Press Conference: Operational Update: Gen. Zibari, Adnan al-Asadi, Lt. Gen. Dubik, Maj. Gen. Bergner, Nov. 21, 2007
Gen. Babaker Zibari, Iraqi Armed Forces chief of staff; Adnan al-Asadi, deputy interior minister; Lt. Gen. James Dubik, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq commander; and Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force - Iraq Strategic Effects director, provide an operational update from Iraq, Nov. 21, 2007.
• The ISF is expanding its capacity and has become the first line of defense in Iraq. The Al-Qa’im PoE opening recently took place, and it will provide more security and a boost to Iraq’s economy. There will be an increase in commerce flow between Baghdad, Anbar province, and Syria. The national TIPS program has been responsible for clearing over 100 IEDs, 30 VBIEDS, and 20 caches. This has, no doubt, saved hundreds to thousands of lives. The new calling center increases capacity by 200%, enables operators to take more calls with less wait time, and has increased personnel to 40 operators. The Besmaya training center in Baghdad provides capable brigade combat teams for the IA, and the facility will be a great boost to the IA.
• The IA has greatly improved their training and equipping programs. We have formed the 14th and 12th division, a new brigade for the 9th division, and many operational commands. CF have provided the Iraqi Armed Forces with tremendous support and technical expertise. We are now equipping some of the IA with M-4s/M-16s. We are also working on a contract with Italy to improve Iraq’s Navy. The security situation is improving everyday for the Iraqi people, and we have decreased terrorist operations greatly. We have established 4 military courts to take care of military justice.
• The MoI has greatly increased in volume. We have formed new agencies and departments in order to be able to meet the challenges facing Iraq. This includes the civil defense directorate to respond to disasters, passport directorate to take care of IDs, the counter-IED directorate, and the internal affairs directorate. The counter-IED directorate has received equipment to detect bombs and VBIEDs. The internal affairs directorate has fired 18,000 people to reform the MoI based on investigations.
Lt. Gen. James Dubik, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq Commander
Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force - Iraq, Strategic Effects Director Gen. Babaker Zibari, Iraqi Armed Forces Chief of Staff
Adnan al-Asadi, Deputy Interior Minister
November 21, 2007
SOS INTERNATIONAL, LTD.
Lt. Gen. James Dubik
Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner
Gen. Babaker Zibari
Minister Adnan al-Asadi
John Cookson from Al-Jazeera English News Channel
[Unintelligible] Radio Sawa
Justin Ed [ph] from ABC News
Ann Simmons from The Los Angeles Times
Layla [ph] Ashamarif [ph] from The [Unintelligible] Newspaper
*REP1 = REPORTER 1
*INT = INTERPRETER
BERGNER: Well it’s a pleasure to be joined by such distinguished colleagues this afternoon. With the expanding capacity and the growing professionalism, the Iraqi security forces are increasingly the first line of defense for the people of Iraq. We see their sustained courage and commitment saving lives and making extraordinary levels of sacrifice every day. And we are honored to be here today with the senior uniformed military officer in Iraq and my good friend, Gen. Babaker, and my new friend, the Senior Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Ali al-Asadi. Both of whom have critical roles in the security improvements being achieved in Iraq today. And then it is my pleasure to introduce them and the Commanding General of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq, Lt. Gen. Jim Dubik. Sir.
DUBIK: Thanks. It’s also my honor to be in the conference here with Minister al-Asadi and Gen. Babaker. I want to highlight some information on the charts behind me that describe a few events that took place this week as a way to introduce my topic. First, the Al-Qa’im opening— the ground Port of Entry opening this week; an important event that means more than just more security to the Iraqi people. This ground Port of Entry opening means a boost for the economy in al Anbar and Iraq as a whole. This is a main artery into and out of Iraq where commerce has already begun to flow and where the roads are connected from Syria to Baghdad. The second chart depicts another important action and that’s the 130 TIPS hotline center opening. Since 2005, the hotline program has been responsible for the recovery and the prevention of well over 100 IEDs and 30 vehicle-borne IEDs and the recovery and destruction of over 20 weapons caches. The arrest and capture of over 100 terrorists and criminals and all these actions alone have saved potentially hundreds or even thousands of lives. This center increased the calling capacity. It provides a 200% increase in incoming telephone lines enabling the operators to answer more calls and reduce the waiting time. The facility also provides a 400% increase in the number of operators from 10 to 40. The national hotline program plays a vital role on the war on terrorism and is directly responsible for saving lives. And this program also is improving significantly the services to the Iraqi people and the ability of any citizen to link into the security forces. The third chart concerns the 3rd Brigade, the 11th Iraqi Division graduation from their unit-set fielding at Besmaya Training Center. Besmaya provides the Iraqi Army with a set of facilities to accomplish unit-set fielding and training. In this way a unit is first recruited, then trained, then equipped, and finally based—all as a single entity. The unit-set fielding program produces a brigade very capable to enter the fight at a higher level of readiness before. And as 3rd Brigade, 11th Division enters Baghdad, it will allow three other battalions to return to their home station and thicken the forces in the provinces. Besmaya also has M-16 and M-4 fielding, the combined arms school and explosive ordinance school, and in the future it will become the location to train mechanized drivers and gunners. As you can see I hope just from these three events, these highlight three of many other improvements in the Iraqi security forces and I look forward after the opening comments to your questions. Thank you.
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: [Unintelligible]. Iraqi Army has seen a great deal of improvement in the training, equipment, and formation. Our readiness has been in good shape in term of readiness. First of all, the recruiting plan, we have our planning in term of the recruiting and depend upon the requirement—and dependent on the priorities. And we all [unintelligible] when we recruit we follow the following. First of all, they have to represent the Iraqi citizen. We have formed this year— we have formed the 14th Division and the 12th Division and we have also formed other Brigade for the 9th Division and we have formed the Karabela [ph] Samarab [ph] al-Adad [ph] Operation Command and this has raised the readiness assessment for our units from—to 120%. Second thing. We have continual training starting for the basic training for the officer, soldiers, enlisteds with all the branches of the Iraqi Army with the coordination with the Multi-National Forces in term of exchange skills for professionalism to raise up the Iraqi morale to the international level. We support—we get our support and internal affair professionalism and expertise from the Coalition Forces in term of using the technical professionalism. We have trained more than 14 divisions within this year. And the last Sunday we have seen the graduation of the 3rd Brigade, 11th Division equipping them with M-4 and M-16 and with 100%—with 110% readiness and they’re going to fight with the Coalition Forces in ar Rusafa. The second thing is FMS program. It has been moving with success and we have allocated 2.2 hundred—$2.2 billion for the FMS and we have got M-4 and M-16 and other equipment. And we have received M-17 and Huey 2 and Cessna Caravan with the good antimissile [unintelligible]—anti-missile equipment. United States government has also has helped us in term of getting a contract with Italia whereto improve our Navy. Fourth, we’re continual in working—making sure that we have—we’re building our program internal and sustain it and equip it. We are working to execute our plan in term of the life support for the units. Security situation is improving day after day and to require more supports from us and in order to eliminate the terrorism operations in Baghdad. And we have decreased the terrorist operation 55%. We have some continual operations so that you are tracking—operations at the east and west of Baghdad. We have a new process in term of doing the operations and also the friend to the Iraqi operations in term of trying to improve the security forces. In the terrorism is trying to chase us but we are trying to chase that terrorism operations and we are trying to establish a good security for the Iraqi people. Fifth, we are having—the big role of the Iraqi people have been playing a great deal in order to improve the security situation in Iraq in order to defeat the terrorism. And we’re trying to have more people come to the national site. We have established good military courts in order to take care of all the military cases. We have four of them all over Iraq. Thank you very much.
AL-ASADI: Speaking in Arabic.
INT: Thank you very much. At the beginning the Minister of Interior, that means they’re talking about the problem of Iraq because the role of the Minister of Interior for maintaining security and controlling security situation. That means—well it would be translated that success [unintelligible] of the political process in Iraq. As you know the role of the Ministry of the Interior, the number of the people we have in the Ministry of Interior was not much but we have developed and now we have five times said that we have doubled our capabilities five times. That has led to forming different agencies and different department in the Ministry of Interior in order to be able to catch up with the responsibility and to be accountable with the security challenges in Iraq. Ministry of Interior has national information events that means intelligence agency. We have the also police affairs in all provinces and take care of all the national police and the local police. And also, you know, we have the traffic police directorate and also we have a civil defense directorate that take care of the disaster times, floods. We have Iraqi IDs and transportation and passport directory to take care of the passports, documents, the Iraqi IDs and residency for Iraq and take care of the foreign people as well. Also we have the—we form and train a department that graduate the officers and policemen with different courses. Those all different department and agencies they come under the Ministry of Interior. Ministry of Interior has participated a great deal with the counterterrorism and this operation so we have seriously committed ourselves with the Coalition Forces and with the Multi-National Forces in order to decrease the operations in Iraq. And with this periodf of time we have seen a decreasing of the operations in Baghdad and in Iraq. And we have—if we have compared that we will see more than 75% decrease in operations in Iraq. And, of course, it all happened with the participation of the Minister of Interior. Ministry of Interior has increased its unit for the Fardh alQanoon Operation. And we have formed more than 56 emergency battalions in provinces not including the national police. We have formed ten emergency battalions, other battalions in Baghdad and in other provinces. And we have opened and also renewed some Port of Entries of course with the coordination of the Multi-National Forces. We have renewed the counter-IED directorate rate and we have imported some good numbers of equipment that detect bombs and those bombs and tools have been absolutely helpful in term of discovering IEDs and VBIEDS. And we have about 233 ATO—and about 30 ADBF and other equipment. And we are in a time of trying to complete all the shortages that we have. The Ministry of Interior has been able to participate to train and refresh of the Iraqi MOI forces. We also have Internal Affairs directorate and also we have an Inspector General directorate that we will be able to eliminate—that will be able to refresh and reform our employees. We had more than 18,000 officers and MOI employees were fired after investigations were completed by the IG. We have fired guards—big numbers of policemen and civilian employees with MOI. Also MOI was able to coordinate with the MOI forces—with the Multi-National Forces in order to defeat terrorism. Accurate analysis for the information with the central intelligence in order to discover the center of the crimes. We also have more activities. I’m sure we will be able to cover it through questions. Thank you very much.
BERGNER: Thank you, sir. It’s not very often that you have two of the most senior Iraqi Security Force leaders here to talk and not to mention the U.S. Commander for all of our security transition assistance. So we’re very thankful to have all of you here today and I would be—we will be glad to take your questions. Yes, sir.
REP1: John Cookson from Al Jazeera English News Channel. What role has Iran played in the reduction of violence in this country? Have they stemmed the flow of weapons or stopped the flow of weapons?
UNKNOWN: [Unintelligible] Benjamin, will you translate? BERGNER: Didn’t get a translation?
UNKNOWN: No. No, sir.
BERGNER: Okay, sir. Go ahead.
DUBIK: John, I’ll start while they’re doing the translation …
DUBIK: … if you don’t mind and Gen. Babaker can then follow. In terms of the Iranian reduction, I think that we’re all thankful for the commitment that Iran has made to reduce the flow of weapons and explosives and training into Iraq. And as a result of that, it has made some contribution to the reduction of violence. It still remains I think to be seen the percentage of reduction and we hope that over time that the same commitment that has been made stays in effect.
COOKSON: Asks question off microphone.
DUBIK: I’d be hard pressed to give a percentage because that makes the assumption that you know what the baseline is and, therefore, you can make a percentage so I’d be real hesitant to do that.
COOKSON: Asks question off microphone.
DUBIK: They’re very important and I think, Kevin, if you’d pick up on that one.
BERGNER: This is another step in what has been an ongoing engagement. And the government of Iraq proposed another trilateral meeting to discuss the security situation in their country that I understand from our Ambassador that the U.S. government accepted the Iraqi government’s invitation and communicated the same; that we would be willing to meet as well. But as Gen. Dubik pointed out, it’s important here that the commitments that have been made start to see real progress that’s statistically significant, that’s measurable, and that is sustained over time. And so that’s what, hopefully, these talks will be able to continue the focus on. Thank you.
UNKNOWN: Yeah, we had trouble with the earpiece.
[Discussion off microphone.]
BERGNER: Okay. So does Gen. Babaker have a good comm set yet or not? No? It’s from the booth? Okay. How about we go to—please.
REP2: As-Salāmu `Alaykum. Asks question in Arabic.
INT: [Unintelligible] from Radio Sawa. General Babaker, you have mentioned that some units from Besmaya that will be taking care of the security situation in Baghdad. When are you going to take over operations in Baghdad? And also, have a triple—I have a question for you. Two days ago in Ankarada, the injury of a woman from the Blackwater company and up to the situation up to now those security companies have been doing different abuse to people. When are you going to have supplemental control and when are you going to stop those operations? Do you guys have any kind of preparations or operations in term of are you going to investigate or you think that the situation will stay as it is?
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: Thank you very much. Of course there are some good increase of the Iraqi security forces and it is continual as you have heard in the report I was briefing you. There are some good formations of the units, battalions, brigades that have been formed. Some others have been underway to formation depending on our priorities. In term of taking care of the security situation depends on the—we have timelines. Baghdad is different from other provinces because Baghdad is the capitol and it has to be secured 100% for us to be able and capable of taking care of the situation. Here in Baghdad so far we have three divisions: the 9th Division, the 11th Division, and the 6th Infantry Division. Parallel with that: local police, national police as well. And we have, Insha'Allah, you will see some good news about Baghdad that we are increasing of our forces here.
REP2: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: Do you think that there are some taking care of—is there some transfer of Iraqi in other provinces rather than Baghdad?
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: He says no. In term of the security companies, of course the Iraqi government has limited some activities of most of the security companies and now the load has been sent to the Parliament and it mentioned all the different categories. Those security companies they work according to the Security CPA Law Number 17 and they have no protection under the Iraqi government. We have some strong limitation and restriction that for any company that will abuse Iraqi citizen. What happened in Barada [ph] for—what has happened previously, we have arrested some other people in term of trying to limit the activities of these people who are trying to exceed the Iraqi law. We have [unintelligible] VIP’s convoy. We have also published some good legislation in term of the VIP convoys that we are going to punish them as well. Of course we do not have established legislation yet because the CPA has published the military discipline law and also [unintelligible] law. That’s why now we are in formation. For example, there were some way the Minister of Defense has published their court. We are in the process to establish our courts that belong to the Minister of Interior courthouses.
DUBIK: If I could follow up on a couple of your questions. With respect to the security companies, there’s a much better information flow between the Coalition Forces, the security companies, and the Ministry of Interior and Defense that has allowed common investigations and common issues to be raised. So this has been a very positive development in the security company issue. With respect to Baghdad, Minister al-Asadi and I chair a committee that meets about every two or three weeks and the purpose of this committee is to look at each neighborhood of Baghdad and supervise the hiring of police forces and the training of police forces for each neighborhood with a timeline to meet so that the security of those neighborhoods can slowly be turned over to the Iraqi Security Forces whether they’re military or police. That plan is in place. We’ve had I think four or five meetings already. We have another one next week and the hiring process and training process is going on. It started in Abu Ghraib with I think over 1,700 local people hired to be policemen there and we’re going neighborhood by neighborhood. Thanks. Yes, sir.
REP3: Thank you. I’m Justin Ed [ph] from ABC News. Sir, with—my question is regarding the 19 month detention of AP Pulitzer Prizewinning photographer Bilal Hussein and my question is, what evidence do you have to hold Bilal for the 19 months and what security threat does he pose?
BERGNER: This individual was detained in April of 2006 as a result of his interactions with insurgent activities. He was considered to be a security threat at the time of his detention and over the course of that time his case has been reviewed a number of times by the standing board that does periodic reviews of individuals in detention. In each instance the recommendation was to continue detention because of the continued security threat that he represented. And, as you know, we are now at a point where that case is to be conveyed to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq for judicial consideration as well. So that’s the situation and that’s the basis for the detention and the basis for referral of charges. Thank you.
REP3: If I may ask just one other question regarding this though—actually two questions. One is what specific evidence? I mean there must be— I mean who’s leading the investigation? Who is the leading legal team if you will on this end that’s bringing forth these charges and this evidence that he was colluding with insurgents? And also, it came to our attention earlier today from a source in the area where Bilal was arrested that there’s a search on as well for his brother and I’m wondering if that’s part of the process as well. Does his brother play a role in his detention? Or is his brother just another person that you’re looking for?
BERGNER: He was detained by Coalition Forces and Coalition Forces are developing and have developed the basis of evidence that will now be presented by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. And I don’t have information about another individual, familial or other, that’s related to this. Yes, sir.
REP4: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: Two questions. The first one for Babaker Zibari about the waken up group in Bakladal [ph] and the tribe waking up group. How do you look into it; do you have the executive power against—who managed this groups? You or the Coalition Forces? Are they controlled by the Iraqi government or the Coalition Forces? The second question is for General Dubik. What—there is some infiltration about Coalition Forces and they have been—there’s some reports about abusing of the Iraqi people. For example, in Atafiyah area where they have used Iraqi children. What do you say about abuse—for example, in case there’s some Coalition Forces abusing some Iraqi citizen?
BABAKER: Thank you very much. About the waking up group or the rescue group or the Mulkillah [ph] groups, those people used security weapon against the Iraqi Army and they used to consider U.S. forces as occupying forces and we used to be in their—betrayers and traitors. They come to find that they were wrong and al Qaeda was— they realized that al Qaeda was trying to impose their thoughts on them. They came back to the lap of their government and to the lap of their people. And now with the coordination with the Coalition Forces and the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense and the Coalition Forces and to the direct supervision by the crisis cell that is chaired by the Prime Minister, we have absolutely got big, great benefit from this group. And the best evidence is in Anbar, if you will see Anbar. During the [unintelligible] time Anbar was not in this shape. Days ago they came back—this group came to Abamiyah [ph] and they are on their way also to defeat terrorism and Diyala the same thing and Salah ad Din the same thing. And, Insha'Allah, we are going to continue and support our people.
REP4: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: Those people—how are you going to manage them? We have a plan? How are we going to include them?
BABAKER: We have a plan. Whoever they belong to we are going to enlist them and the Ministry of Defense and some others will be under the Ministry of Interior and they will be as an emergency battalion for the national police or the local police or some other [unintelligible] like I said, they will be joining the Ministry of Defense. And if both Ministries will not be able to include them we are going to forward them to the civil ministries.
AL-ASADI: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: I would like—Minister of Interior was able to include a big number of waking up group on temporary contracts. The big advantage in attitude of security. But the second thing, those people they used to prevent police—they used to prevent Iraqis to join the military but now most of those people they would love to enlist and recruit to the Shirta or to the police. The good thing is now they used to be against and now they are with us.
DUBIK: With respect to your question about abuse of Iraqi citizens, of course, you know that all the Coalition Forces, U.S. forces, follow a very strict law and code of military justice and that this kind of behavior is not something that we condone nor do we permit. So if a case like this is known to Coalition Force commanders, it’s investigated very thoroughly and then based on the facts, we take corrective action against the soldiers or set of soldiers that an incident like this occurred. I don’t know of any specific case in the area that you mentioned. But if you have such information afterward we’d be happy to take it so we can do the proper investigation.
REP5: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: In al-Atafiyah area, it was like two weeks ago, the Coalition Forces they led a search of about one or two houses but what happened, they killed some innocent kids and this subject was mentioned to the Colonel and this is all what I have. But I understood that the Coalition For …
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: I think it was not search or but what happened was an operation— there was some shooting coming from a house so the Coalition Forces they start shooting back. So it was not a search.
REP5: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: This is how I got this from the Parliament, they said was two houses and they said there was one house—a Sunni house next to a Shi’a house and some innocent people—some innocent children got killed. He says, “I do not think it was a sea—it was not an operation.” He says, “General James, have you heard about this case?”
DUBIK: No. I have not. But again, if—any innocent loss of life is regrettable from all our standpoints and I’m sure that, again, if this occurred as you described that there’s an investigation that follows it. I have not heard of that specific incident. I don’t know, Kevin, if you’ve …
BERGNER: I have not. And so there’s really nothing else to add at this point other than if there are those kinds of allegations, they need to be brought forward to the appropriate authorities. And as General Dubik said, we take them with the greatest of seriousness just as anyone would expect and we would fully investigate them. Yes, sir.
REP6: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: Ayar Abudiyah [ph] from [unintelligible]. Sorry, for the Major General. You said that you have a—that there are some member of Iraqi had been trained with the American weapon. Do you think that there’s some intention of using—are you going to journalist the use of the weapon of the MOD? Well he said General, not a Major General.
BABAKER: Of course there’s going to be from now on we’re going to equip Iraqi Army with the American weapon. We have provided some—equipped some divisions with M-4 and M-16—we will be at the same level with the American battalions.
REP7: Ann—excuse me. Ann Simmons with The Los Angeles Times. And there have been reports of a suicide bombing in Ramadi today and I was wondering whether or not you could shed some light on how significant this might be considering the fact that that particular region has been relatively calm in recent months?
DUBIK: Well, I’ll start. I did not hear that report this morning anyway. But we have said all along that while the security situation right now is much better than it had been in previous months and much better than certainly it was earlier this year that the enemies of security in Iraq still have the capability and the desire for horrific attacks. This is an enemy that is cunning, ruthless, and desires to figure out another way to re-engender violence and to steal from the Iraqi people the kinds of improved security that they have right now. So from our standpoint, the war is not over and the security situation again, while improved, requires additional hard work and sacrifice on behalf of Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Security Forces.
BERGNER: Yes, sir.
REP8: My question is to General Zibari. I’ll speak in Arabic and then in English. Asks question in Arabic.
INT: My question for—you said about waking up group that they used to fight Iraqi Security Forces and the Coalition Forces. Do you have any guarantees that they’re not going to lead another operation against the Iraqi government?
REP8: My question …
BERGNER: If I could, just let’s let General Babaker answer your first question
and we’ll come right back to you.
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: Of course, we have a guarantee because they have got to the point that they have realized their mistake. As you know that terrorism has not come in according to a strong foundation thinking that they’re coming for—to lead some process. They’re coming to damage Iraq. And the Sunni and the—they were able to—because the terrorism was able to create problems between Sunni and Shi’a [unintelligible]. Of course, those people have came back to their minds and they want to continue their—continue with the Iraqi Security Forces. Those people have been working bravely with the Iraqi Security Forces. It’s very—it’s a really great idea dealing with them because they used to be a member of the terrorism; now we are getting a great advantage of this. That’s why their helping of the improving security situation and, Insha'Allah, we’re giving advantage of them and they’re going to be a great support for us in the future as well. For example, just in Diyala, we have about 100—many, many operations they have—how many sheikhs or tribe leaders in Anbar they have been killed in this— under those people’s hand?
REP8: General, my question is again, what guarantees do you have that the awakening councils won’t attack Coalition or Iraqi Government Forces? And we’re hearing numbers of the awakening council exceeding 70,000 people. Are you concerned that you will manage to organize them afterwards?
DUBIK: On Monday I had a chance to visit the citizens and the leadership in a small town southeast of Baghdad called Garguliyah [ph]. And I had a chance to meet the tribal leaders, the civic leaders, the national police brigade commander, the government leaders for the town. And this is a place that both Sunni and Shi’a citizens are participating as concerned citizens and helping improve the security in their village. All of them said, in their own way, that the change in their lives and the security that was now part of their community was a result of their collective commitment. It wasn’t just some people who used to be fighting, and it wasn’t just the national police, and it wasn’t just the tribal leaders. It was all of them who had made a conscious decision to change the circumstance in their community. In this case, they are closely supported by some great soldiers from the MultiNational Division Center and they are working very closely to help them continue this momentum. So my sense from having spoken to Iraqi citizens, who are out there putting their lives on the line now taking ownership of the security situation in their communities, is that their resolve is the most important answer to your question. They have made up their minds and they have resolved to change the circumstance in their country. In this case in one small community that’s part of their country. And so I am quite encouraged by that. If you talk to our commanders and the captains, the lieutenants, and the majors who are out there every day working with these brave Iraqi citizens, they would tell you the same thing. So I think it’s a function of their resolve and I think that’s the important consideration here as you look at how the Shabal [ph] Iraq are going to move forward from this point. Shukran.
REP9: Asks question off microphone.
DUBIK: I don’t have any change numbers from what Admiral Smith I think provided in the last update. But I will follow up with you afterwards to make sure we give you the most accurate ones. Thank you. Yes, sir.
REP10: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: From Asamariyah [ph] Satellite. Deputy Minister, I am asking about—you just mentioned about the recruiting and enlisting and growing of the MOI forces. For example, I’m talking about the Unity Battalion that was formed in February and after the crisis of Latifiyah. Mr. Deputy, up to now this battalion has not been in any mission; not in Latifiyah, not in another area. As I understand that this battalion has been at about 600 personnel. They have their equipment. I was in Mansour and they are saying, “Okay. Why do you guys have frozen up this battalion? Why do you hired and recruited them?
AL-ASADI: And regard [unintelligible] Unity Battalion, they have been formed, they have been equipped, they had some shortage of the training. Then Ministry of Interior went and was in consultation with the Prime Minister’s office; some configuration needed to be done and then about one month or two month they will be back up to its formation again. We have some priorities at the same time unless we have a federal financial allocation for them they will be able to …
BERGNER: We have time for one more question.
INT: Speaks briefly in Arabic.
REP11: Question for the Chief of Staff. Iraqi military—all the operation they have done, they were internal operations. They have been trying to defeat the up-armored—just feed the armored groups, now after all the equipment that you have been getting, what kind of operations you will participate? And the other question, what are the 11 phases that you are going to—you’re talking about the American equipment. You talk about 11 phases. Do you have any timeline for the 11 phases?
BABAKER: In regard to the Iraqi Security Forces, the way that we have the Iraqi military to counter terrorism right now. The current equipment of the Iraqi security forces is for this match this kind of threat that we have. We have about modernization of plant that’s for the 10 years after now or 15 years after now is to measure—that so we have some plans of how to modernize our forces that will be able to have external capability. Now we have the Coalition Forces. Now with regard to the capability of the U.S., we have the Coalition Forces that’s with us right now so we are just can’t match our capability with the threat that we have. In regard of the hour of readiness, we are still at point two. The second question was—what did you say the second question?
REP11: Asks question in Arabic.
INT: In regard to the American weapons.
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: Okay, the same thing that I just mentioned. We have an agreement with the FMS program with [unintelligible] so we get weapon very gradually. As you know those weapons require different training. As you know Iraqi—we have more than 200,000 Iraqi defense forces so that means that will require we have a specific and planned timeline and I would say that for the middle of 2008 we will be able to complete.
BERGNER: Yes, ma’am.
REP12: As-Salāmu `Alaykum. Asks question in Arabic.
INT: As-Salāmu `Alaykum. Layla [ph] Ashamarif [ph] from the [Unintelligible] Newspaper. So Chief of Staff, the Deputy, and distinguished guests. We know that—I will say it in a very straight line so that way will be able to translate. Say if a house will be kept from a door and the windows meaning that everybody—this mean that every—if a house is like a box and if it’s kept the right way will be able to control inside of the house. Meaning, if you will be able to control the borders of Iraq, we will be able to control Iraq. Mister Sir, let me mention one thing. I was trying to get to Basrah, I was trying to get to Syria and now all the borders are open. I’m going to be honest to you and I want my word to get to everybody. Pay $10,000 and you will be able to get anything inside Iraq and outside of Iraq. Please, please, all the distinguished guests, I would like you to be able to control. I want you to know that everything is getting into Iraq through Iraqi borders. Woman pay $10,000 and you will be able to get whatever you want inside Iraq. Please to protect our country to protect the Iraqi women and to protect Iraqi kids and Iraqi citizens. Please control the borders so we will be able to control the inside of Iraq.
AL-ASADI: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: We will not be able to establish security internally or in the border if citizen will not participate with us. For example, Iraqi Security Force will not be able to establish control if we don’t have full peoples’ participation. That’s why Iraqi people they need to participate and give information. Unless we have information we’ll not be able to track. That’s why every single Iraqi citizen need to be accountable. For example, whatever you have seen, you need to contact us. You need to tell us about it. As you know that we have many borders and if you—there’s a huge difference in our security in term of borders this year over two years ago. We have about 40,000 Iraqi border police that are now trying to control the borders. But please, please when you have those numbers or you have some statistics, please contact us and give us information.
REP12: I swear to God, Mr. Deputy, I will tell you that one of my friends— somebody that I knew that he said he got some weapons smuggled in and he put it in a cigarette box. And he says, “Well, I wish if you’ve given me this information.” And the reason I’m telling you is please, I’m giving you my name that way everybody knows that I’m not lying. I’m giving you the right information.
AL-ASADI: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: He says, “I will give you my phone number, my direct phone number and you can contact me.”
REP12: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: He [sic] says, “Actually the operation was in my hand. I was able—I was—if I had anybody’s phone number I would have given you information. I wish—she says that she went to the General Babaker’s office but they would not let her in.
BABAKER: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: In Iraq we have started from zero. We didn’t have police, you didn’t have military. So the beginning was not easy, the beginning was not easy. So all the problems were sitting one another like layers in the military and the police. Now we are able to stand up on our feet. Easy—slowly but slowly we are able to take care of ourself. For example, look at the United States government at their [unintelligible]. With such a strong and great country and they’re not able to control it. What do you think we will be able—he says we have farms, we have—it’s not easy. 400 kilometers to be controlled. It’s not easy. For example, he’s saying, “Securing our security situation is not easy to control but, Insha'Allah, we’ll get everything.
BERGNER: I think--do you have time for one more? Okay. Actually, go ahead.
REP13: Just very quickly. Going back to the Bilal Hussein. The mountain of evidence that you have against him, are we talking weapons, phone records, computer disks, anything that would—and also the report that he was arrested or detained in his house, in his apartment with— I’m sorry. That he was detained in his apartment as well with several other members that were classified as insurgents as well. Can you shed any light on that as well?
DUBIK: I don’t have any other information to share with you on the specifics of what you’re asking for. I do know that the case that’s being referred to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq will look at all of that. But that’s as specific as I can be with you at this moment. I’ll follow up with you if there is other data.
BERGNER: There was one gentleman over here and he’s the last question.
REP14: Thank you very much. [Unintelligible] from AFP [unintelligible].
Can you give us a brief update on the situation in Adamiyah please? And did you hear about these revolutionaries of Adamiyah? Do you have any idea? Can you tell us who they are exactly?
BERGNER: I couldn’t understand just because of the sound in here, the clarity of what you’re asking.
REP14: Could you give us a brief update of the situation in Adamiyah?
REP14: [Unintelligible] knows about that.
BERGNER: I’ll turn to the Deputy Minister and General Babaker first for any details you have in Adamiyah.
AL-ASADI: Speaks in Arabic.
INT: Al Adamiyah is like the other neighborhoods in Baghdad or other provinces. People are from—a lot of people from al Adamiyah. They are the one who are helping the police and the military. They are the one who are maintaining security in the al Adamiyah. They were used to be a part of the terrorism and insurgency in al Adamiyah. So they are now a strong hand. For example, participation of the Iraqi people, it’s not only just, you know, it’s like you have 95% of them there are from the tribes so—this is one. The awakening group is one thing. On the other hand we have is Iraqi Security Forces. Also increasing the U.S. forces in Iraq, the Coalition Forces in Iraq, help the security situation as well.
BERGNER: I really want to thank the Chief of Defense, my old friend, and the Senior Deputy Minister, my new friend, for taking the time this afternoon to come provide an update as only you can as the senior security leaders for Iraq and we thank you very much. General Dubik, sir, thank you as well. Shukranan jazeelan and masaran [ph].
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