INTRODUCER: Hello, I am Eleana Benador. I would like to welcome you to this press conference with Kanan Makiya, who just came back from Baghdad. We have distributed (INAUDIBLE) for more reference, please consult it. May I ask you to just turn off your cell phones and after Mr. Makiya's presentation, we will allow for a long time of question and answers.
Please join me in welcoming Kanan Makiya.
KANAN MAKIYA: Thank you (INAUDIBLE). Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming here. Much of what I want to talk about is how important it is to stick with this, let's call it, enterprise, in Iraq for the long term. That's where the true benefits will come through.
I just returned from my third trip to Iraq since the war, and I want to start in an unusual way, with the security situation, and then move on to the larger picture. In part, I want to start with the security situation to counter some of the press reports that I see here which I get an (SOUNDS LIKE: APACHE) kind of way when I'm inside Iraq. As you can imagine the communication s are not very easy. But the security situation I want to say it, across my three trips, getting better. Unfortunately, however, it's getting better very slowly and we're not by any means there yet.
And it's important to begin with that because everything else that we may want to talk about, about the future of Iraq, the relation of the future of Iraq to the Middle East as a whole, what kind of impact, what kind of Iraq what we might expect to emerge out of this democratic Iraq, constitutional Iraq, and so on, depends on getting this security situation right up front. Without that, nothing is going to work. And you can take that for granted.
At my last visit, I met three times with the former head of the New York Police Department. The gentleman who is responsible under Mayor Giuliani for reorganizing the New York Police Department so successfully in bringing down the crime statistics in the city of New York so dramatically down. I'm sure you all (INAUDIBLE) the name slips my mind, Bernard something, and he is currently writing a report on the reorganization of the police force in Iraq. How it is to proceed and that report is going to be the basis of the recommendations and policies that Ambassador Bremmer will follow.
Of course you might ask why is it that it has taken so long to reach this stage of writing the report about the restructuring of the Iraqi police force some six weeks or so after the war. I think that's very, very unfortunate, but nonetheless, an extremely competent and impressive person is currently working on that report. And he's the kind of man who I was very, very please to find out didn't just sit behind a desk as unfortunately so many of the Americans in Baghdad these days do, inside the compound ringed by American tanks. But he gets up there at seven o'clock in the morning, takes his HumVee and works with Iraqi police officers. Actually works the streets of Baghdad. And I found it very impressive, sometime in the early afternoon he comes back to the main building and sort of jots down his impressions of the day and he has other people working on the actual report. So this is really and hands-on kind of person whose way of thinking about police in Iraq was also very impressive.
But, to get back to the point I was making earlier, the United States is, at the moment, much more, actually Coalition of Authorities, I should be corrected, are much further ahead in the redesign of the Iraqi army then they are in the re-design of the Iraqi security services. And that is very unfortunate. It's the wrong order of priorities, because the last we worry about at the moment is the reorganization of the army. That's not what is needed in the coming few years. And this is not even an institution that Iraqis want very much in the future on a very large scale, it's the source of all their problems and so on, so to focus on an army is, politically speaking, the wrong focus. But, nonetheless, reorganization of the police force is underway.
One of the reasons why it has been so delayed is that there was a residual way of thinking about the policing function in Iraq that preceded the war and continued through it for several weeks. And that's only now, I think, begun to recede into the background. And that is the belief that perhaps you could police Iraq by way of covering together the old police forces using them basically, and restructuring them and reshaping them, somehow retraining elements of them. But they become the basis for the nucleus and organization.
My own view always was was that was a mistake. That the old policing forces, internal policing forces, lay at the bottom of the heap of the previous state. They were the lowest of the low, sort of speak, about those organizations. They were dispirited. They were corrupt. They were below the security services and the (INAUDIBLE) in terms of status in the (INAUDIBLE) party structure and therefore were a dispirited and beaten lot long before the war itself. So to think that you can use these elements to patch them up together in bits and pieces and create a credible new policing force in a country that is going to require policing more than any other single function, is, seems to me, a very wrong heading.
On the contrary, what is required is a police force that has the ethos or is built in the shape of the values of the Coalition itself. And that means a new police force with new uniforms, new Code of Conduct, trained by American officers, obviously recruited from the old police force and from other even the Army or other sections of the, even the intelligence community that were somewhat clean. But that essentially being a new force. And one that would be largely recruited anew. That is very easy to do in Baghdad today to recruit such a police force, training, of course, takes time. But even that could have been done on a rolling basis. These are the kinds of comments, discussions I had with the gentleman who is reorganizing and coming forth with the report.
You could have them train for a month or two, send them out into the streets, get the new batch of trainees, recycle the new trainees every few months, so on and so forth. And set up a rolling situation where at least you get thousands of Iraqi policemen out there on the streets very, very quickly.
Now I want to turn for a moment to the larger picture in Iraq. What effectively has happened since the liberation is quite unique in modern history. We have a phenomenon of the virtual disappearance of the state. It's not that the state was defeated and large chunks of it surrendered. Nobody surrendered in Iraq. No sections of the Iraqi army actually surrendered to the Coalition troops. Of course, they didn't even fight the regular army. They by and large just dissolved. They disappeared back into the population.
The same is true of the security services of the (SOUNDS LIKE: MOJAVARAT) and of the other security organizations in Iraq. And, of course, that process was completed by that process of the vanishing of the state, by the looting that took place on such a massive and quite unprecedented scale.
So we are in a very important sense in Iraq beginning (INAUDIBLE) sort of speak. From scratch. From Ground Zero. In a way that knows very few parallels. I don't think it's toward Japan or Germany which were defeated populations as well as defeated states, but elements of the previous state certainly existed and were reformable. That is not the case. In the case of Germany, even elements of the judiciary existed which was not tainted by the Nazi party and therefore could help work on the constitution and so on.
That's not what we have in Iraq. The analysis which I first developed in republic of (SOUNDS LIKE: FEAR) of a party state construction in Iraq I think was unfortunately validated by this disappearance of the state in the following sense; although the state has disappeared, the party that was inside the state had penetrated so completely, is still there. It was not defeated. The state was destroyed and dismantled. The party stole the banks, as you all know, before the war and disappeared as armed and as large numbers of people and disappeared back into the population.
So what we have then in Iraq is a party state structure, a totalitarian party state structure, that has, the state part of it, has completely dissolved and the party part of it, which is, of course, now an outlawed party and membership in the (INAUDIBLE) is also illegal and also as per the excellent (SOUNDS LIKE: DEFACTIFICATION) laws, or orders, or edicts of Ambassador Bremmer it's no longer allowed to take a position inside the new state apparatus. So the former members of the (INAUDIBLE) party, at the top three echelons of the Baath party are, which amounts to a body of people of some 30,000 to 50,000 people strong, are, once the membership in those top three levels of the party is proven, they are by law not entitled to take a position in the public sphere, in public government for a period of time. That's not been plowed out yet, but in the proposals, people like myself have made, we suggest a period of up to ten years.
So we have this phenomenon of a complete disappearance of the state and we're starting from scratch, but a part that is very much still alive and in the population scattered, and is largely responsible for the pin prick attacks that you hear about every day in the newspapers. If you look at the towns and you look at the distribution of where American soldiers have been picked off, you can see very clearly that they lie in former strong holds of the Baath party. Parts of (INAUDIBLE), Baghdad which were long sort of dominant strong holds of the party, where even the social structure of the population was such as to have worked well with the (SOUNDS LIKE: PAN ARABIS) project in the past, often (INAUDIBLE) in a town like (SOUNDS LIKE: FANUJAH) very classically a town where the population itself feels that its party identifies with the Baath party.
Coming back to this larger picture, what the disappearance of the state means is that no matter which way you look at it, the United States, or the Coalition Authorities have taken leadership of what is going to amount to a veritable social and political and economic revolution, I might add, in this one country of the Middle East.
This is almost anything the United States does now is going to have enormous consequences. It is shaping something that, as I said, has disappeared. So it is no longer about shifting an existing state. Enterprising one direction or another. It's not about adjusting a more democratic direction or making it somewhat more representative. No. We are talking about building something from scratch and that is by its very nature a revolutionary project.
Let's look at the three components of this. Politically stated goals of the United States are democratization of Iraq. What that translates into, of course, is the establishment of the rule of law and individual and political rights to all Iraqis regardless of ethnicity and religious creed. That is the political project. That is the political goal, huge goal, that lies ahead. That is an enormous change from the past. That is a revolution by any standard of the term in the region as a whole and it is going to have very long term consequences (INAUDIBLE).
Socially, there's also an enormous change that will take place if we assume the political project stays on course. What one has done, in effect, with the liberation of Iraq is eroded the political power of some strata in society, some social groups, social layers in largely the Arab population of Iraq and called for a political project, a political program that empowers, down the line, the majority of Iraqis and its minorities, Kurds, for instance, the Syrians, and so on. Therefore gives them a much larger role in the state. A much greater stake in the future of the country and a larger role in politics then they have ever enjoyed before.
Now majority rules down the line, I mean, not right away of course, translates into shifting the balance of power, sociologically speaking, in Iraq, in favor of minorities and the Shiites of Iraq and it is bound to be accompanied by resentment by those groups that feel disempowered or feel that effectively they have been disempowered. So this is not an easy task. It is easy to talk about it, but we're talking about a state system that has rested on this balance, on a certain social and ethnic balance of power, that goes back to the early 1920s following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. So shaking that up is a matter of social revolution as well as a political one.
Economically, of course, the revolution that we are talking about translates into the privatization of Iraq, the opening up of the Iraqi economy to the world's markets and the emergence of a politically more powerful down the line business class that will play a role and that will probably be boosted and so on by the enormous oil potential of Iraq down the line.
Now that's the big picture. That's where we hope, or some of us have long argued along with/for American policy to take Iraq down the line. It is going to be very easy to get deterred or side tracked by events on the ground from this larger picture. Events are going to constantly push this away and bring up other considerations.
But it seems to me that there were some reasons for this war that, let me put it this way; whatever one thinks of the war itself, whether you were for the war before or whether you were against the war before, it almost doesn't matter at this point in hand. By utilizing the current situation, the direction of those larger roles that I've just spelled out, one can have an enormously beneficial effect on the region as a whole and on the relation of (INAUDIBLE) Arabs and Muslims have in general have of the United States.
But that is not something that will show up in the short term. There's a lot of criticism and confusion I gather from people wondering why, having liberated Iraq, Americans are not being received more favorably up and down the country and here, and there are, I get the feeling sometimes that people are upset. That Iraqis are not rapturous and falling over themselves and so on, and I think it seems to me it rests on a number of misunderstanding that are important also to deal with.
In the case of Iraq, we're talking about a population that has been traumatized in a very deep and fundamental way. After 30 years of this kind of regime, and you all have heard enough about the atrocities of this regime, but hearing is one thing and seeing is another thing. To see a population that emerges, that has known nothing but the rifle butt, nothing but oppressive treatment in one form or another, suddenly wake up and find itself in world where it can think what it wants, say what it wants, is very confusing. It's disorientating. And by and large, Iraqis of this generation that grew up under this regime will remain like this.
The future that we're talking about, the larger picture that we're talking about, is one that will belong to the next generation, which is currently in primary school and in secondary school and so on. It's not that damage to generation that has emerged from this experience.
So in this context, other destabilizing, sidetracking, deterring digressions along the way are going to be the kind of discussions that are going on at the moment about weapons of mass destruction. We said that this war was about weapons of mass destruction, how you confine them, what does that say about the war and so on. Those are important discussions. I'm not saying for one second they shouldn't be had. And personally I don't think for one second that this regime has not always been wedded to these weapons and that the story about what has happened that can't be found at the moment will one day be made clear. But that is an important discussion. But we should not let that discussion, in the media and the press, sidetrack us from the larger question of getting the Iraq project right for the sake of not only the United States' reputation in that part of the world, but for the sake of the Middle East as a whole and for the sake of all the Arab Israeli peace process as well.
So of greater long term significance therefore, I would put to you, than for instance, the political process that is currently unfolding and I know that you are all aware of the tensions that exist between Bremmer and the former Iraqi political opposition groups over the question of the composition of the interim administration, even over the terminology, whether to call it an administration or to call it a government, provision government, what exactly the role of these Iraqi advisors would be and so on and so forth in the form of promises and changes of position of the United States and the changes and positions of the opposition. Those are very on-going debateful which gets hotter and hotter throughout the month of July, because that's when some of the crucial decisions are going to be made.
But of greater potentially long term significance to these (INAUDIBLE) issues that I talked about, the bigger picture as I called it, is the constitutional process. That is something that has to be an all Iraqi process. It cannot be jointly Iraqi and American. That is the opinion of all American officials that I have talked to. So it's not a matter of delegating authorities. It's not a matter of having advisors. If anything, Americans are advisors to Iraqis. Not Iraqis are advisors to Americans when it comes to the constitution process. The difference is quite fundamental.
Getting that right and I can, I think I won't go into the details there, but for those of you I'm very closely connected with, the thinking on that, and I'll leave it to the question and answer period to go into more detail as to what exactly is going to happen, what do I think is the best way to go and what looks like is going to happen, is happening on the ground at the moment.
So I bracket that aside and say the constitutional process which is bound to take at least two to three years is potentially much more important than the current competition over seats and titles that you give to those seats in the emerging interim administration.
Now also crucial to this larger picture is something that is not, at the moment, taking place. And that is the opening up of many more and more private channels of communication between the Coalition authorities and Iraqi older political organizations and individuals. It's quite unfortunate to see the manner in which the United States is conducting this experiment inside Iraq. I will just sum it up in an image that perhaps some of you heard of. The entire American team which was originally called (INAUDIBLE) has now been called interim coalition administration or something like that, Coalition Authority, ICA. It's housed inside the republican palace compound, (INAUDIBLE) the republican palace compound of Saddam Hussein, (INAUDIBLE) by American tanks. It's impossible to penetrate. There you have some 800 or so Americans largely, not exclusively, beavering away at their computers, using satellite dishes and so on, sending emails backwards and forwards to each other, memos, backwards and forwards and very rarely getting out into the city. And meeting with people.
In fact, there is a quite very American, it seems to me, (INAUDIBLE) handling this very differently, tendency to let security override every other consideration. It's difficult to say it shouldn't be done, but it gets a bit exaggerated when three HumVees are required for any meeting inside Baghdad by any American official and you only have like 20 or 30 HumVees, then that reduces the number of meetings by a dramatic amount.
And it also makes every meeting into a large, big military affair, a great big statement of power with soldiers and guns and so on. And therefore changes the character by its very nature of the meeting. And the ability to have informal, light chats, person to person. Most of the these people speak English. It's not the problem of language here. Get to know one another. Is lost.
It's very essential in this process because just imagine if Ambassador Bremmer were to open up a (SOUNDS LIKE: D-1), a (SOUNDS LIKE: D-1) is a traditional Arab institution. Say you eat in the early evening, late afternoon hours, say from four to eight or something like that, you have an open office and anybody can come and visit you, complain, sit down, chat, exchange views with one another and normally the rooms will be swilling with people and that way any ordinary (SOUNDS LIKE: RAFI) could make their way to the (SOUNDS LIKE: D-1) (INAUDIBLE) three occasions a week. Some such device which would lower the barriers that exist currently between the American authorities and the Iraqi population is desperately needed.
I mean, take the policing at the moment. We don't have normal police forces. What we have is American soldiers who don't know how to police quite rightly. They are not trained to police. Usually backed up by heavy, armored equipment and it again is the wrong image and the wrong message. It's very hard to connect with the population even when both sides want to, which is the case in Iraq, when you have these interfaces of armor and so on between you and the others.
There has to be a solution to this problem. It seems to me, it sounds like a petty problem. Not something one should be saying at a press conference, but these are the little things that make big differences on the ground between people.
Now what are the greatest threats to us being able to see the emergence of the constitutional Iraq based on the rule of law and equality of all citizens before that law. They are, roughly, in this order; a) the remnants of the Baath party. As I said from earlier remarks, these are not insubstantial. Now we do not know how well organized they are. We don't know. We have no idea how many of them were demoralized by the war. And (SOUNDS LIKE: QUIT) party politics all together. We don't know how many of them are actually working in groups, at how well connected they are to one another. But they are there. They are wealthy. They are in the tens of thousands perhaps, it's safe to assume. And they are well armed.
Then you have the second order of danger what are radical Islamism of the Sunni variety, which is already raising its head. These would be individuals who would hook up with their counterparts in the Gulf. Already, my last time entering into Iraq, was delayed by six days along the Kuwaiti border. Why? Because there had been reports from the (INAUDIBLE) bombing of infiltration of (INAUDIBLE) into Iraq to cause problems to the Saudi and Kuwaiti borders and the Kuwaitis clamped down, big time, and demanded extra precautions and so on at the border for anybody entering Iraq. So there's a whole new set of procedures not to enter Iraq from Kuwait for that very reason.
This is a very easy force that can look separate from the Baath party on the surface. That is, it looks like it's simply Muslim politics, not Baath politics, but is an objective alliance with remnants of the Baath party and very clear to me from the kind of leaflets that we've seen inside Baghdad of the unholy alliance that will be built up between those two forces. Remnants of the Baath party which may change their name, have already changed their name, so that means there is a party now called the (SOUNDS LIKE: AUDA) party. The return party. Which is made up of former Baathists and declaring themselves in those means.
And still pictures of Saddam Hussein with leaflets on one side and a picture on the other side are being distributed by elements of the Baath party. This is irrespective, of course, of whether or not he's dead.
Which brings me to another point; the person of Saddam himself with capturing him is of enormous strategic, political significance. It's not just a little (INAUDIBLE) or something nice. Something that would be nice if it happened. It's crucial to destroying the moral and ideological backbone of the Baath party inside Iraq and of weakening the radical Sunnian claim to power and critique of the occupation. It is going to be all too easy. It's already showing itself up that to constantly evoke the theme of occupation and anti-occupation politics to whip out some sort of a public sentiments. Especially in a context where the security situation is not completely clear. It is still precarious and where for some reason that I simply have not been able to fathom, the Coalition is having a difficult time organizing supplies of food and fixing electrical supplies at the time when summer is coming, very hot summer, and so on.
The technical difficulties here are also becoming a political factor. Capturing the person of Saddam Hussein, it seems to me, is very important for symbolically and in this regime.
The last thing I want to say in terms of potential danger is radical Shiite Islamic individuals, not really yet groups, but sublimation groups or groups in formation. These are truly not yet exhibiting any focus or any shape, political shape, that discernible. There are caught between on the one hand gratitude towards the Coalition forces, on the other hand knowing no other language of politics other than that which has been coming from Iran, radical Shiite type of politics. And they have not been able to adjust their perspectives and come up with a coherent line yet. But potentially they could, down the line, and here it seems to me, the ability of the United States to act on the first elements, the remnants of the Baath party and Sunni radicalism would help greatly.
Objectively these Iraqi Shiites have the greatest interest in the Coalition success down the line, but subjectively will they see it that way remains a big political challenge of the coming period. So I think I'll end there and answer any questions which can deepen the debate and take us further.
QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. My name is (INAUDIBLE) you (INAUDIBLE) extensively on the security situation and how insufficient the effort has been, especially at the very beginning of the occupation and how that creates a perception of (INAUDIBLE) things having quite improved for the general population.
On the issue of reconstruction, we know, of course, that big contracts have been awarded and the big players are going to be on the ground. Can you give us a sense, based on your observation perhaps dealing with the authorities of how fast this has progressed. What we hear, no electricity, no power, (INAUDIBLE) facilities have not quite been put back in gear and it's going to be not just a few weeks but months and months and month further down the line before significant output is restored? And (INAUDIBLE) tales of same disastrous situation which clearly, I would imagine, would reflect negatively on the morale of the population because I suppose for the average person (INAUDIBLE) worse then they were under Saddam in the practicalities of daily life.
So my question is, what is your feeling about how fast is this progressing and even more important, to what extent are the Iraqis themselves involved in this process. In other words, when we talk about major public works, talk about prioritizing buildings, schools, hospitals, (INAUDIBLE) engineering works, whatever, is there an interface of any kind or has it been shaped of any kind with the population whereby they may have indeed a say in how this reconstruction of what is shaping up?
KANAN MAKIYA: Well, the Coalition Authorities have made it very clear that Iraqi's (SOUNDS LIKE: FIRMS) will be given a preference (INAUDIBLE) in building contracts and so on and I can tell you from personal knowledge and experience that several Iraqi organizations and individuals and businesses, some located abroad, some inside, are gearing up to do things, but thus far, to the best of my knowledge, no construction has begun actually inside Baghdad anywhere else that I know of led by, let's say, an Iraqi business class yet. That hasn't begun but that people are preparing, are organizing, assigning contracts or starting to negotiate or know where to sign contracts, that's definitely going on. Big time.
Again, we're sort of plagued in this enterprise a) by the security situation, b) by the gravity of the looting which you mentioned, but c) by a third factor which is unfortunate and which is certainly reversible. There are many, many things that could have been done very, very fast to improve the situation. However, by doing them, one might have set precedence that may have been unfortunate or might have had unfortunate consequences.
For instance (INAUDIBLE) something simple like mobile telephones. You can set up mobile telephone networks, with the (INAUDIBLE) you can do it in four days. You know, they can just set it up very, very fast. (INAUDIBLE) three weeks or so. One of the biggest obstacles in Iraq to doing anything is communication. All you have are these hopeless (INAUDIBLE) telephones which have to be outside in the blazing heat, they're hopeless. How can you do business if you can't communicate? And how even can the huge, big American organization in the republican palace even work without telephones, I don't know. Again, everybody has a (INAUDIBLE) phone but this huge compound is the size of several football fields rolled into one and you have to leave the building in order to even know you have a phone call. So it's not functional.
And their increasing slightly, some of the phones down there but they could have a mobile phone system up and going ages ago. There are at least half a dozen Iraqi contractors that I know of, business men, coming with mobile phone projects, at least half a dozen. And the (INAUDIBLE) at this very time. And getting no where actually simply because, we're told, the policy on the airwaves and the overall powers of the Iraqi air going through, I don't know, these things very well, but has not yet been decided.
So it seems to me short term solutions were available for this kind of thing. Same thing applies by the way to Iraqis I know who are coming with projects to local airplane flights. They want to start a domestic airline service between three main cities, between (INAUDIBLE), Baghdad and (INAUDIBLE). And again, that met up with, we haven't got any (INAUDIBLE), we haven't got any overall policies.
Well, if I were a smart American administrator interested in success I would know that getting these things going fast is essential and I would give it some sort of a condition where it ran out of contract, ran out after two years and you couldn't, I don't know, some figure out some way of not having this effect the overall strategic thinking.
Or take a third project problem. The air (INAUDIBLE) between say the outside world and Baghdad, it takes me five to six days to enter Baghdad, so I can't come and go. Why don't we a functioning airport? We is it taking forever? Again, it has to do with these beauracratic procedures in general.
Won very enterprising young Australian business man I think it was, South African, sorry, again, he was denied permission to set this service up which would have made lots of people's lives easier, plus it would have brought thousands of Iraqis and (INAUDIBLE) who are dying to go in there with projects, with ideas, with money, which would have also just started a sort of a different atmosphere in the country.
At the moment, the atmosphere is what other country besieged of a country cut off, from the world. Of a country with occupation forces. Not of a business community starting up and going. At least it would have got the service sector up and going and the hotels and so on. These are the kinds of things that are just unnecessary blockages at the moment.
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) In terms of the interference of other surrounding states, (INAUDIBLE) Iran and Saudi Arabia, how serious, I've recorded from people who (INAUDIBLE) agents into five cities in Iraq shortly after the war started. Can you update us on your understanding of the intentions of Iraq's neighbors and to make the U. S. presence as painful as possible and if I could squeeze in a second not necessarily related question, there have been recent reports in Washington at least, that Dr. Schalabi and the Iraqi national congress and his people have been slowly isolated or have been losing favor with Bremmer and his staff. Can you shed some light on the never-ending story of the internal politics of the various opposition internal groups?
KANAN MAKIYA: Let me start with the big question you began with. Let's take them one by one. There's certainly a conservative Arab government, Arab state, interest in a particular emergence of a particular kind of political (SOUNDS LIKE: ODOR) in Iraq at the moment. There is what strikes me as being Jordanian Saudi certainly agreement on, Egyptian as well, candidate (INAUDIBLE) of (INAUDIBLE) that many (INAUDIBLE) states are involved in that. I think (INAUDIBLE) much more open still on the question. And they are promoting a kind of Arab greatly reformed, but still discernibly traditional Arab order. Very, very liberal Arab order, but liberal Arab order loosely based on the principals of Arab nationalists principals (INAUDIBLE) of the 60s and so on. Therefore not a sort of a rupture with norm in the Arab world to begin a rupture anyway.
Now that is in a world report, I think, as I said earlier, (SOUNDS LIKE: MOJAVES) infiltrating into Iraq from Saudi Arabia. This is an infiltration. This is not taking place with government help, indirectly, I mean, maybe, but not the government per se. That is also happening in Kuwait. I can vouch for the fact that the Kuwaitis are taking very, very strenuous measures to counter it. I don't know enough about what the Saudis are doing.
But that is a potential threat. Syria is trying to exert its control through groups that it previously housed and financed and took care of and again you can assume that there is a great deal of interest.
Iran is certainly pumping money and personnel into Iraq. (INAUDIBLE) there's no reason to doubt that. The interest of the Iranians above all lies in a short period of American authority in Iraq or Coalition Authority in Iraq, as possible, and there's still no indication whatsoever, an armed action at all coming from the Iranian side. And I don't think there will be. I think there will be going on for the (INAUDIBLE) and they will be aiming to help finance those groups that would support certain groups during the upcoming elections in Iraq and not others. As will be the Arab governments.
One of the things that we should be aware of and that I haven't focused on is that money is going to shape the coming electoral agenda in Iraq very powerfully. If in a very impoverished situation of Iraq can buy votes easily. And you can assume that the Arab government, that the neighbors, all of Iraq's neighbors, will attempt to influence parties by buying votes in the upcoming elections.
Now the United States doesn't know, I think, how to play this game. And that is a problem. That they have to think about. It's actually a more real problem, if I might say so, than organized militias coming in from any of these countries to upset things. But it's a game that's played within the framework of the rules that will be set presumably by the constitution process in some way or another. So there is a challenge for the United States two or three years down the line which, since the United States is so unwilling as it's proven itself, such a poor friend for Iraqi opposition and Iraqi, it's own friends, it seems to me that this is a very, very important problem down the line. The United States doesn't, rightly so, know how to go about financing groups to fight elections but that's going to be name of the game down the line.
About the other question, I have not heard of any bad relations between Ambassador Bremmer and the IMC. The IMC today is, of course, undergoing a very big reorganization. It's, by its very nature, changing its shape and nature inside Iraq and the most consistent force against the Baathists today is the IMC. The IMC finds itself at loggerheads, in a war, on a regular daily war, with remnants of the Baath party with IMC members being hunted down sometimes and IMC members going out and doing the hunting and finding equal locations and sources and informing the Coalition Authorities and sometimes having to take them on themselves.
So there is a head to head going on between the IMC and the former members of the Baath party inside Iraq. And that is also having an effect on the shape of the IMC. It means that it needs to protect itself. It needs to have the ability to protect itself down the line. And it doesn't yet have inside the Coalition itself, the kind of expertise that allows it to work closely with the Coalition to pursue the hunt, if you see what I mean. So that sources of information come to the IMC and don't go to the Coalition about the Baath party and one needs, therefore, an Iraqi policy force, if you like, working, that is, being trained by the United States that can, that organizations like the IMC can be in regular contact with so that the information flows between them and actions can be quickly be coordinated at places of concentration of (INAUDIBLE).
I know for a fact that several senior Baathists have slipped through the net because it took three days or so for Coalition authorities to respond to a particular information that came in (INAUDIBLE) that so and so and such and such are housed at this that and the other time, and then three days later, they investigate. Well, that person's long since gone. You have to something far better and more effective than that.
QUESTIONER: This is (INAUDIBLE) Awat from Radio (SOUNDS LIKE: SABAN). I have two questions. The first one is you mentioned the Sunni claim for power in Iraq. What's the legitimacy of their claim if there is any at all? And do you foresee any clash between the Sunnis or claiming the power and the (INAUDIBLE) Shiite in Iraq? My second question is, (INAUDIBLE) problems at (INAUDIBLE)?
KANAN MAKIYA: Yes.
QUESTIONER: The southern part of Iraq? Seems that they have their own militias and that the security is one of their most important characteristics. And given their money wise, seems to be sufficient. (OVERLAPPING REMARKS) Financially? Because they have a sufficient amount of money. Is this because of the Iranian influence and that area? Are we going to see another (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) Afghanistan city in Iraq? Thank you.
KANAN MAKIYA: Yeah. Firstly let me say, I hope I didn't give this impression. I don't think there's ever going to be a Sunni claim for power as such or a Shiite claim for power, for that matter or a Kurdish claim for power. Everything is going to be cloaked always under the guise of Iraqi's interest in general. Remember that's how the game was played in Lebanon. So there will be, there is, a former Baath claim based largely on the language that this is an illegitimate occupation, that this is an occupation that has destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq, that we have to fight and resist it because the only way forward is to (INAUDIBLE) the language of anti-imperialist language that comes easily to Arab ears, that goes way back, decades and decades of experience. That language will be spearheaded by the remnants of the Baath party. Nobody else.
But then there's new language. Language of radical Islam. Here there's (INAUDIBLE) two kinds of radical Islam. There's radical Islam of a Sunni variety and radical Islam of a Shiite variety. And there are signs also, places also, which these two intersect. There are even individuals and places in Iraq where very strange alliances are taking place around these areas. In that radical Islamic, I think, dominant force in radical Islamic language at the moment is of a Sunni vent. And I'm thinking of somebody like Kuwait, for instance, or other such figures. They are emerging.
They have an appeal. The appeal is the same that worked in Afghanistan, that works in Saudi Arabia, that works in other parts of the Arab/Muslim world. Again, they will use the same language, anti-occupation language, borrowed from the same anti-(INAUDIBLE) language of the nationalists mainly of the Baath party. Their language can marry, but of course, their goals could be (INAUDIBLE) different.
So here at the moment, this is a community that is organizing around something new. Again it's not all Sunnis, but there is a danger of us falling into these traps. There is a community that enjoys relatively speaking for a (INAUDIBLE) oppressed, a more privileged position in society as a whole. That community feels rightly under threat, feels its world has been taken away from it and nothing yet clear has emerged.
That community naturally fears what will happen. It is therefore incumbent on the rest of Iraq's community that are being empowered, not disempowered, to assuage those fears and that is not being done enough at the moment. But you'll find signs of it. For instance, in the language that you'll find consistent language attempted on the part of the Shiites is completely inadequate, after (INAUDIBLE) we're saying we're all, there are many signs in Iran, Baghdad, posters, I forget the exact wording, but no difference between Shiite and Sunni, we're all Arabs, we're all Muslims, or we're all Iraqis. You find signs of that.
But the signs conceal the fact that there are worries and they are legitimate worries about what might happen and will we be the target of revenge attacks and so on.
On this question of settling of accounts, it hasn't yet happened on a big scale. And this is surprising. It's interesting. Why is it, a person like myself, I freely admit I made the mistake, a misjudgment, preceding the war. I thought the issue of revenge killing and settling of accounts would be much great a force at this point in time than it has actually proved to be. Now, you know, you can try and explain why it hasn't happened, but the main point I want to make is that I think it hasn't happened, not because it has disappeared and gone away as an issue, but because it's waiting to happen. It's not yet emerged as an issue.
Some of the most powerful film footage that appeared in Iraq and that had an effect on the population, appeared from a local TV stations just starting up, was the footage of the mass graves. The effect of that on even former Baathists was very powerful. People are talking about extending Baghdad when the people pouring into the mass graves and looking for their Baath party members. I know, who said, I didn't know, I didn't know. This couldn't have been done. And that shock, that sense of shock, which the world itself didn't produce, which even the toppling of the statues didn't produce, but that sense of shock as people scrambled for their relatives in the dirt is very powerful. Much more footage needs to come out and thankfully some of the people who are running the news, Iraqi television and media network, have this in mind, as you saw the effect of this.
So we are dealing with a population, there's always time lag when atrocities happen and when they are suddenly realized by the population to have happened. And the population begins to become conscious of the fact that this was done to it. Be it Shiite, Sunni, or whatever. And for that to translate into a political force, My God, this happened to us? And that starts shaking identity and starts shaking many other things at once. That hasn't happened yet. When it does happen, it will be a very powerful force in Iraq in politics.
I'm reminded of the Kurds for instance. In the (INAUDIBLE) took place from '87, '88 onwards and then stopped in '88, but it was one thing for every family, individually, separately, to know they had lost this, that and the other member of their family in something called the (SOUNDS LIKE: M5). It was another thing for that information to be pieced together as a whole story and actually I was partly, when I did that first film on the (SOUNDS LIKE: M5) and broke the story in Iraq, suddenly Kurds would say, this was done to us? It was not just me and my family or my neighbor and his family. But now I realize it was done to the Kurdish people as a whole. It had a powerful effect. (INAUDIBLE) powerful effect in (INAUDIBLE). A necessary fact. You cannot ever do away with it. It's a fact that happened. So people have to come to it. But it also has a destructing effect. It led to a strengthening of Kurdish nationalism and it had consequences.
In Iraq, as these atrocities, information and knowledge about them, because much, much more common and passes in from the immediate level of awareness into the state of consciousness, who am I and how did I get to be like this, it will have political consequences down the road that we haven't seen yet.
But, (INAUDIBLE) I don't think anything like (INAUDIBLE) is going to happen in (SOUNDS LIKE: ARMADA) In (SOUNDS LIKE: ARMADA), you have one very capable old (INAUDIBLE) leader who took control of the situation, Abu, what's his name, Abu, (INAUDIBLE) yeah, this figure was an old guerilla leader going back even to the late 80s had a strong character. Leadership qualities, his (INAUDIBLE) he worked for the IMC for many, many years. (INAUDIBLE) still is now. He had the ability to pull together the various groups so that he is by far in a way the most dominant personality in (SOUNDS LIKE: ARMADA) at the present.
And he's going to be a part of any future administration. I would be very surprised if he's not. Because he carries weight. So thus far, he's shown no sort of separatist tendencies. Anyway, I would doubt it.
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) Russian (INAUDIBLE). Thank you very much for your thoughtful presentation and the (INAUDIBLE). My question is on accountability. Should the members of the previous regime be held accountable for what they have done for the atrocities and what way and when (INAUDIBLE).
KANAN MAKIYA: Okay. Absolutely. They should and they've been working on this for a long time. We've had ideas out on this for a while. They should be, and I think they should be held accountable through tribunals inside Iraq. We don't want one of these far off removed situations with the kind of problems that have attended such previous international tribunals.
But with international supervision, international judges, with international expertise and help yes, but inside Iraq. The Coalition authorities have been very slow to get this off the ground. But there are people in personnel working on this in Baghdad. Charles Taurus who was formally with (SOUNDS LIKE: INDICT) is now representing the (INAUDIBLE) government on this question there. There are other senior members of the Coalition authority who are thinking about it. I know a location for the trials has been, I happened to be there when the building was chosen, which is going to be (INAUDIBLE) where the trials will take place, etc. But more than that has not been, there has been no real procedural work yet. So I am sure that they are going to take place. Positive, but it's slow.
Perhaps it has something to do with some of the key culprits being not caught until now, so there are (INAUDIBLE).
KANAN MIYAKA: The evidence is going to be, it's just overwhelming. I mean, in Iraq, the problem is not going to be evidence. One of the reasons why, although it was very unfortunate that the mass graves that were discovered in (SOUNDS LIKE: ARMADA) were opened, one of the unfortunate consequences is that they are no longer useful as evidence because they have been, the people have trampled over the evidence and so on.
But there are many mass graves. Some people estimate as much as 100 mass graves that have yet to be discovered and I think the Coalition authorities were right to let people in the beginning, the first ones, go and search for their loved ones and so on. It was very therapeutic and important. But the future ones, I know that a lot of consideration is being given. Local authorities, local councils are not preserving these grave sites and not letting people come into them. Work hasn't started yet. Forensic teams haven't started to do their work. There are not enough forensic teams. Organizations like Physicians for Human Rights are very, very keen to go there.
At the moment, the authorities are saying no to NGOs and organizations. They are preferring to do it all themselves. I think that perhaps that is not a wise thing but that's the policy at the moment.
So the evidence is going to be a) in the mass graves, b) it's going to be in the documents. You know, tons and tons of documents that have been captured. They are largely in the hands of the Coalition but some are in the hands of organizations. Also it's going to be witnesses. Survivors and witnesses are just, you know, the stories of atrocities are mind boggling.
I went on several searches to visit the prisons in the Baghdad area and one is called (INAUDIBLE). There was nothing there. But what is a remarkable thing is there was such a consistency of stories coming from about this place. Maybe you know it in (INAUDIBLE) I was sure that there was certain machinery that was used to kill people. It's grotesque beyond belief. I won't even go into describing it. But I wanted to find this machinery and save it for some future (INAUDIBLE) museum down the line or something.
We couldn't find it. Some of it, there's other pieces of equipment that (INAUDIBLE) mosques in so on, that were found. Extraordinary. Bizarre. Medieval type of equipment that was used for, again, that's part of the evidence that would be brought.
Evidence is not going to be a problem. It's how to set up the procedures so that a) they don't last forever, they don't cost the earth, which is what happened with previous international trials and b) they are, justice is seen to be, palpably seen, politically very sensitive issue to be done.
And so, not much thinking has gone into that yet. Not enough thinking has gone into it yet. The actual concrete preparations.
KANAN MAKIYA: No, this is my third trip since the war. This trip is my third trip since the war. Previous to that, I've been in the north several times. I was in the north for two months earlier in this year. I spent most of this year, I was in Northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan before the war. I spent probably most of this year inside Iraq. Previously to that, of course, I was not allowed into Iraq for the last 34 years I've been unable to go to Iraq. But I've been in Northern Iraq since the last 10 years.
QUESTIONER: James (INAUDIBLE) from the Financial Times. I was wondering if you could comment on the political process and the formation of the 25 (INAUDIBLE) political council and what kind of alliances you see among the different political forces and if you think that the IMC will back the formation of the counsel. And also if you could clarify your current relationship with IMC.
KANAN MAKIYA: By and large, all the Iraqi organizations that I know of are unhappy with the current proposals being made by Ambassador Bremmer. They welcome the step forward in Iraqi partnership that was a revision of the plan somewhat, but I sense a residual unhappiness at the fact of especially the point that the issue of appointments of advisors. And they are very unhappy that the assembly process has been done away with in terms of the interim administration. On that I think there needs to be unanimity of purpose there.
Beyond that, I don't know much of the arrangements are still being done in privatized, I've been done for what, a week now, maybe since I left Iraq, and (INAUDIBLE) the last meeting we had had not taken place when I left. So I missed that.
But my sense is that it would have been wiser to consult a lot more with these Iraqi groups and as I said before on a much more personal basis rather than a very formal kind of way to field these things before they become issues.
I don't know how you do that. This is not about political ideas. This is about, Ambassador Bremmer, let me say, has been spot on right on the big questions on Iraq. He's been very good on questioning the army, and questioning the (INAUDIBLE) questions. But I think partly, and this is my own judgment, because of the fighting that went on in Washington before the war, in this Iraqi opposition, was such a central subject of these enterprising (INAUDIBLE) administration, he probably, to protect himself from, stood back from these groups. Our groups and tried to stay aloof from it. That is my sense of what happened. And while that's understandable, it's probably meant that he's still not on a close enough personal relationship with some of the key players of Iraqi politics. At least close enough relationship of the kind I would like to see him have. Knowing how Iraqi politics work.
You see it's amazing what you can get away with if you go up and speak to person personally and discuss it in a way that is on a one-to-one level, as opposed to sit in a meeting, announce something and then get an announcement back. There are no deep, fundamental differences, but this is jockeying for position that is totally understandable when you think about it from the Iraqi opposition point, what used to be the Iraqi opposition point of view.
Here are groups that worked with United States for many, many years. They were pushed aside, all of them, and the whole Iraqi political process was pushed aside in the run up the war. And they were not given a role in the war itself. I think this was a great mistake, by the way. I still do. We're paying the prices for that mistake right now. By pushing Iraqis away, precisely because Washington itself was unable to handle it. I mean, the reason is principally because the intensity of struggles in Washington were so great that the best way of dealing with it was to not deal with it and therefore to push it away it and bracket it.
As a consequence, we had no Iraqis on the army was in there. As a consequence, the law and order situation has gotten as bad as it has gotten. You could have used the militias of the Kurds and others. You could have formed, you could have shaped, you could have civilized them. You could have rehabilitated them. You could have built them into your allied forces. You should have had Iraqis. I know you had a perfect army that was (INAUDIBLE) but for God's sake, there was 68 Iraqis that went in with that army. And when the American army (INAUDIBLE) is it Germany or the second world war it has thousands and thousands of Germans. Because there were many German speaking Americans and it could communicate.
How do you expect these people to know what the hell the American intentions are if they are not fellow Iraqis there to speak with them. And there weren't. Now, here we are then. They've been bitten once, whatever the expression is, shy twice, or something like that. Everybody, the Iraqi opposition has been, feels somewhat humiliated by this.
There have been three rather fundamental changes of position, American position towards the government, the future government, so on, since the war. Since the liberation. That's again, a lot to stomach with everyday something new coming up and so on and so forth so okay, I realize everybody's in a new situation, everybody is dealing with something they haven't dealt with before, everything here is (INAUDIBLE), there's not patterns to fall on. But this is causing rough edges, sharp edges which are causing people's back to rub up.
That's the situation we have now. And it's unfortunate. It's fact.
KANAN MAKIYA: The same as it always was. I'm a supporter of the idea of the IMC. I'm an individual. I operate, I'm not a party person. I look at the scene and I say to myself, who represents Iraqi (INAUDIBLE). What is the old Iraqi party? I'm interested in one thing. Principally. Whether it be through the constitution or be through the political process of (INAUDIBLE) anything else, what is needed, above all, politically is an all Iraqi party. It's a sense of what it means to be an Iraqi.
Separate from and above being a Kurd, a Shiite, a Sunni, a Muslim, whatever you have, or happen to be (INAUDIBLE) whatever else you happen to be. That for me, politically, if we don't get that right politically, we've lost the country. The country's finished. Write it off to civil war down the line. But we therefore need through constitution, through organizations through one shape or another, to forge an Iraqi political intensity, then and only then is democracy (INAUDIBLE) at all possible. In which the fact that you are an Iraqi means you have equal rights and nothing else about your religion or faith or origins means a thing. Politically speaking. It's means a cultural, it means a social, it means in terms of what language you have the right to, your children speak. And so on and so forth. Yes, all that's very important.
But it doesn't mean, the only authorization I know of that has tried to make a (INAUDIBLE) the central plank of its program is the IMC. Always was the framework of its, and in that sense, I'm a strong supporter of the IMC.
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) from the (INAUDIBLE). Welcome back. There's an unnatural (INAUDIBLE) in the Turkman areas. (INAUDIBLE) and the south. As you know, the (INAUDIBLE) have taken over that administration there and for the sake of what's temporary. Now (INAUDIBLE) the people there, they are still there and this temporary solution looks like becoming permanent and chronic and after the orchestrated election of (INAUDIBLE) it's completely in their power. If the IMC or any other Iraqi political force tried to convince the (INAUDIBLE) to remove this unnatural solution and respect of the Turkman as far as administration. Thank you.
KANAN MAKIYA: In (INAUDIBLE).
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) and the south. All the Turkman line. All the way to the Iranian border.
KANAN MAKIYA: I frankly don't know the answer to your question. I probably I don't know if the IMC did anything at all or was in a position to do anything, frankly, on that question. But I would say, and there are lots of abuses taking place all over the place, how to fight it is the question. I mean, it seems to be getting back, linking up with my last question, how you fight it is crucial. Do you fight it as an Iraqi of Turkman origin or do you fight it as Turkman who happens to be Iraqi inside Iraq as well. Effective from this point of view down the line inside in relation to this Coalition authority and in terms of the future of all of us, I would say fight it as an Iraqi who happens to be a Turkman. And that's, it seems to me, a very important point. If we, everyone is going to have to learn that message. Be it Shiite, be it Kurd, be it the Turkman, or the Syrian and so on.
But if we go down this road, in other words, to reverse even the situation, I don't know much about this to judge on this specific instance that you mentioned, but if you reverse it even, reverse it in the name of a larger ideal than that of the small group that one happens to belong to or the large group, doesn't matter. Or group benefit. Reverse it in the Iraqi name. You stand a greater chance at succeeding and those who don't do that, for instance, the Kurds themselves will one day have to face this. It's coming down the line. It will happen. If they cannot think as Iraqis first and Kurd second, it's not going to, they will be, it's because they realize that some of them, that the spend so much time in Baghdad and so on, the Kurdish leaders.
My advice would be to work on those kinds of things through an all Iraqi framework. Join, for instance, in participating in the only all-Iraqi process that is being set on going on in July sometime, which is the constitutional process which I very much hope you will participate personally. That's the way in which to think through these questions on the larger scale. I don't know the answers to the specifics about that but (OVERLAPPING QUESTION).
QUESTIONER: The reason I ask this is, initial, for example, the situation was corrected. As you know (INAUDIBLE) taking over the city, but then the Arab tribes came and (INAUDIBLE) and there was, on the brink of civil war and it was stopped and the situation was corrected. Okay, Muslims, fine. Okay, but in (INAUDIBLE) there's a complete take over, all public offices everywhere. Hospitals, schools, a complete (INAUDIBLE) administration. And there seems to be nothing (INAUDIBLE) to move.
Now the Turkman are not violent people, as you know. They don't want to (INAUDIBLE) Arab (INAUDIBLE) came and asked them to stop fighting. But they refused. As you know, Arabs are not happy to in (INAUDIBLE) about this situation. So what I'm saying the Iraqi parties are not even talking about this issue. This is a (INAUDIBLE) situation and it's going to lead up to a violent, in the future, if they don't correct it.
Now you said, participation. The (INAUDIBLE) see their part of Iraq and the Iraqi. There's a constant (INAUDIBLE) in the political party, the Iraqi political party, in Baghdad to oust (INAUDIBLE) from any meetings. And they always meet, the five, the seven, the 12. You don't even see anymore Turkman there. There's a constant move to weed them out. Is there a reason for that?
KANAN MAKIYA: No. Not to the best of my knowledge. No. I don't think, I'm positive the Turkmans will be represented at (INAUDIBLE) inside the coming group, expansion of the group of seven and 35, I mean, I have that on good authority that, but I don't think there's any plot or conspiracy here. I mean there are, you know, there are tensions between the Turkmans and the Kurds which are very serious in (INAUDIBLE). But I would deal with those not in, I made the comments that I made because my reading of the situation is that ethnic groups often fight other ethnic groups in the name of smaller and smaller (INAUDIBLE) not larger ones. And that is, that I think has been true of Turkmans as much as it has been for Kurds. Both groups have done this. You get that, so I get this. That kind of language won't work and it will lead to conflict. Armed conflict.
My recommendation, my suggestion, is to try another way of bringing about those changes and try for instance, what would think of the structure Iraq that will undo those kinds of injustices. Of course there's been all kinds of groups jockeying for power and plan to take short time gains. That's natural. But think of the big picture down the line. Again, think of what you can do on the constitution. What kind of a constitution.
And if the Kurds claim (INAUDIBLE) federation for instance, is a big issue. There's two ways of responding to it. One is to say, well, you have your Kurdistan, we want our Turkmanstan and to draw a map in which you come to bear that. But another way of doing it is to say, no, why should we make ethnic federalism in the first place? There are Turkmans and there are Kurds everywhere and there are Kurds in Baghdad and there are Turkmans in Baghdad and Turkmans in (INAUDIBLE) and Turkmans here. Let's have a different kind of federation altogether. Let's have a different kind of (SOUNDS LIKE: DEVOLUTION) of power. A different kind of decentralization.
That's a strategically speaking, a much different kind of argument. I'm not (INAUDIBLE) here in a position to, I'm not defending one group, I'm not here speaking for one group or another, I'm just an (INAUDIBLE), I'm (STOPS)
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) regarding the religious groups, is there any danger that, for instance, the Shiites may want, or any other group, may want Iraq to become rather religious government?
KANAN MAKIYA: Well, as I said, the, everybody's feeling their way out around a political situation. Nothing is here gelled and solid. Even the conflicts with the (INAUDIBLE) or (INAUDIBLE) or everything is in the process of becoming something else. If things are handled badly, if Iraqis don't feel themselves to be a part of the political process, soon enough, if the constitutional process for instance goes wrong, is handled badly, then you could very well have a jelling up in the shape of Shiite political defense groups, Sunnian defense groups, Arab nations groups and so on and that would be very, very unhealthy.
But I don't think at the moment it's at all clear. You have clerics making sometimes outrageous statements in the Shiite areas and you have other clerics making very reasonable statements. But in large, you've had no violence on the Shiite side so far and that's good. And you have clerics changing their mind constantly. Not sure. Clerics are also finding themselves, given the vacuum of authority, in a position they've never been in before. They are asked to provide social services they've never had to provide before. And being able sometimes to deliver better than even the Coalition authorities. And that's given them power and clout.
I mean a former cleric organized the cleaning up of the city of (INAUDIBLE) of course, other city, (INAUDIBLE) with American money, but he took all the credit for it. So it's a (INAUDIBLE) political situation with no clear determinant parameters that is not definitely going one way or another at this stage.
QUESTIONER: I would like to go back to understand more correctly what you said at the beginning of your remarks. And that is the security situation. And the picture you had painted seems to be a little worse than what we've got from media accounts.
What you've talked about and I would like to make sure that I understood you correctly is a remnant of the Baath party that number in the tens of thousands. (INAUDIBLE) let's say, an estimate, armed, money, everything. What is being done? Essentially, we're talking about an operation that although we have defeated the regular forces, we haven't quite won the war as it is because the enemy hasn't said, I give up. That's a no show victory and the other side says, I lost. Not when we say, we won. And we'd have to (INAUDIBLE) in declaring victory when we have these remnants there.
In your own observation and estimates, what is being done to give, in consideration of the regular forces seem to be not adequate to deal with this kind of urban guerilla tactics or (INAUDIBLE) and attempts to kill U. S. forces here and there with some degree of success and clear that this is aimed at having a demoralizing effect. What is being done as we're speaking?
KANAN MAKIYA: The only thing being done at the moment is massively (INAUDIBLE) military presence in Baghdad and elsewhere so we have more patrols with more military policemen than before. But they still, military people, and we have doubled efforts to reorganize the old police and they are working on a plan for the new Iraqi police force.
What's needed, let's for a moment, that's what's being done. It's inadequate to deal with this danger. Why? Because you need a police force that's capable of getting into areas which Americans can never, ever get into. Inside (INAUDIBLE) City, inside the alleyways, which can pick up information which can receive information about clues and (INAUDIBLE), that means they have to be Iraqis, working under American officers who can then immediately race with American backup to get this or that pocket of people in this or that location. That you don't have at the moment. You have it in very (INAUDIBLE) form and only with this old, beaten up old police force that (INAUDIBLE). And by the way, that is what will be needed to solve these larger questions down the line.
When I say police force, in the past, the police force has been a very down trodden institution so one doesn't think of it as a powerful force that's capable of standing the difference. I'm talking about a force of perhaps a country like 40,000 to 50,000 people country wide that is, has units that are trained much like army units that are about securing law and order inside. That are about dealing with groups of people when they have other expropriations of land expropriations which are illegal, that can be heavy handed, if you like, in a way that the Americans are not prepared to be at the moment. You need heavy handed policemen. Really, hands on, heavy handed policemen in Iraq. Not just this kind of, you take the person, imprison him for one day, and you let him out the next. You need a tougher approach to policing but it's best that the Americans don't do. The Iraqis do it. Iraqis that have been trained and working at the American command.
That's what we should have now. We need these people right now.
KANAN MAKIYA: I think the chances are good. My sense from the discussions I had the police force, the chances were good. But the report that is just coming out last week, and so acting on the report and moving on it, I don't know what the report said, so I don't even know if the report was actually released when it was supposed to be released. And I don't know what the report says.
I got the sense that it was going to go in that direction. But you then have to start recruiting, you then have to start training and so on and so forth.
So that having been said, that's to deal with, that's satisfactory in the long run. That's what needs to be done. But I think also the business climate will improve once the (INAUDIBLE) simply with the army presence and so on. We needn't let us stop and delay other things.
QUESTIONER: Just an update on (INAUDIBLE) constitution that's in work?
KANAN MAKIYA: Well, the latest development is that parallel with the picking and choosing of the interim administration which (INAUDIBLE) into the building, there will be a national assembly for the purpose of choosing the constitutional commission. That constitutional commission will be maybe 100 to 200 people large, that will have (STUMBLE) this is our ideas, now that much I think is clearly inside the American game plan.
The idea is that several bodies come out of that. Not right away but ultimately down the line, a drafting commission, then a public relations commission that is, or citizens bureau, let's call it that, who's job it will be to receive from the citizens ideas about the future of Iraq. Then a media relations body who's job it will be to pass on the debates that take place inside the constitutional commission to the public at large.
In other words, the purpose of the process is to be very transparent, very open and to help politicize the country or create civil society in the country by way of discussing the future of what kind of a state do we want. The process here is very important so that this body of the constitution commission will be reaching out to Iraqis in different cities, to different communities and so on. It's crucial that body itself be representative at the constitutional commission. I don't think it's as crucial that the drafting commission be representative of where it needs to be a group of people, five maybe maximum, seven, eight people, that will be plenty.
But that's what's in (INAUDIBLE) at the moment. And hopefully the assembly will take place towards the end of July.
QUESTIONER: (INAUDIBLE) your preferred recipe for a constitution assuming Iraq remains a viable single country. We hear so much about democracy coming to Iraq. We know that the majority of the population is Shiite and is possibly come radicalized or Islamacized and (INAUDIBLE) and the whole country. How do you deal with this situation?
KANAN MAKIYA: Well, I personally am against imposing (INAUDIBLE) on the whole country. I don't think that would be wise. I think the wiser groups are not saying that. There are (INAUDIBLE) saying that kind of thing at the moment, but I don't think that's on for a second because Iraqis are very diverse (INAUDIBLE) it's not as homogenous as Iran or other countries. And so the likelihood of that, a recipe like that, imposing (INAUDIBLE) on the country at large, will simply cause another word. (INAUDIBLE) you had a totally disrupted, impossible to function. And I think most people do realize that.
The crucial thing for a constitution to achieve in Iraq is a definition of what it means to be an Iraqi. That is somehow avoids strict of ethnicity, religion, or any other singular characteristic. So you need a definition and above all, connected with that, an equality of rights of every Iraqi before the law that is complete and transparent and above board.
Within this parameter, a definition of Iraqiness, the quality of being Iraqi, based upon this equality before the law, you can have collective rights recognized within that framework. Collective rights that don't damage that overall, overarching framework which is crucial to the success of its (INAUDIBLE) in Iraq.
I think what is needed, if I might say at the moment, is that the Coalition authority itself spun out the (INAUDIBLE) rules of the game. Something it has not been willing to do. And I would like to see Ambassador Bremmer, for instance, as he announces the launching of the constitutional process, announce the core values that the United States is there to defend and uphold and would like to see in the future constitution of Iraq. And it should include the emphasis on what it means to be an Iraqi, what it means, the quality before the law and the rule of law. It doesn't have to be a very complex statement, but it has to state that those priorities should be enshrined in the future constitution which it then establishes the process by which it will take place.
Let us not forget, the constitution is going to be written not by Americans, but certainly under Coalition auspices. It's going to be possible to do, hopefully, to do it, this process, only because the Coalition authority allows it to happen, facilitates it, gives it what it needs to make this work happen. Anything from phones to media access to traveling around the country to hold meetings, all these require security so (INAUDIBLE) Coalition.
So the Coalition therefore has a obligation it seems to me also to act positive step for it to say that it is not about to initiate the process that is going to lead to a religious state in Iraq. It's not about to unleash a process that is going to lead to an ethnic federal state. These are fundamental starting points that I think to me are perfectly possible. I don't know if they're thinking that way or not, for Ambassador Bremmer to state up front and then allow the process, Iraqis, to spell it all out.
NARRATOR. Thank you.