Iraq may soon be forming a paramilitary
unit that would join coalition forces in the search for resistance fighters.
President of the Iraqi Governing Council, Jalal Talabani, says the Council and
the Coalition Provisional Authority are close to an agreement on the formation
of an Iraqi paramilitary unit that would have broad police and military powers.
The unit would be responsible, among other things, for gathering intelligence,
conducting raids, and interrogating suspects.
Mr. Talabani, who holds this month's rotating presidency, told a news conference
there must be greater Iraqi participation in the country's security.
Mr. Talabani says Iraq must take part in the safety and security of its own
country. He says the Iraqi Interior Ministry has put together a comprehensive
secret plan to increase security and that the Governing Council is trying to
win approval for the plan by the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority,
It was reported, by the Washington Post that Mr. Bremer has given
his conditional approval for the plan, but wants several specific conditions
to be met, including supervision of training and the selection of participants
in the units.
Mr. Talabani said he believes most of the attacks against coalition troops
and Iraqi security personnel are being carried out by foreign fighters associated
with the al-Qaida terror network. He said Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, and Iran had
given assurances they would work to prevent terrorists from crossing their
borders into Iraq.
While security remains a top concern in Iraq, Mr. Talabani says gaining Iraq's
independence is equally as important.
"Nowadays, the security is the more important issue, but we are thinking
that the most important thing is to . the most important task is to build a
democratic, parliamentarian, united, and independent Iraq," he said. "To regain
our independence and our sovereignty as soon as possible."
Mr. Talabani said the Governing Council is in what he described as "advanced
stages" of writing a new constitution. He said the Council's constitutional
committee would soon present four options to the full Council for writing Iraq's
new constitution, although he did not elaborate on what those options will
Mr. Talabani says he plans to travel to Turkey later this month in an effort
to ease tensions between the two countries, following Turkey's decision last
month to send troops to Iraq to join the coalition forces. That decision was
opposed by the Iraqi Governing Council.