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Iraq: Security Commanders Discuss Security In Baghdad

Iraqi security forces in Baghdad on April 11 (epa) Operation Scales of Justice (Mizan al-Adalah) has already borne fruit, Iraqi Interior Ministry's special-forces commander General Adnan Thabit told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) in an interview on April 12.

Thabit: [The operation's intention is ] clearing Baghdad of terrorist elements and robber networks, and taking control over the security situation in the streets. The problem we have been facing is incidents of theft and kidnapping. We have adopted a plan for this and have so far arrested about seven gangs involved in theft and terror acts while disguised as [members of security forces affiliated with] the Interior and Defense ministries.

RFI: There have been questions why an action against these groups has been taken so late, only after they had already developed and expanded.

Thabit: No, no. Actions were taken before but many times, the [gangs] were coming from outside Baghdad. Therefore, we focused on the areas around Baghdad in search of the terrorists.

RFI: The special-forces commander has confirmed that members of the forces of the Interior and Defense ministries will be given new identification badges and that these would also be shown on the television so that citizens can become familiar with them.

Thabit: The badges and marks will be produced in a way so that they cannot be forged. We will show them on television so that people get to know them.

More details on Operation Scales of Justice were given by security-forces commander General Mahdi al-Gharawi, also interviewed by RFI on April 12.

Al-Gharawi: The Scales of Justice plan is a joint operation between the forces of the Defense and Interior ministries. Sectors have been allocated under the joint control of the Interior and the Defense ministry forces. Depending on our numbers and on the type of the armament that the terrorists have, we decide on the support to be received from other forces. For instance, in [Baghdad's areas of] Al-Ghazaliyah, Al-Adl, and Al-Khadra, the security forces operate in cooperation with the 1st Brigade of the Iraqi army. We are now in full control of the main roads leading to Al-Ghazaliyah, Al-Khadra, and Al-Amiriyah. Regarding the general situation of Operation Scales of Justice, there is close coordination and a permanent presence of the army and security forces in all parts of Baghdad.

We have been running the operation for 10 days and will continue until the new elected government is formed and assumes its responsibilities. Then, Scales of Justice will end and a new plan will be introduced.

RFI: Is it true that Iraqi forces cannot enter hot areas without consent from the multinational forces?

Al-Gharawi: No. It is indeed Scales of Justice, something that includes cooperation between the Interior and Defense ministries and the multinational forces. There has been a joint agreement on this issue, respecting the Iraqi people who live in those areas. You know, there has been an increase in allegations recently that some police forces turned out to be fake police. Therefore, we wanted to include joint forces of the Interior and Defense [ministries]. People will know that these are genuine security forces coming to arrest someone, and we will also eliminate the possible mistakes.

RFI: Will the operation be extended to other hot areas outside Baghdad?

Al-Gharawi: Well, regarding the hot areas there, the situation in Mosul is now really good. It is even good in Salah al-Din [Governorate]. Only Al-Anbar [Governorate] still has security forces [deployed], but hopefully they will be recalled within the coming days. The formation and increase in the numbers of the police is going on there. As far as I have been informed, a division of the Iraqi army has been formed in Al-Anbar as well. Tribal leaders have recently been taking necessary political steps, so it will be hopefully good.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek.)

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