COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING
DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, CPA;
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COALITION MILITARY OPERATIONS
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TIME: 10:08 A.M. EDT
DATE: MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good afternoon. I have a brief opening statement, General Kimmitt
has an opening briefing, and then we'll be happy to take your questions.
We are nine days away from handing full sovereignty over to the Iraqi people,
although, as you've heard me say repeatedly from this podium and as you've heard
Iraqi officials say repeatedly, the process is well under way. June 30th is not
some magical date where suddenly Iraqis will appear to assume authority. That is
a process that has been under way for some time.
It is important to note that nearly 60 percent of the Iraqi government has
already transitioned to sovereignty. These institutions are the ministries of
Oil, Foreign Affairs, Health, Education, Public Works and Municipalities,
Science and Technology, Agriculture, Displacement and Migration, Culture, Water
Resources, Industry and Minerals, Planning and Development, Youth and Sport,
Environment, and Transportation. That's 15 of Iraq's 26 ministries, 737 Iraqi
government workers reporting to Iraqi supervisors, reporting to Iraqi ministers,
not to coalition officials or consultants.
For instance, the Ministry of Agriculture has approximately 11,000 employees,
but only five consultants are currently working with the ministry -- coalition
consultants. The Ministry of Electricity has approximately 45,000 employees, but
only nine coalition consultants will remain once it attains sovereignty. The
Ministry of Communications has more than 15,000 employees, but only 20 coalition
consultants will stay behind post-June 30th. The Ministry of Industry and
Minerals, which has approximately 130,000 employees, will have a single
coalition consultant. And the largest ministry, the Ministry of Education, with
300,000 employees, will have no consultants from the coalition post-June 30th.
Once sovereignty is attained, these consultants have no operational authority
and are only there to provide technical assistance as needed, determined and
requested by the Iraqi minister.
And today I can announce that by the end of this week, all remaining ministries
will be turned over to the Iraqi ministers. So by this time next week, every
single minister will have control of their respective ministry. There are
approximately 1.3-plus-million Iraqi employees in the national government
workforce, and by the end of this week, all of them will be reporting to Iraqi
supervisors and Iraqi ministers. This is several days, as you know -- this will
be several days before the June 30th handover. In addition to the progress being
made within the ministries, all provincial governments are operating, and about
90 percent of Iraq's municipalities have operating councils. And so the
sovereignty -- the gradual sovereignty process that we have pursued is not just
limited exclusively to the national government; it is also thriving at the
provincial and municipal levels.
We will continue to provide updates for you on the various transition processes
that are under way, but I wanted to get you information right here as to our new
goal in getting total sovereignty handed over to the ministries by the end of
this week. And there will be more information coming out on it; you should check
your -- check for media advisories for events surrounding the complete turnover.
GEN. KIMMITT: Thanks.
The coalition and Iraqi security forces continue operations to maintain a stable
Iraq in order to repair infrastructure, stimulate the economy and facilitate the
transfer of sovereignty on June 30th. To that end, in the past 24 hours the
coalition conducted 1,782 patrols, 12 offensive operations. Forty-seven
anti-coalition suspects were detained and 19 detainees were released.
The next release at Abu Ghraib is scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd of June, and
157 detainees are scheduled for release.
Eight hundred and forty-three Iraqi army officers, to include 11 female
officers, graduated this week from the Jordanian armed forces' military academy
as part of the coalition's training and equipping of the Iraqi armed forces.
Graduation from this academy marks the second and final class of Iraqi army
officers to complete the courses in Jordan, and this completes officer training
for the Iraqi army's three programmed divisions. The graduation culminated three
six- to eight- week courses at the school, ranging from company and platoon
leaders' course to brigade and battalion staff officers' course, and a brigade
and battalion commanders' course; courses that train junior officers to
lieutenant colonels. Iraqi officer and enlisted initial entry training will now
almost entirely be conducted by Iraqi army trainers.
In the northern area of operations, coalition forces conducted a
cordon-and-knock in eastern Mosul, detaining five individuals suspected of
indirect fire attacks against coalition forces and murdering members of the
Iraqi security forces. All five personnel are currently in coalition custody.
Today a contractor convoy was attacked by improvised explosive device and
small-arms fire 50 kilometers south of Mosul. Four Iraqi contractors were killed
and three wounded. And the wounded have been transported to a combat support
hospital, where they are undergoing treatment.
In the north central zone of operations, coalition soldiers killed four
suspected anti-Iraqi insurgents conducting a mortar attack on a coalition
compound in Samarra. One civilian guard working was -- for the coalition was
wounded when two mortar rounds from that attack near the compound.
A coalition combat patrol discovered two bodies in the vicinity of Tikrit. One
of the bodies was identified as Sheik Izaldin al- Abdallah al-Bairati (sp), a
member of the local governing council in the Salhuddin province.
In Baghdad yesterday, there was an assassination of the Rusafayah district
advisory council chairman and vice chairman in northeastern Baghdad. The vice
chairman, Sheik Majid (sp), was killed and the chairman, Dr. Kadum (sp), is in
intensive care after surgery. Both had been shot multiple times.
Yesterday a South Korean citizen, Kim Sun-il, was taken hostage. The Jama'at al-Tawhid
and Jihad group, believed to be led by Abu Musaab al- Zarqawi, are threatening
to behead Kim Sun if Seoul fails to withdraw its troops from Iraq in 24 hours.
Kim Sun-il works with a trade company in Baghdad.
In the western zone of operations, coalition forces conducted a raid east of al
Qaim, targeting two anti-Iraqi force personnel, both brothers wanted for
conducting attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi government officials. Four
Iraqi males were detained in the raid, including the two brothers.
In the central south zone of operations, approximately 50 armed insurgents
wearing black masks dismounted their vehicle by the Iraqi police station in Djor
Askar (sp). The attackers placed explosives inside the building and then
destroyed the structure. When coalition and Iraqi security forces approached the
substation, they saw five vehicles matching the description of the attackers,
and forces engaged and destroyed one of the vehicles and pursued another vehicle
to a residence, where they found a wounded attacker, an AK-47 shotgun and
blueprints of the police station.
Two days ago, coalition forces conducted a raid in the vicinity of Mahmudiyah to
capture a suspect believed involved in the kidnapping of the Italian hostages.
Soldiers detained three men, including the target, during the operation.
In the southeastern zone of operations, a coalition patrol reported a crowd
gathered in front of the governate building in Basra, demonstrating against the
Basra governor. The crowd grew to approximately 1,000 persons, remained
relatively calm before dispersing peacefully. Apparently 40 persons have
remained in the area, and they intend to stay on location for the next three
MR. SENOR: And with that, we'll be happy to take your questions.
Q (Through interpreter.) Bahram Hamid Ali (ph), Mashriq newspaper. Yesterday Dr.
Fouad Massoum, who shall preside over the national conference, he said Muqtada
al-Sadr has been invited to participate in the interim national assembly. What
is the position of the coalition? And this national conference is going to be
held after the transfer of sovereignty.
MR. SENOR: You actually hit the most important point there. This conference will
be held after Iraq has full sovereignty, so this is a question for the Iraqis to
determine, not for the coalition. But I would refer you to a statement that Dr.
Fouad made today in which he denied that Muqtada al-Sadr has been invited, or
will be invited to attend or participate, in the Iraqi national conference.
Again, I would refer you to him for comment.
As far as Muqtada al-Sadr's broader role in Iraq's political process, please
understand that, under Iraqi law, Muqtada al-Sadr is still being pursued for an
arrest warrant that has been issued against him related to a brutal murder. I
don't see how he would have a role in pursuing public office before that matter
is resolved. He is the head of an illegal militia, and again I don't know how he
could pursue public office before that matter is resolved. The political parties
law, the public order that the coalition has been working at the initiative of
the interim government, says explicitly no political entity -- I quote: "No
political entity may have or be associated with an armed force, militia or
residual element as defined in CPA Order Number 91," which is the CPA order that
relates to the regulation of armed forces and militias within Iraq that Prime
Minister Allawi announced a couple weeks ago.
So I refer you to -- again, as to any other statements made by Dr. Fouad I refer
you to him directly, but today he was quite clear.
Q Richard Lloyd Perry (sp) of the Times. Can you tell us anything more about the
circumstances in which the South Korean man was taken hostage? I mean, so far,
all I've seen is the video which has been on television. Do you have any idea
where he was? There have been reports that other hostages were taken with him.
Can you confirm those? And what action, if any, is the coalition taking to try
and get him out?
MR. SENOR: We view, obviously, as a very high priority any hostage taken, any
civilian hostage, any military hostage taken. And we have made clear that this
is tragic and we will put all the necessary resources, both military and
intelligence resources, behind the safe rescue of any hostage, including this
gentleman from Korea.
As to the intentions of the Korean government, I would refer you to the
statements they have made, which have been quite strong, to my understanding,
based on what I've seen in the reports. But anything further, I would refer you
to them. We obviously want to pursue this as expeditiously as possible; seek his
safe release, minimize bloodshed in the process. Those are our priorities right
Q So coalition military personnel are actively involved in looking for him, is
GEN. KIMMITT: Coalition military personnel continue to collect intelligence
throughout this country related to any threats, whether they be threats to the
coalition forces, threats to Iraqi civilians, threat to civilians operating
inside this country.
MR. SENOR: Kelly?
Q Kelly Wright (sp), Fox News. General Kimmitt, do you have any details about an
attack that apparently took place on four soldiers in Ramadi? There's video
circulating now that shows four dead bodies in uniform.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah. This morning we had servicemen operating in the vicinity of
the city of Ramadi. As you might expect, they report in to their higher
headquarters at certain intervals. There was a time when they should have
reported in, did not report in. We sent a Quick Reaction Force to their
location. I think we've all seen those videos and those photos on APTN and some
of the other news services. I can confirm that we do in fact have four
servicemen die as part of that combat action, and we're going through the
next-of-kin notification procedure at this time.
Q Do you have any further details of how that happened? They were without their
security vests as well as their helmets.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I don't think at this point we want to comment any further.
The most important thing we need to do in the next 24 hours is next-of-kin
notification. After we've notified the families, I think we're going to be a
little more forthcoming on what happened up there.
MR. SENOR: Jim?
Q Yeah, hi. Jim Krane with the AP. General Kimmitt, there was a report in
today's New York Times about some foreigners killed in the airs trike in
Fallujah. I think the -- if I remember correctly, it mentioned Algerians, Saudis
and Yemenis, I believe. Can you confirm any of that, and give any detail?
GEN. KIMMITT: All I can confirm is what we have read in the newspapers as well;
that we had very, very strong pre-strike intelligence suggesting that that house
at that location of Fallujah was occupied by members of the Zarqawi terrorist
network. We conducted the strike. What we saw at the strike location, what we
had prior to that attack and all of our post-strike intelligence continues to
confirm that that was a safe house with a significant amount of ammunition being
stored for whatever reason, we suspect to make VBIEDs and to attack Iraqis and
coalition convoys with VBIEDs and to attack Iraqi civilians.
As to the actual nationality, we have no confirmation what nations they came
from. They were described to us in news accounts, in some open-source
intelligence reporting suggesting that they were not Iraqis. So again, more and
more confirmation continues to come in suggesting that what we thought we were
going to hit, a known Zarqawi safe house with a significant amount of
ammunition, is in fact what we hit.
Q Would we be remiss in describing these folks as foreign fighters, foreign
GEN. KIMMITT: I think we would probably have no qualm with that
characterization. I would say more accurately these were key personnel in the
Zarqawi network operating inside Fallujah with the capability to strike
civilians and coalition forces throughout Iraq.
MR. SENOR: Tom?
Q Tom Lasseter, Knight-Ridder. Is there any intelligence suggesting that there
are other captives along with the South Korean? And also, the question was asked
before, where was he captured and under what circumstances? Could you speak to
any of those details?
GEN. KIMMITT: I don't think we have any more intelligence right now. We're
developing that intelligence about where he was captured, under what
circumstances he was captured, but I'm just not sure that we have built that
body of intelligence yet.
MR. SENOR: And Tom, I would just add, you know, these situations of the hostage
takings tend to be difficult questions to answer because on the one hand, I hope
you can understand we want to provide you all with as much information as we
can, but we also have to strike the right balance between doing so and
maintaining the sensitive information from an operational security standpoint
that is necessary to pursue their safe release. And often, revealing information
in these sorts of venues tends to wind up in the wrong hands, for obvious
reasons, because it's public information. And it's often not in the interest of
those whose safe release we are trying to secure. So I just hope you all can
Q (Through interpreter.) (Name and affiliation inaudible.) I have two questions.
The first question is regarding the advisers, the senior advisers that will be
working after the transfer of sovereignty. Ambassador Negroponte, who will be
appointed U.S. ambassador to Iraq, has said a few days ago that we will have 150
advisers to work with the ministries. How true is this information?
The second question: Regarding the detainees once again, this issue of the
detainees is still pending, and it has not been finalized by the coalition that
will remain after the transfer of sovereignty. The nature of the negotiations
that you are engaged in with the Iraqi government for the transfer on the
control of the detainees in the prisons? Thank you.
MR. SENOR: Yeah. On your first question, I haven't seen the specific statement.
So I won't response specifically to it.
But I'll say that the current plan, the latest plan I've seen, has approximately
200 current employees of CPA, be they consultants or full-time employees, that
will be staying on, working under the auspices of the embassy. And a number of
these employees of these 200 have relationships with a number of the ministries.
And the idea is, during the transition phase, those roles will continue. That
number of -- those individuals will not, for the most part, evolve into full-
time employees of the embassy. And what's -- I guess what's classified as a
full-time employee of the embassy is someone who's making, I think, a minimum of
a one-year commitment. These are people who will just be here for a few months
after, helping with the transition and continuing their technical consultancy
with ministries or other Iraqi agencies with which they had been working.
GEN. KIMMITT: On the issue of detainees, we suspect that there will not be any
significant changes between now and the near future with regards to the general
security internees that we are keeping at places such as Camp Bucca. We of
course will continue to release those who are no longer a security threat to the
nation of Iraq. We will continue under the provisions of United States Security
Council Resolution 1546, have the requirement and the obligation to ensure those
who are an imperative threat to the security of Iraq remain detained or become
detained. So we would expect that there will be a difference in how they are
detained with regards to are there going to be Iraqi ombudsmen, will there be
Iraqi guards in the detention facilities, and those discussions are still going
on at this time.
But number one, coalition forces and Iraqi security forces will take security
detainees after 1 July, as a consequence of the ongoing operations. That is not
only a mission, but it's also an obligation to keep these people off the
Number two, the character of the partnership that we will enjoy after 1 July
certainly demands that we have discussions about what is the Iraqi participation
in the detention policy, in those execution of detention operations as well. And
those are ongoing at this time.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q My name is Yasu (sp) with Kyodo News Japanese news agency. I have two
questions for General. One -- first question is, the Japanese government has
decided that SDF is going to participate in multinational forces, and they say
that the SDF has its own command. But the resolution of the United Nations says
that the multinational forces is going to operate under unified command. What
are your views?
And second question is, Prime Minister Allawi has said that the Iraqi -- Iraq is
considering to a state of emergency in some selected areas in Iraq after June
30th. And what will be the coordinations of command between multinational forces
and the Iraqi security forces?
Thank you very much.
GEN. KIMMITT: I think the answer to the first question is understanding the
difference between the notion of command and the notion of control. Every one of
our soldiers in the coalition answer in an unbroken line back to their sovereign
power. In the case of an American soldier, the president gives the orders all
the way down to the individual soldiers on the ground in terms of command
orders. So that is never broken, and we would not expect as part of the
coalition that that would ever be broken in the case of the British soldiers or
the Japanese soldiers. But control is a different situation.
Operational control on the battlefield, on military operations, on peace support
operations requires that you have an operational chain for day-to-day
activities, and clearly that's what we would envision when we talk about the
Japanese Self-Defense Forces participating in the multinational operations.
Certainly you don't want to set up a structure so that every time that the
forces are asked to pick up any missions on a day-to-day basis, they have to go
through a long chain back to their host nation -- back to their own nation and
then come back. So we have an expression called "operational control" where
there is a certain amount of latitude given to the force's commander on the
ground, in this case the multinational forces of Iraq. But we never get to a
position where our forces, your forces or anyone else's forces break that link
between their sovereign power and the individual soldier -- down to the
individual soldier on the ground.
On the second question, we are setting up those mechanisms now between the Iraqi
-- the sovereign Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces. In some ways,
it will mirror the same; that there will be an unbroken line of command from
Prime Minister Allawi all the way down to the individual soldier on the ground.
But as part of this partnership between the multinational forces and the Iraqi
security forces, we will be working out arrangements so that we can operate --
interoperate every day while still understanding that we need to keep the Iraqi
government informed on how we are conducting our operations, why, where, sort of
all the typical questions that a sovereign nation would act, particularly since
we are operating inside their nation.
We are fairly sanguine about the responsibility that this should not be a
problem. We do this every day in places such as Korea. We have a U.N. force, we
have U.S. military forces operating in the sovereign nation of South Korea. And
these are the types of procedures that we operate under every day.
MR. SENOR: Patrick?
Q For General Kimmitt, I'm wondering if you could explain a little bit how the
role of U.S. forces will change post-June 30th. There's been talk of pulling
back from the cities, more emphasis on training, fewer raids, more joint
patrols. Could you give us a little bit of an outline of how things will change
as of July 1st for the U.S. forces?
GEN. KIMMITT: Well again, I don't think that July 1st is a particularly
significant date in the part of coalition military operations, with the
exception of we'll now be known as the multinational forces. We will continue to
operate to establish and maintain a safe and secure environment here in Iraq.
The objectives and the aspirations that you have discussed -- withdrawing from
the city, reducing our presence in the city, turning more responsibility over to
the Iraqi security forces, more joint patrols -- that's something we've been
doing for a long, long time, Patrick. You know we've talked about that when we
talk about local control.
But certainly, the character is not going to change dramatically on the 1st day
of July militarily the way it is dramatically changing politically on the first
day of July. So it remains our end state that we depart this nation with fully
capable Iraqi security forces responsible for the internal and external security
of their nation without the need for a multinational force inside this country.
That doesn't happen on the 1st of July. I think all of us understand that it
will be some time before those Iraqi security forces can take on the burden and
the responsibility. And it will happen differently in different portions of the
In the quiet areas of the country, it may be that the Iraqi security forces take
over that responsibility much quicker, and the coalition forces go from being
the lead, as they were, to working side by side, as they will be, to a point
where they have actually pulled out. It's sort of like the notion of being a
policeman to being a fireman, to where they will no longer be walking up and
down those streets every day, but they'll be outside the city sitting in their
fire stations, ready to be in called in in emergency, but as and when the Iraqi
security forces call them. And that will happen at different times around this
We would like to get to the position where all of our forces have passed off
most of the responsibility to the Iraqi security forces, and then we will have
achieved that concept, as we've called it before -- local control; and then
regional control and then, eventually, we will be out of the country. So --
Q Just a quick follow-up. Are there any plans for permanent U.S. bases in Iraq?
GEN. KIMMITT: I know of no plans for permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Toby Harnden from the Daily Telegraph. General Kimmitt, can you tell us
anything about the incidents in which three small British naval vessels were
apparently seized by Iranian forces?
GEN. KIMMITT: I know a little bit about that. This morning, at about 05:00,
three boats, eight persons from the Royal Naval Training Team that was operating
out of Basra departed on a mission for training with their fellows in the Iraqi
navy. We don't have much more than that.
I have been asked to pass on that any further information you can obtain from
the Foreign Office in London. Their public affairs would be glad to provide you
any more than that.
Q Just to clarify, General, they were training Iraqi naval people. Is that
GEN. KIMMITT: That's my understanding. Correct.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- newspaper Lahktal (sp). You spoke about
the transfer of authority after -- (off mike) -- American authority. Why are
they not responding to presenting the authority to Iraqis?
And then, as to the tribunal, there is -- the military judge allowed for
meetings with General Abizaid and other officers from the special task forces.
Are there any particular problems of officers relating to such a problem -- high
officers in this area? Thank you.
MR. SENOR: Can you just ask the first question? I think I missed the first part
of the first question.
Q (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- do you expect that the U.S. will seek to
issue a resolution at the U.N. for the transfer of authority? And if not, why is
it that the U.S. has not taken a role in pursuing a resolution at the U.N.?
MR. SENOR: Well, we -- a U.N. resolution recently passed, which expressed strong
support for the political transition, the plan going forward for the interim
government. It passed in the Security Council unanimously, 15 to 0.
Now, as you've seen, Prime Minister Allawi has been quite outspoken, using
momentum generated by the U.N. Security Council resolution to reach out to the
international community to broaden its support for Iraq going forward here as it
enters this sovereign phase.
GEN. KIMMITT: I'm going to be very careful in what I say, because I'm not a
lawyer. But as I understand, in today's proceedings, the motion hearings, that
there was a motion put forward on the part of one of the defense lawyers to be
able to bring in witnesses. Those witnesses included some of the significant
members of the chain of command -- General Sanchez, General Abizaid -- and it is
my understanding that the judge did allow that motion.
What that means, what its significance is -- I know we have a lawyer here
somewhere. I'm sure that she will be glad to explain what that means on
background after this. The significance of that -- I just -- I think it may be
that, as a matter of course, anybody who is ever accused of a crime always wants
the right to call witnesses up to and including the president of the United
States. And to avoid those types of frivolous actions, that typically, when you
start talking significant people, that there has to be some measure of
justification given to the judge for the right to call those witnesses. But I
will defer all those questions to a trained lawyer, which I am not.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: Can you ask that again? I didn't get the first part. He's going to --
I think we're having some technical difficulties in the translator booth.
Q (Through interpreter.) The resolution that was passed was not pertaining --
MR. SENOR: Yeah, any future resolutions, I would refer you to the U.N.; to the
U.S. mission to the U.N., to the U.S. State Department. As I said, there is a
resolution that's been passed. It supports the political transition going
forward. It supports Iraq's path to sovereignty. It supports the interim
government. As for any future actions, those shouldn't be addressed from this
podium. We'll be gone in nine days.
Yes? Last question. Can you -- yeah.
Q Many of the Assyrians and other minorities are leaving the country or are
quite worried, and one of the reasons --
INTERPRETER: Microphone, please! Microphone please!
Q (Off mike.)
INTERPRETER: Mike, mike, mike, mike!
MR. SENOR: Yeah.
Q Oh, sorry. Many of the Assyrians and other minorities are leaving the country,
and one of the concerns is what role they'll have in the future; in particular,
the Transitional Administrative Law and the fact that it's not mentioned in the
U.N. resolution. There's some concern as to whether it will go forward, and --
some of the items in the law itself. But can you like give a -- some kind of
word of assurance to the minorities --
MR. SENOR: Sure.
Q -- that they'll have a part in the future, as well that the transitional law
will in some way be -- continue on?
MR. SENOR: Sure. The Transitional Administrative Law, which is effectively
Iraq's interim constitution, is a document similar to other constitutions,
interim constitutions, which typically aren't mentioned in U.N. Security Council
resolutions. The principles most central, however, in that document are
specifically referenced in the U.N. Security Council resolution and supported.
In fact, the preamble talks about principles like minority rights, federalism,
Iraq's democratic path forward. And so a number of those issues are of
importance to the communities you referenced and others.
And the Transitional Administrative Law, as you know, has very strong
protections for all Iraqis, regardless of religion, gender, regional origin. And
the Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, has made a very strong statement about
his government's support for the interim constitution and to the extent that
that document should continue to serve as a legal guide for their activities
going forward and constitutional parameters for their government going forward
during this interim period. He feels quite strongly about that.
Finally, I would say that the interim government is probably the most
representative government and inclusive government not only in Iraq history but
probably in this entire region, and that also is a positive sign.
So I think any minority community should feel that their rights are protected in
Iraq, in the new Iraq, in the free Iraq, that the rights outlined in the
Transitional Administrative Law will be protected and enforced, and there really
isn't cause for concern. It's something I think the interim government feels