By U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Paul Bremer
Recruitment of Security Forces
Our training of an Iraqi Army and an Iraqi police service is a key part of
our efforts to ensure that Iraqis are eventually able to handle their own
security. Our training efforts are continuing at an extraordinary pace.
On April 18, the Iraqi Minister of Defense announced his appointment of the top
Iraqi generals in the new Iraqi Army. Iraqi officers, drawn almost entirely from
the many honorable men of the former Iraqi Army, already command these
Over 70 percent of all the men in the Iraqi army and Iraq Civil Defense Corps
served honorably in the former army and wish to serve their country again. All
are carefully vetted to ensure that no one is accepted who had a direct hand in
the atrocities of the former regime.
In reconstituting these forces, the Iraqi people also benefit from the skills of
the many who served in armed groups that fought against Saddam’s regime. We
will continue to welcome these individuals into the army, the Iraqi Civil
Defense Corps, the police and border guards.
More of these officers with honorable records from the former army and elsewhere
will serve in the months ahead as the new Iraqi Army grows. In the coming
months, the Coalition and the Iraqis forces will steadily strengthen their
security partnership, placing increasing responsibility in the hands of Iraqis.
By June 30, Iraqi soldiers in the ranks will report up through an Iraqi chain of
command to Iraqi generals.
When sovereignty is transferred to an Iraqi government on June 30, Coalition and
Iraqi forces will continue to work as partners to defeat the terrorists and
provide security for the Iraqi people.
This is consistent with our strategy from the moment we disbanded the former
Iraqi Army and began planning for building new security forces. We knew all
along that there would be substantial recruitment from the old army for the
junior ranks of the new force and, in due course, the senior ranks as well.
Central to the strategy, however, is ensuring that no senior officers from the
old army had blood on their hands from the former regime’s crimes. We have
implemented a robust vetting process to this effect.
Assistance for Iraq Border Crossing Points
Both Iraqis and the Coalition remain concerned about security of Iraq's
border. Iraq’s long borders, especially those with Iran and Syria, are
difficult to defend and there is evidence that foreign terrorists are coming
The Coalition is working toward solutions.
When the interim government takes office on June 30, that government will have
the equipment, staff, training and materials necessary to operate each of its 20
major border crossing points.
We expect to have 16,000 Iraqis devoted to border security by June 30. Until
that time we are going to limit and control the number of people crossing into
Iraq from other nations.
Additionally, the Coalition is providing Iraq with sophisticated technical
systems to help screen and track foreign visitors.
During the war and since the liberation of Iraq, Coalition forces have
detained thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of foreigners.
But we have already released over 75 percent of those detained and we have
simplified the processing of detainees.
All cases are reviewed within 72 hours by an attorney and in many cases, the
person detained is released immediately.
Two months ago, we established a special board to expedite the review of all
detainees. Since then we have released over 2,500 detainees.
We give highest priority to reviewing the records of female detainees. Fewer
than 10 females are currently detained.
We will not release any detainee guilty of serious crimes, as Saddam did when he
flooded the streets with criminals in 2002.
We now publish a complete list in Arabic daily on the CPA website at
http://iraqcoalition.org/Arabic/prisoners/index.html. This list is also
available at Coalition Information centers across the country and will be posted
regularly at the country’s police stations and courthouses starting May
Since the liberation of Iraq, the Coalition has completed over 20,000 individual reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars.
These projects have employed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis building and renovating schools, orphanages and medical clinics; roads, bridges and dams. Iraqis from Dohuk to Basra have worked on these projects and millions have benefited from them.
Thousands of additional projects will be financed by over 19 billion dollars from America. Already Coalition officials are meeting with provincial and municipal leaders to hear their priorities.
The Coalition will be accelerating these projects everywhere in country and we expect that they will create over a million and a half jobs over the next year.
The Coalition will give priority to Iraqi firms whenever possible in order to create as many opportunities for Iraqis as possible.
To date, the firms working on these projects have given contracts to several hundred Iraqi firms.
Coalition military commanders and Coalition offices around the country will have an additional $500 million to spend on reconstruction projects which can be quickly completed, like fixing roads or schools, and which will provide jobs for Iraqis.
The Ba'ath Party poisoned Iraqi political life and was one of the most brutal
instruments of Saddam’s tyranny. There is no room in the new Iraq for
Ba'athist ideology nor for Ba'athist criminals.
Banning the party and removing from public life those who used it to commit
crimes was necessary and remains necessary if we are to build a democratic
De-Ba'athification was and remains the right policy for Iraq.
But many Iraqis have complained that de-Ba'athification procedures have been
applied unevenly and sometimes unfairly, particularly in the education sector
where the requirement for teacher and professors to join the party was strongly
enforced. The result was that many teachers who were Ba'ath Party members in
name only were dismissed from their jobs.
Therefore, in coordination with the Minister of Education, the Minister of
Higher Education, and the Chairman of the Supreme National De-Ba'athification
Commission, we are taking steps to ensure that the policy is implemented fairly
De-Ba'athification Review Committees were established last year to review the
thousands of appeals from former firqah-level Ba'athists who were dismissed from
the jobs but, under the de-Ba'athification procedures, have a right to apply for
The decisions made by local de-Ba'athification appeals committees of the
Ministry of Education will be effective immediately.
This will allow thousands of teachers to return to work.
Thousands more will begin receiving pensions this week.
Those primary and secondary school teachers formerly of the rank of firqah
members whose appeals have not yet been heard will have their appeal adjudicated
within 20 days.
The National De-Ba'athification Commission will handle the cases of hundreds of
university professors with the same urgency. Professors who did not use their
posts to intimidate others or commit crimes should be allowed to return to work
More information will be available on the websites of the Coalition
(iraqcoalition.org) and the National De-Ba'athification (www.debaath.org)
websites and through Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education
offices throughout Iraq.
Remembrance in Iraq
To commemorate those who suffered the atrocities of Saddam’s regime, the
Coalition has directed the establishment of a National Commission for
Remembrance. Remembering is indispensable both as a comfort to the oppressed and
tyrannized and as a cautionary tale for the future.
This Commission will be part of a broader effort to come to terms with Iraq's
immediate past, an effort that includes, for example, the Iraqi Special
The Commission will administer a $10 million fund for remembrance and will
consider proposals from across the nation on how best to memorialize the
suffering of Iraq’s many communities under Saddam.
The Commission will also seek to raise private funds to establish a national
museum in Baghdad to ensure that the nation forever recalls Saddam’s
depredations, such as the Iraqi sufferings during the 1991 Intifada, the 1988
Anfal campaign and Saddam's Arabization campaign that savaged Kurds, Arabs and