            We can check with our folks and see if there's any updated information.  I have no current information on that.

 

            Yes, sir.

 

            Q     Yes, Dan.  What you recognize now as a slowing down of appeals process in the de-Ba'athification, is there a causal nexus with the person who is the chairman of the de-Ba'athification commission, Mr. Chalabi, and who is quite obsessed with that issue? And would you change on that?

 

            And a second question.  Another member of the Chalabi family seems to have been appointed as administration chief of the special tribunal.  Has he been nominated or appointed?  And is it a position which is also considered by Ambassador Bremer?  I mean, does he have still to sign such decisions or countersign such decisions, or is this entirely done by the Governing Council?

 

            MR. SENOR:  First of all, on your first question, look, we are looking for a way to expedite a de-Ba'athification appeals process that was designed by the Governing Council in consultation with the coalition.  We want it to be implemented in the manner in which it was designed.  That is our goal here.  We want to seek a resolution to this process, a solution to this process quickly.  It's not about any personality, it's about getting a solution.  And we hope that everyone involved with de-Ba'athification can play a constructive role in that regard.

 

            To your second question, we believe the steps that the Iraqi special tribunal are taking are positive next steps.  The appointment of judges is obviously something that's important in building up the infrastructure, if you will, the legal infrastructure and the personnel infrastructure necessary to get the Iraqi special tribunal on the path to ultimately being able to handle cases.  Next steps, of course, which we want to take a look at are the rules and procedures they establish for preparation of arraignments and other matters that the special tribunal must move forward on.  But we believe that as Iraq moves toward sovereignty and as the special tribunal begins to put itself in a position to handle these cases, they need to be taking these steps.  They need to do things like appointing judges and putting personnel in place.  So overall, we think the fact that they are making progress is a positive sign.

 

            Yes, sir?

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  General Kimmitt has mentioned something about -- that somebody has been detained, a group of people. They were illegal.  Were those people who were detained foreign fighters?  If they were foreign fighters, what are their nationalities?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  There were a number of people that were detained over the past 24 hours.  I'm not aware that any were foreign fighters. We typically don't find that out until after a day or so of interrogation.  What you may be referring to are the 12 that we caught on the Syrian border.  They were assessed to be benzene smugglers and not, to our knowledge, coming into the country as foreign fighters.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Patrick?

 

            Q     Two questions regarding Fallujah.  One is, how are the leaders of Fallujah, even if they are inclined to get rid of these people at arms there, these insurgents and others, foreign fighters, how are they supposed to do that?  How many of these insurgents do you estimate there are?  And number three, who are these drug users, and what kind of drugs are they using, and what is their role in the insurgency up there?

 

            MR. SENOR:  On your second point -- or your final question -- I'll let General Kimmitt handle the front end -- we have been told by -- our delegation has been told by Fallujan leaders that many of the individuals involved with the violence are on some -- are on various drugs.  It is part of what they're using to keep them up to engage in this violence at all hours.  And the Fallujans leaders, the political and civic leaders with whom we've been talking, have repeatedly expressed this to be a serious problem, that the drug use by those engaged in the violence is something that we need to address.  And so it was based on those recommendations that that was included in the communique, the joint communique.  And it is one of the issues that we want to take on.

 

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  On the issue of the number of fighters inside Fallujah, we've got some very wildly -- a wide range of estimates ranging somewhere -- at the beginning of the fight, somewhere on the order of 1,000 to 2,000.  I don't know if any assessments have been provided since then that would change that number significantly, but that's the number that we're templating at this time.

 

            Q     And how are the leaders supposed to kind of get them out?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  That's called leadership.  Again, they are not expected to get them out, they're expected to get them to the negotiating table, to the discussions, where they go back to these fighters and say:  There's an opportunity for peace.  There's an opportunity here to avoid dragging our wives and our children into this fight.  There's an opportunity here to avoid any more damage to this town as a result of military operations.  This is the deal that is being offered.  What can I tell the coalition?

 

 

            That's called leadership.  And if they can't provide that, and if they can't deliver that, it is clear to us that the fighters in Fallujah understand completely what is going on, what is being offered, and what the linkage is to further military operations, or lack thereof.  So if they can't deliver, then we've got to take a look at some other options, to include the ending of the suspension of offensive operations; in other words, the resumption of offensive operations.

 

            But it is clearly the desire of the coalition at this time that we try to attempt a peaceful resolution to the situation in Fallujah to avoid any further bloodshed, to avoid any further damage, to avoid another fight, which can be avoided if those leaders show leadership and go back and persuade the people that are holding their city hostage that this is the best deal that they're going to get.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Ed.  Welcome back.

 

            Q     Thanks, Dan.

 

            Q     (In Arabic) --

 

            MR. SENOR:  This gentleman right there.  Go ahead.

 

            Q     My question concerns Muqtada al Sadr.  We saw reports that there was a demonstration, an anti-occupation demonstration today down in Basra in reaction to the bombings yesterday where one of Sadr's main aides led several hundred people in a demonstration against the British, saying that they were responsible for the bombings.  It seems from that that even though Muqtada al Sadr is bottled up right now in Najaf, that he can cause a lot of antagonism towards the occupation forces.  And I'm wondering whether you have a clear-cut plan on how to silence this, if that's your intention?

 

            MR. SENOR:  Our objective here is not to silence the expression of free speech, peaceful demonstration, freedom of assembly -- all rights, I might add, that are guaranteed in the Transitional Administrative Law, the interim constitution passed by the Iraqi Governing Council.  These are things that we have worked hard to protect in this country since we arrived.

 

            So I guess, Ed, I would separate that from the Sadr issue, the broader issue of Sadr, the arrest warrant issued to him by an Iraqi investigative judge that wants Sadr tried under Iraqi law in Iraqi courts, he wants him to be detained by Iraqi police -- that's a completely separate issue about whether or not those who may or may not be sympathetic to Sadr are actually exercising their right to free speech and freedom of assembly.  And our policy remains the same on Sadr, and we've communicated this to a number of people, a number of organizations that have approached us about Sadr.  We've addressed it from this podium as well.  The rule of law must prevail in Iraq, period.  End of issue.  Illegal militias must be disbanded.  There is no room for these militias and this mob violence that Muqtada al-Sadr has attempted to organize.  Finally, there is no room for unilaterally taking over government buildings and other government properties. Obviously, those things must be returned.

 

            And so those are the principles that we have articulated here repeatedly, those are the principles we've articulated to anybody who is seeking a peaceful resolution to the issue.  If people want to protest peacefully in favor or against the things we do or others may do, that's a completely separate matter.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  And I would ask you to take a hard look at this notion of exploiting people's grief to make a political statement.  After the Ashura bombings, coalition forces were swept up in some instances by people expressing their grief, throwing shoes at them, so on and so forth.  The coalition forces pulled off, realizing that at that time it was just a period of grief and expression that these people were going through.  We saw the same thing yesterday in Basra as the coalition forces were sort of caught up in that maelstrom of grief, and again backed off and tried to give space to the people to properly vent their grief and their rage and their outrage at the loss of their loved ones.

 

            Compare that with Muqtada al-Sadr, who tried to exploit that grief rather than accept it, tried to turn that grief of the crowd into mob violence, which he did down in Basra today.  And I think it speaks volumes at the thuggish behavior of Muqtada al-Sadr and what he represents that he would intentionally try to use the grief of the people to make a political statement, which obviously caught hold to some in this room to somehow suggest that this was demonstration of his strength and his capacity for creating large numbers of incidents. In fact, I think it's even far more illustrative of the base behavior that he is willing to undertaken to advance his agenda.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes?

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  Al Omani (ph) News Agency.  Two questions.   First for Mr. Dan.  Would you please inform us about what went on between Ambassador Bremer and the Governing Council?  Second question.  We heard that a number of detainees are to be released today, so when, exactly, will they be released?  Thank you.

 

            MR. SENOR:  On your first question, Ambassador Bremer talked about a number of issues with the Governing Council, everything ranging from the de-Ba'athification issues we were speaking of before, to issues related to detainees, to the security situation generally, obviously providing them an update in other steps we are taking to address the security situation.  Economics came up relating to some job programs that we are working on.  Those are the range of issues. He also talked to them about the address he was delivering tomorrow evening, which will be televised on Al-Rahiya (ph).

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  I don't know how many detainees will be released today.  It has become so routine that large numbers of detainees are released.  We typically do it on Tuesday.  For example, two days ago we released just over 200 detainees.  I don't even know what time today if we are releasing detainees today, but we'll have the CPIC get that answer for you right after this press conference.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, in the back.

 

            Q     Gene Chu (sp), NBC News.  Dan, just picking up on your comments about freedom of expression, I'd just like to ask how -- the explanation for Mr. Sadr's newspaper, Al-Hawza, being shut down. First question.

 

            Second question, this is addressed to General Kimmitt.  What is the threshold, sir that the leadership in Fallujah of the insurgency has to show to sort of prove to you that, you know, that we will -- you know, we'll halt offensive operations?  And what, then -- what type of timetable?  You're talking days, but is this something that -- I understand that the residents are not being allowed back into the city.  So what do they have to show you militarily to say okay, fine, we'll stand down?

 

            MR. SENOR:  On your first --

 

            (To Gen. Kimmitt.)  Do you want to go first?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  (To Mr. Senor.)  You go ahead.

 

            MR. SENOR:  On your first question, as in all democracies, certainly Western democracies, with any freedom like freedom of the press, freedom of expression comes responsibility, and there is no tolerance in any democracy for using newspapers to incite violence. And certainly in this country we are not going to tolerate a situation where a newspaper is being used to incite violence against the coalition or the Iraqi people, and that was the basis of our concern with Al-Hawza.

 

            There are some 200 newspapers that have sprouted up since liberation in this country.  Certainly we bend over backwards to ensure all of their right and freedom to operate, whether they be critical or supportive of the things we do.  That's not the issue. The issue is whether or not that freedom is used irresponsibly/dangerously to incite violence in a way that we believe lives could be lost and lives could be lost immediately unless we address the situation.

 

            The basis of that policy is modeled after similar laws, media laws in the United States, in the United Kingdom and Australia.  It's about striking the right balance between protecting freedom of speech and protecting against the incitement of violence.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  The people in Fallujah -- the leadership in Fallujah certainly understand what we are looking for in Fallujah: the restoration of legitimate Iraqi control in Fallujah, the elimination of all the foreign fighters and terrorists and fighters in Fallujah. We have been very clear that one of the steps is to turn in all the heavy weapons.  That is the most visible sign that those inside Fallujah can use to demonstrate to us that they are serious about a peaceful track, that they are serious about a peaceful resolution. That was understood on both sides of the table in the discussions. The leadership clearly accepted that as they went back into Fallujah.  This is not a serious expression of intent.  These types of weapons are not a serious demonstration that they want peace.  This is not a serious offer that they have come back to us and shown us that they want peace inside Fallujah.

 

            To answer your question directly, a large field full of the heavy weapons that have been used against the people in Fallujah, and been used against the coalition forces in Fallujah, that's the minimum. They understand that.  We've made the points accessible for them to conduct it.  We have done nothing to impede their capability to produce them.

 

            MR. SENOR:  We have time for one more question.

 

            Yes, ma'am.  Go ahead.

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  Lela Shimari (ph) -- (inaudible). Some news have been leaked that the U.S. is entering mass destruction weapons into Iraq by foreign companies, and this is being used to support the campaign of President Bush for reelection.  So what is your comment about this subject?

 

            MR. SENOR:  I haven't seen the reports, so it's difficult for me to respond to them.  But based on your characterization of the reports, they strike me as highly unlikely, and if I may take a swipe at the newspaper that are reporting them, without having seen the articles -- borderline absurd.  So --

 

            Q     (In Arabic.)

 

            MR. SENOR:  I'm sorry?

 

            Q     (Through interpreter.)  It has been published on the Internet.

 

            MR. SENOR:  On the Internet?  Okay.  I haven't seen the reports, so.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  And on the military side, I can categorically deny that we are bringing any weapons of mass destruction into Iraq to either facilitate the military campaign or the election campaign.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Thank you, everybody.  

 

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