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Transcript: Iraq's Interim Prime Minister

Ayad Allawi Mets with Washington Post Reporters and Edtiors

washingtonpost.com and The Washington Post
Monday, September 27, 2004; 2:45 PM

Iterim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi talked to Washington Post editors and reporters Friday, Sept. 24, 2004 during his visit to Washington. Here is a transcript of the discussion. Edited audio excerpts are also available on washingtonpost.com.

QIf the elections are going to take place in January, can you afford to wait until December to deal with Fallujah and some of these problems? Can you afford to wait? I mean we're told Fallujah won't be dealt with until December because your force isn't going to be ready until November or December. But, that's awfully close to January and is there a problem in those two schedules and how they work together?

_____Governing Iraq_____
Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told Washington Post editors he wants to expedite the training of Iraqi forces. Listen to edited excerpts.
Audio: Security in Iraq
Audio: Fighting Insurgents
Audio: Democracy in Iraq

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: To be frank you know, we are discussing plans when and how and whether we use only force or other means, whether we get involved with the tribes, whith others, to help us or to go back into Fallujah and use military force so this is being discussed and if we go when and how. There isn't December timing for the ending of the problem in Fallujah.

We are still considering an active plan and I think it's a solid good plan. I can't go into details, but we will implement this plan, and I am sure that it will bring the desired results.

QYou said there's not a December date?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: It wouldn't be the actual December, it would be before.

QAnd do you think that the outcome back in April, is Fallujah a source of a lot of the problems you are having in Baghdad and elsewhere?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Fallujah is the main source, is the prime what we call is the prime location of the problem is in Fallujah. As I have been explaining, you probably know Fallujah and you have seen Fallujah I have no doubt. It is located in a very unique but very important place where from Fallujah you could virtually go anywhere. If you go south you go to Najaf and (inaudible) and you go west of course you go to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Syria and Jordan; northeast Samarah and so on.

And Fallujah, as you know, is part of the Anbar province. In Anbar there are about 50 cities, some of them the size of Fallujah, some of them smaller and some of them bigger.

Fallujah itself is surrounded by a lot of farms and ranches and so on, so it is easy to hide in the rural parts of Fallujah.

It is definitely the primary source, but when we talk about Fallujah as the primary source, we don't only talk about the buildings, the center of Fallujah, the downtown as you call it here of Fallujah, it's the wider area where you have farms and you have rural and deserts and waters and rivers.

So really the area of Fallujah, some of it is Fallujah and some of it is within the Anbar Province. That's why there isn't a specified place in Fallujah, that one could go in and say this is the insurgents and this is bin Laden and this is Zarqawi and this is (inaudible) and this is God knows what.

But definitely we have been lately -- and I can say this with confidence -- - improving our intelligence significantly. And refining the targeting where, you know, a lot of the al Qaeda and (inaudible) have been killed. And we think because this is escalating, maybe they are trying to hit us first with the suicidal bombers aimed specially at the police and the important centers because they feel that they need to stop Iraq building its forces perhaps seeing that they have been engaged with Iraq forces, they have seen this in Najaf and they have seen elsewhere in Tall Afar and other places successfully. So they want to bring to a halt the development of Iraq's forces.

QMr. Prime Minister, I want to ask you a couple of questions about the election. Yesterday -- the problems you may have and the Secretary of Defense suggested that the election might not be held in all parts of the country. How likely do you think that is and, secondly, what steps are you taking to ensure that the registration, the 600 registration stations be UN and U.S. officials and Iraqi electoral commission will be involved in preparing for this election don't become targets and open up a whole new wave of attacks?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well let me tell you, you know, this is becoming too hypothetical whether in January we are going to still have Fallujah or not. I think the elections should involve all Iraq, all Iraq is capable, this is what we believe in and this is what we are working towards. And also to make the country secure for the elections to take place.

Now ifs and buts really are for later, not now, until we see how things are going. So this is the first part of the question. I don't want to go into theoretical guessing whether, you know, there would be parts of Iraq not engaged in the elections and parts engaged. I don't know.

QAre you suggesting just before that there might be some delay--

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: No, no, no I'm not suggesting that, no. You are saying that there are parts based on the statement of the Secretary of Defense, that there would be probably parts of Iraq who are not going to be part of the elections. Isn't that what your question?

I don't want to comment on theoretical issues, that may be or maybe not. What I am saying is that we will have the elections, all Iraqis eligible to be part of the elections, will be part of the elections. The elections should take place in all the country. I don't want to really go into theories whether a village in Basra is not able to cast their votes or a village, I don't know, these are all theories.

And the United Nations involvement, we have been asking the United Nations to get more and more involved and I have met with the envoy of the United Nations two days ago and I am meeting Mr. Annan today, this afternoon, to encourage the United Nations to really get more actively involved in helping us and preparing the elections.

I am also trying to find an answer for the statement that was attributed to Mr. Annan saying that the elections may be delayed, because when I asked his envoy when his envoy came to see me in New York, I asked him and they said, no, the elections as far as we are concerned we are planning with you to have the elections in January. So I hope and I am sure that the United Nations would help and people would come in and the elections will take place in due course.

QIs it your hope that there will be one joint ticket of many of the parties that have worked together?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: This is certainly discussed between the various groups and-- Some are with, some are against, it's not final yet.

QSome people are worried that if there was a combined ticket of all those parties, it would seem as if the elections were not that competitive. Does that worry you at all?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Some are, some are not, this is democracy and we have to get the consensus ultimately of the people, what they think and what they believe in because equal to those or even more probably those who do not want one ticket. There are others who believe in one ticket elections so we need to discuss amongst ourselves in Iraq.

QBecause? What advantage does that--

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well, frankly, because of limitation of time and various other restrictions, many political parties are thinking that one ticket is much more safer at this stage. Many individuals and national figures in Iraq, they think that they would lose in a party system. So you know the discussion is going on and I am sure that we will get to a consensus shortly, in the next ten days or so, and make a final decision on how the elections should be done.

QWhat do you favor?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: A mixture of both.

QWhich is?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Both a coalition between parties and individuals getting the separate, two lists, I'm in favor of two lists. Two lists. One list is the coalition of parties and another is coalition of individuals who are not wanting to be joining the parties, so there would be two tickets.

Q(inaudible) I gather that there's now a tripartite military committee on Syria, Syria military, Iraqi military and multinational force military. Has it met yet? What's on its agenda? What do you it hope to accomplish? And second, there's a lot of confusion in the United States about what Iran is and is not doing to help the insurgency. Summarize for us.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Yes. Well Syria, I personally went to Syria. I was invited and met with them and we discussed not only border issues but issues beyond the borders. And there was a slight improvement in the position of Syria then. So we wanted to carry this further. With respect to the multinational force, I again spoke with the Syrians and the Minister of the Interior I sent him to Syria with a letter to the President of Syria to talk about forming this trilateral committee between Syria, Iraq and the multinational force, not only to look at the issues of borders and crossing the borders, but also to look at the movement of individuals who are suspected of being part or supplying or supporting the insurgency in Iraq.

So there was an agreement from the Syrians and the President of Syria concurred. The committee met two days ago for the first time on the borders in the (inaudible) area and is setting up the details of its forthcoming meetings.

We hope really this would take over, be successful, because if it does, there will be many issues that would result.

On the Iranian side, we definitely have perceptions and tensions which all started in the past when Saddam tried to invade Iran, and we are trying to start a healthy, positive dialogue with them and I sent the deputy prime minister to go to Iran and he met with the President of Iran and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Khamenei, the spiritual leader of Iran, and they agreed on themes and titles, cooperation and discussions. I am meeting the Iranian foreign minister here in New York and I have an invitation to go to Tehran. I'll go I think once I go back but once we agree on the parameters and what should be discussed and what should be agreed upon.

We feel that the views that we are saying to our people in the region that the problems in Iraq are not going to remain within the borders of Iraq, and the problem is going to spill over. And it is really in the interest of all countries around Iraq to help, because this is good for both Iraq and well as the region.

We are also saying that Iraq may be just passing now through that difficult phase but it's going to overcome the difficulties and it's going to emerge as a very powerful country in the region, as it has been before, a very powerful country in the region. And the new Iraq is going to really embark on peace and dialogue with its neighbors rather than aggression and wars and fights.

And we now have also suggested that there should be a meeting of the neighbors, plus the G8, plus the who remains the P-5, the permanent members of the Security Council which is China and Russia, and also the European representative from the European Community, and the chairman of the summit conference, which is Malaysia, the Arab summit which is Tunisia and the GCC, Gulf Cooperation Council. UAE.

The meeting have been agreed upon now and it will take place in November next on the level of the foreign ministers. It will be hosted by Egypt and chaired by Egypt and today there is a meeting in New York between our minister in foreign affairs and the G8 to start putting the agenda for this coming meeting. So we hope that this meeting would be another step in developing peace and stability in the region.

Q Is it your understanding that you're likely to get up to 800 Georgian troops and some Fijian troops to help enhance security with the election?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: We are trying to get more protection for the process of election, and in my speech today to the UN I will incorporate this, asking people to help. It is really to give assurances rather than real protection because, as I said, if you look at Iraq now and you will go through systematically through the various provinces, you wouldn't find what I find in the press. I find Fallujah, Fallujah is the dominating -- well I don't find that there are many other provinces who are quite good there are no problems there, it's quite safe. I have been to some of them very recently and never have any problem, mixed with the people, saw the people, saw elections and in Umm Qasr I attended the elections and I went to the polling stations. And most of the people went and cast their votes, they were electing a municipal council.

So we expect, of course, al Qaeda and the insurgents to try and block or undermine the elections, but so far they are becoming more virulent in their attacks. But more areas in Iraq are being cleared.

Q It's very hard for alot of us to reconcile the stories today there were six more Egyptians- -- someone burst in their office and took them away... your version of the growing tranquility in Iraq with the news out of Iraq every day of more hostage seizures, more car bombings.

QAnd not just Fallujah, somebody in Mosul was killed.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well of course, I mean I'm not saying that everywhere is 100 percent safe but you could see, I can count for you, you can look at the incidents yourselves. The various governors in Iraq. Nobody, for example, talks about Najaf or Karbala, there is nothing there now. It's safe. (inaudible) you know where Saddam's place ... no problem there. The Diwaniyah, minster of defense areas, it's very safe. Samawa, Kut, you know, Basra itself, I was there myself in Basra. Nasiriyah. So really I haven't detected that people talk about these places which are quite good, no problems. When I say no problems it doesn't mean there is no, somebody shooting another this happens everywhere, huh, sorry?

Q But you go under tight security provided by the American armed forces...

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Yes, but I go and mix with the tribes, with the people, with the governors, with the Council of Governors in these places. I go and meet. And Basra I went to the polling stations and met with people, ordinary people. I met with them, talked to them and I saw how they were casting their ballots. Plus we hear and listen to people all through Iraq.

They are trying to inflict as much damage as they can now, the insurgents, and especially the powers who are linked to the extreme groups like al Qaeda and (inaudible) and Jihad and I don't know what, Every day they have that kind of a new name. But these are attacks, suicidal cars, they haven't been able to destabilize the areas, cities they are operating in. The only now, for now you know tomorrow something may happen, but for now the only place which is not really that safe is the Fallujah, the downtown Fallujah. The rest there are varying degrees, some, most of the provinces are really quite safe.

QMr. Prime Minister, does that suggest that you think that the dispute with Sadr- -- is under control?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well let me put it this way, it is definitely, definitely it was a setback to Moqtada Sadr. I think his people now face, some of them have to be brought to justice, the others are negotiating a way out and they have started surrendering their weapons. There have been many caches, weapon caches in their strongholds. We have made it very clear from the very beginning that we are not negotiating with them, that there is only one way for them to throw [down] their arms, to behave within law and order and to surrender to the government and to be part of the political process.

This is the course we maintain and this is the course we are going to keep with them and with others.

Anybody who have committed crimes, if they belong to

Sadr group or they belong to the insurgents, there is no way for them but to be brought to justice. The others who are, you know, involved in the problems, we have an amnesty, they can use the amnesty and say we are law abiding citizens and they can be running a presidential election to be members of new parliament, we don't mind. But we are not tolerating behaviors outside the law. This is unacceptable, we want to move Iraq into a democracy and we want to move Iraq into a positive democracy and this is really our intention.

I tell them, I say to them if you want to be part and you want to run this country then we have the elections. If you really represent the people of Iraq, January is coming and you can be elected by the people and then you can decide what you want. Whether you want the multinational force or whether you want to make Iraq an Islamic state, whether you want to elect bin Laden, it's up to you. But you can't do this, you can't force things on us. We have fought Saddam for 30 years, we will fight you, we will keep on fighting. We are saying to you that there is an election, there is democratic courses, let the people be the judges of these democratic courses. You can't force issues on us, that's what Saddam did. I have been meeting them in various places, in my house and without going with armies and whatever, me sitting with them in their houses but face to face with them.

Some of them are now cooperating with the government, they see daylight, they see that this is what you are talking sense and you know January is very close, just a few months from now. And the people then should and could decide what they want.

QWe have our own elections in November as you know, is there anything that you hear out of the Kerry campaign that disturbs you about supporting an Iraq or what might happen?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: You know, frankly let me tell you, I was asked, invited to come here and to go to London by Prime Minister Blair and others about two months ago. But I frankly suggested to them that I would rather prefer to visit the region as a first step and then come to see you and to thank you for whatever you have done for Iraq.

My first trip was really to the region, to meet the Arab leaders of the Arab states, and to explain to them that what happened in Iraq and to get Iraq back into the fold of the Arab world and the Muslim nations.

It so happened that the General Assembly is being held now of the United Nations and I thought it is a good time to come to London and Washington and see how their leaders who really have stood and helped Iraq and liberated Iraq and to thank the people of the United States and the president for their attitude and helping Iraq both before liberation, during liberation and after liberation. And this is why I am here. Unfortunately, it seems it coincided with the heat of the elections here and I don't want to be dragged into internal politics of the United States. But you have to be very clear, we are (inaudible) but we respect a lot what the United States have done for Iraq and the people and the commitment of the people of the United States. And we have been coming to the United States and talking to policymakers here before even this administration was in place. When Clinton was president and his people were there, we used to come and meet and discuss and we as opposition then enjoyed a lot of support of the administration, again of the United States and following administration of President Bush. And we have seen the attitude and the fighting spirit of the brave man and women who risk even their lives to help us, to help the Iraqis.

Whether the campaign of this president or that president-to-be talks about some things, we have no part of this. We like to see a commitment, a continuous commitment from the United States to work with us and to help us.

QAnd you don't feel you were used by President Bush at all? To promote his own policy or prove his successs?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: My reading into this is not like yours. You may think that he used us, I don't know. I don't really know. We have been planning, as I said, this visit since a very long time, after sovereignty immediately, but I wanted to go to the region first and I apologized and asked to defer the visit till later. So I left it-- and you know to be in Baghdad is very important at this stage as well, preparing for the election.

QI'd like to ask you about how you worked with the American military. How often did you talk to Gen. Casey? Do you put attacks before him, do you request attacks? Conversely does he bring major operations to you for approval? And to specific mechanics do you have liaison officers either in your office or in his headquarters?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: We have worked out a coordinating committee and a joint operation committee between us and the multinational force. And this committee has also branched out into the various provinces. They discuss in this committee joint operations, no operation takes place if I don't sanction it myself. I have to agree on the operation myself. I get briefed by the chief of the staff, the Iraqi chief of staff, I get briefed by the head of the joint command center almost every day on the situation all over the country. And I meet with Gen. Casey regularly at least once a week if not more.

I have in my office representatives who are in the joint command center between both us and the multinational force and the relationship is very good.

QAs you look at your security forces, do you worry that election will force you to pusht hem to fast, as happened last spring in April with the trying to get foces to go fight...

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: I have been trying just really to push as much as I can to establish our ministry of defense, our units and our special intervention units and our mechanized units, and if I had my way I would expedite this, of course, but we are restrained by getting some of the officers back and the vetting procedures and we have to depend on loyalty also. But we are moving now rapidly, we are moving progressively, we have some good units in operations now. The whole operations of Najaf was done by Iraqi forces and police forces, and the minister of defense was all the time there but we were on the telephone constantly me and him, and I went twice to Najaf at the very peak of the (inaudible) and without the escorts and (inaudible).

And you know we believe that as soon as the Iraqis are capable of having their own security, then the multinational force would leave Iraq. We won't need the multinational force. We'll of course acknowledge the role they have planed and the important role they have played but we prefer ultimately to take the security into the hands of Iraqis.

That's why we in Najaf really because it's a holy place, we could not but deploy Iraqis and they proved to be excellent. They did their job and they were very brave. And we did not see any problem although the enemies equipments were far superior than the armaments of the Iraqi army. The best we had was a what you call it Kalashnikov AK-47, while the insurgents had Katushas and rocket launchers and God knows what. But our people really were fighting even some of them we are fighting with shotguns.

QU.S. forces would not give your people the equipment they needed?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: It's not that. Well we don't need from the, we can buy our own but this is a procedure, you know, our armies-- and the minister of defense just two months before sovereignty was formed so we are building up and we have acquired weapons from Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Morocco as well as training. I went to, I spoke to King Abdullah, I spoke to Sheik Zayed, I spoke to Hosni Mubarak and told them we don't have anything. We can't face the insurgents as Iraqis if we don't equip our military. So they immediately gave us some and now it is much better. I am talking about a month ago when Najaf was on .

So this shows the importance, that's why we believe that as soon as we can really develop our capabilities, we'll be able to take the controls of the security in the country.

QAnd when do you think that is?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well this is happening I guess on the current plans which we need to expedite, well on paper it should end and be ready in the end of next year, by the end of the year 2005. We are trying to expedite it. Now I don't know what is going to happen in January we'll take over, but at least we are putting the foundations that we should expedite this as soon as we can.

QOne of the arguments of the pessimists is that in the meantime the American soldiers remain so unpopular in Iraq that anything they do in fighting the insurgents only creates more insurgents and more opposition to the multinational force.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well I tell you something. Look, I met with people from some 40, clerics, tribal leaders, politicians, ex-Army officers, ex-Saddam officers, Republican Guards. Samarra is part of the Sunni heartland and I was talking to them and I said, okay, you want the multinational force why you are fighting now? In January you can kick them out, whatever, you can declare war on the United States. But now just stop this nonsense of shooting but I want to ask you a question. Do you really believe that you serve the interest of Iraq now to ask the United States and the multinational force to leave? I said answer me honestly, openly, clearly, in my house, no guards. I said do you think that Iraq would stand as Iraq if now the multinational force would leave, and you say that, you come from the Sunni triangle, do you think that you will be safe?

You know what their answer was? They said no, we need the multinational force to stay. I said then stop this nonsense. Is it becoming the fashion that you carry a rifle and shoot at an American or a multinational force tank? What are you doing? You have to act responsibly, you have to be addressing the problems that you have in Iraq in a very objective way. Nobody wants foreign forces to be on their territories. Nobody. No one. No sane person is wanting that. But they are requirement because we don't have army, we don't have police, we have nothing. And we are surrounded by many countries who are not that friendly to Iraq, there have been problems in the past with some of them.

So really you know okay the soldier, the soldier is geared to fight, to win wars, is not geared to do policing. Of course, there will be resentments and frictions and this and that, definitely. But the overall and the overwhelming desire of the Iraqi people, they know what they want very well, but without the multinational forces Iraq would collapse. It would completely collapse.

Until we build our forces and capabilities, we would require the presence of a multinational force. No doubt. Maybe bin Laden wants them out. Of course he wants them out. Maybe Zarqawi wants them out, of course he wants them out because this is what they are aiming at, to destabilize Iraq, initial first to destabilize the region and-- destabilize nations and people.

But are you going to listen to them and say, well the American, Australian or Japanese or a Romanian soldier is not welcomed in Iraq? Is this the answer?

So we are talking to the fringes of the insurgency and asking them do you really want this to happen and if you want this to happen, why don't you wait till the elections. That is then you will have some units and some batallions and some police and so on. The world is not terribly understanding these issues very well. They think that because people are killing, the suicidal bombers in Iraq all, all, all are not Iraqis. All are from outside Iraq.

The day I left Iraq, as I was boarding the plane, we had big operation the night before which lasted till dawn and our section of Baghdad called Haifa Street and they arrested and killed I don't know how much but they arrested 60 or 62 people. The 62 people were not Iraqis and they were caught red handed in their houses a lot of explosives in their safe houses, Syrians, Yemenis, Saudis, Palestinians, mostly were Palestinians. Maybe 50 percent were Palestinians.

Of course they want to destabilize us. Of course they want to get out the multinational force. They know that the multinational force is effective and decides to withdraw and before Iraq acquires its full strength security wise, they would destabilize Iraq.

QAnd if most Iraqis understand this, why is it so hard to catch Zarqawi? Why don't more people call you and say he's next door?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Well they are calling, you know, they are calling, people are helping. And the Moqtada Sadr case a lot of Iraqi people are helping, in Fallujah a lot of the Saudi people are helping and they are pinpointing and we are arresting them. And one of the reasons why the targeting is becoming much better by hitting the safe houses or the insurgents is because the very point you just said that the people are informing on these elements.

I sat down with the Fallujah people, a sample of them who are on the fringes of it, they said we don't have foreign fighters. I said then why are we hitting you , why we the Iraqi forces are hitting you and why the multinational force are hitting you because your name is the Fallujah citizens what?

We, you have have foreign fighters and we know from governments in the region you have foreign fighters -- (inaudible) we had a follow up meeting when they said yes, 130 left, and I said no, you still have more than 130, more than those were left. More than those-- And they are hiding in the farms and ranches. It's a very rich area with farms.

So people are coming now, they are helping, especially after sovereignty, a lot of people are trying to help. The tribes. But the other side of the scale, a lot of intimidation also, there was a cleric, a Sunni cleric who was shot, killed, a few days ago because he is part of this (speaking in Arabic) Council of Clerics... because he was a moderate and he raised his voice against the radical people using the mosques and what have you to come to-- they shot him and killed him. So they do the same techniques that Saddam used to do by frightening people and telling the people as they did al-Sadr in Najaf until the police went in and intimidating people, terrorizing.

The same thing is happening in Fallujah. They kill, they shoot, they massacre, they cut heads of people and something is unbelievable, you know, it's really unbelievable, the level of crime, the level of violence is unclear, we can't understand it why they do this.

We found that Najaf, this court, unbelievable things. People buried to here, you now, buried to their, and then killed, but but better than they died people with their heads off and put them on their chest. It's unbelievable. We are fighting and yet we see in the media you are this, you are that, you are not having elections. This is a time when really everybody they need to help, need to be part of fighting these evil forces. Even the media. You should not give them oxygen, you should not give them the luxury of presenting their case in the press, we should be hard on them, as hard as we can, all of us whether we are in the media, whether we are in running countries, whether we are in the armies -- because they are ultimately, it's not fair, they are not only after us, they know that once they are through with Iraq, they'll come after you here in Washington and New York and Cairo and everywhere.

The Russians they said we want a conference, international conference on Iraq. The Russian minister of defense. And for the resistance and the opposition to be coming to this conference. I instructed the minister of foreign affairs, I said you're going to ask the ambassador that we want also to convene a conference, international conference to discuss the issue of the Chechnya. Two days later the thing blew up in Moscow, the whole story which you know about.

So really those people are not only after us, they are after any civilization that exists in this globe.

QWho are they?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Bin Laden, al Zarqawi and these criminals, God knows what their names are, the rest of their names. But the ones who are part of, who committed the crime of New York, the ones who are killing people in Cairo, the ones who have killed children in Moscow, the ones who are killing people, innocent people in Iraq. These are who these people are. These are the dark forces the extreme forces, who believe in nothing but in blood and killing and destroying civilizations. This is what they believe in.

QThis is going to have to be the last question please.

QDo you think that these forces in Fallujah can really be defeated without a ground attack?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: No, I didn't say that. I said we are planning when we should get into Fallujah and where in Fallujah. This is being discussed. It's almost final. I can't talk about that yet. But what we do, what we have proved to be successful is to use military pressure and to use political pressureat the same time. This have worked in Najaf, it have worked in (inaudible) it have worked in Talaff and Mosul, it's working. For we want-- although Fallujah is different, of course, because what I earlier said that it has it's the eye of the storm is Fallujah. We want to see whether this is going to work or not. And one thing I explain to you and tell you in all honesty, we do not entertain any people who would like to act outside the rule of law, unacceptable. There is the election, they can win the election, they can do whatever they please, but to hurt people, to kill people and to destroy Iraq, destroy the people of Iraq and destroy the people of the region we are not allowing this.

QIn April you used a combinations of military force in Fallujah and political pressure and the result was not successful.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Yes because the military force which was used not enough and it went to the wrong places and in April unfortunately this was a mistake that the CPA committed, therefore the militia in Fallujah they thought that this militia is going to be able We warned against it and we said to them that this is wrong. This is going to come to be a problem for Iraq in the future. So this is what happened because of the--

QThey said they pulled back because the governing council was warning them of the political consequences of going in.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: No, no. They formed this militia, it's a militia like in Fallujah a brigade, in Fallujah to take over Fallujah. And we advised against it. I was the head of the so-called then the governing council, the security committee, and I said to the CPA I said oh what are you doing? What ? this brigade? This is going to backfire. You can't get ex, some of them were ex-officers in Saddam's inner circles, special Republican Guards and so forth. What are you doing?

So that's what went wrong in Fallujah. Now things are different. The final decision is in the hands of Iraqis and we know exactly what's happening on the ground. That's why we are doing quite good planning to, with of course the multinational force, and en shallah, we hope that we are successful but the most important thing, as I said, I mean we all of us have to be very firm against these people. Believe me.

QCould you just comment briefly on the human rights tribunals in Iraq. You talked a couple of times about restoring the rule of law. When do you think they might happen?

(inaudible)

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Human rights tribunal?

QTrial of Saddam.

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Oh, Special tribunal. Ah, we will finalize everything and they should be starting hopefully in October.

Q(inaudible) Are you going to the airport from here?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: I think so.

QCan I ride with you?

PRIME MINISTER ALLAWI: Yeah, come.

QExcellent.

-end-


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