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President Al-Yawer Interview

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Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Newspaper Interview with the Iraqi President Al-Yawer few hours after the handover.

29/6/2004

Al-Yawer: the early sovereignty handover was intentional to face violence and terrorism actions.

Al-Yawer: I told President Bush that we object making the presidential palace a part of the newly US embassy complex. I was surprised knowing that he didn’t have a clue about this.

 

Interviewed by: Adnan Hussein

Translated by Baghdadee

 

Before starting the interview, I asked President Al-Yawer if he prefers calling him President Al-Yawer or Sheikh Al-Yawer. His smiley reply was that he has been asked the same question by President Bush when met him few weeks ago, and his response was “I was called Sheikh since my childhood, and this will stay with me after I leave my presidential post, and I prefers what was for me in the past and will be for me in the future”. During my interview with Al-Yawer he affirmed that his passion is “after 60 or 70 years, his descendants will feel proud of him as a person who did all the good deeds”.

In his very modest saloon in his presidential residence wearing his modest outfit, Al-Yawer, the sixth president of the Iraqi Republic and the ninth of the modern Iraq, has met us, few hours after the official handover of full Iraq sovereignty to the Allawi interim government from the coalition provisional authority (CPA) and swearing sermon in a time that surprised everyone.

 

Q: Why this early and surprised handover of power.

A: The date and time was already agreed upon between us and the CPA. We agreed to have the handover within the last 3 days of June. When we felt that there has been some planning for some plans to ruin the official handover date we made the handover a bit earlier instead of the original 30th of June date.

 

Q: At the end of that day and after the swearing sermon before the cabinet what were you thinking and what did you say to yourself going back home?

A: I felt that we are now free people again, and we have the say in ruling the country. It is a big responsibility, and to make it secure, we have to keep the multi-national forces in Iraq because we need them to achieve what we and our people want to achieve. It is such reality that pushes us to keep these forces. We are realistic people, and risking the country security and the safety of our people is unthinkable. We will bare the accusations and the criticisms of keeping them. We wish that we have not been in need to keep them in our country.

We want Iraq to be fully sovereign and independent and to make all our decisions in favor of our people. Today and after the sermon ended, we had a meeting and we took some decisions, we though they were in favor of the Iraqi people interests, and they were a part of a set of decisions and policies that we planned for them for the past four weeks and they wont affect the people freedom and their dignity but they are decisive and very resolute to confront anyone who want to destabilized the country.

 

Q: Was the meeting with the prime minister and the ministers?

A: It was with the prime minister and the deputy and national security advisor.

 

Q: Can we ask you about the nature of decisions you made?

A: They are three major decisions that will be put in action in the near future;

- Amnesty to all individuals whom didn’t commit a crime against the Iraq people and who didn’t have blood in their hands.

- Re-impose the National Protection Law which a softer version of Marshal Law but imply harsher punishments against terrorism and outlaw activities.

- Re-impose capital punishment on measures similar to most other countries. This punishment has nothing to do with the one that was imposed during Saddam era, when was applicable on 114 different cases. We will action this punishment on crimes against society like rape, kidnapping, murder and destabilization of the country and other crimes which can be categorized under terrorism.

 

Q: What is your authority as a president during this interim period and how can we draw the line between your authority and the prime minister one?

A: We are working as a team. This is a national salvation government, and there is no space for bezantic arguing about authorities. It is a time for work to rebuild the country in all aspects and to fulfill the transitional period agenda. The president is an icon for the country and to supervised the general policies of the state while the prime minister authorities are to supervise his cabinet and to achieve the ministries goals.

 

Q: Are you saying that you are going to work as a team and you are going to participate in the cabinet meetings.

A: It is the right of the president to attend the cabinet meetings, and to meet with the prime minister on an ongoing base to make sure that he is familiar with the cabinet and to discuss issues with the prime minister. This doesn’t mean that we have to do it weekly only; we can do it on a daily base.

 

Q: The Iraqi people are looking forward to achieve their basic needs especially their security, their economical and social life. In the past (15 months) the occupational forces didn’t meet these needs. Now and after gaining back Iraq sovereignty, can this government solve the current problems?

A: The main priority for the government is security and to improve the Iraqi security forces to a level that can make us capable of being self dependant and to say to whom assisted us; thank you, you can leave our land now. We are very serious about this, and in the past days our people has seen that. The country security can’t be achieved but by the people of the country. On the economical front, we have the same momentum. For the past period and during my attendance to the G8 summit we asked the G8 countries to waiver Iraq debits. We talked to them directly, and they show understanding and they affirm that they are working on it. Some countries showed their willingness to help us after a legitimate government being put in place and endorsed by the UN. Now this government has being formed, and we are waiting for those countries to make their promises. Other countries asked us to work more on security before they can give us any grants, we told them; give us those grants to build our security forces, develop our capabilities and fight unemployment. $32 Billion dollars of grants for Iraq has been announced so far but less than 20% of that amount was actually received. We didn’t receive it in cash, but as equipments brought by companies represent those granting states. US have spent $6 Billions so far not given in cash but in over priced products through giant companies of their own. When they bring an item worth 1$ they priced it in Iraq for $50. I personally talked to President Bush about this subject and asked him to give some role to the Iraq government to monitor these projects to QA it.

 

Q: It looks like security is becoming more and more the main obstacle in this transitional period. What do you think the best approach to fight terrorism?

A: We expect these acts to continue and we are making now a lot of efforts to face such waves of violence and terror in the future. We made some realistic strategies based on our judgment on how to face these desperate attempts. We will prevail in the end. This government has the support of the Iraqi tribes, and most of the major parties and faction all over the country. There is a national consensus on fighting terrorism and I think that the best way of making that happened is by educate the Iraqi people to form a national front to fight terrorism. The people have to understand that these actions are against them in the first place. That last bombing in Mosul took 69 lives 66 of them were Iraqis. Today, Iraqis know that they themselves and the government are on one side and the terrorist, the enemy of Iraq, on the other side. Terrorists didn’t come for the sake of Iraq but to serve their own agenda and they are the cause of keeping foreign troops inside the country. We have to keep those troops to provide more security to our people. Without those atrocities, no one could have asked those forces to stay, terrorists want them to stay and they are the main obstacle against the re-build of the country.

 

Q: Now we are a sovereign nation, do you expect the return of ambassadors to Baghdad?

A: Few days ago many countries have asked us to re-open their embassies starting from the beginning of July. When we finished the handover ceremonies some countries have made some dates to re-commence their relationship with Iraq.

 

Q: Were there any Arabs among them?

A: Yes, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan and Yemen. I’m confident that all Arabic countries will have their embassies re-opened in Baghdad.

 

Q: You are now the president of all Iraqis, of all its different authenticities, religions, sects and political factions. In the preparation of the formation of the national congress and the endorsement of the permanent constitution, it is normal to have all kind of differences between those ingredients. What is your vision of the role of the president in managing these differences and rivalries to homogenize these different elements?

A: It is a blessing from Allah (God) that made me acceptable and supported by these different ingredients of Iraqi nation. With my two deputies, the three of us represent most of these components. That makes the very strong foundation to make excellent, balanced, and objective associations with all of them. With all my respect to my social background, I don’t think that I belong to this tribe or faction alone. I’m for all Iraq, my tribe is the whole Iraq and my tribesmen are all Iraqis. My ambition is to make Iraqis feeling that they are all equal. My duty as a president is not to love his country only but his people, and that is my feeling.

 

Q: Where will be your office? Is it in the presidential palace?

A: Because the American has used the palace for more than a year, it’s cleaning up from their gears and equipments and then its renovation could take some time. I’m working now from a temporary office and the presidential palace will still be an icon of Iraq sovereignty. This palace had witnessed a king and 5 presidents and it wasn’t build for single man. It is the people palace. I don’t care if I use it or not, the most important thing is to return to the people who will decide its destiny.

I told President Bush that we object making the presidential palace a part of the newly US embassy complex. I was surprised knowing that he didn’t have a clue about this. He promised me that they will evacuate the palace and it will be my office. I told him that it is not important for me to work from there, but it is more important for it to brought back to the people with no flag raised above it but the Iraqi flag.

 

Q: The newly Iraqi government has its opponents. How do you consider them and what do you want to say to them?

A: We respect every opinion and we don’t expect that we all 100% agree on everything. What we are urging our brothers to oppose and criticize in a constructive and positive way for the sake of decency and the progress of the country. Disputes and damaging debates have no good to the country. They went away forever. Everyone should have his share in rebuilding the country and who want to object let he come forward to hear his voice and critics. At the end, the voting booth will have the final say. Our rule will not be for long time and we don’t want it to be longer because we want to serve our people when they accept us though the voting booth. Let us be different on the means but be united on our goals in serving the people and the nation.

 

Q: When this interim period ended, will you run for the presidency?

A: I haven’t though about this now, neither in the past and I didn’t vote for myself. My name was put forward by many Iraqi factions and political movements. Our aim is to fulfill our duties. We didn’t come to serve our personal interests.

 

Q: Are you going to run for presidency or not?

A: Within a month before the election or a bit earlier we may have a different opinion. If we feel that we are accepted by the people and we can help the political process in the country, we will serve the people, if not; we will pass this duty to the eligible candidate. This country is for everyone and not owned by anyone.

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This is the new Iraq.. We wish all of our Arab brothers might some day enjoy what we just started to experience..

Thanks a lot baghdadee for the great effort translating the interview!

 

هذا هو العراق الجديد..

نتمنى ان ياتي اليوم الذي يتمتع فيه اخواننا العرب بما بدئنا للتو من تجربه ...

شكرا لمحرر الموقع ما بذله من جهد في ترجمه هذا المقال او المقابله

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Guest Tom Grey

Great interview.

I hope President Al-Yawer decides to make some 275 different districts in Iraq, for the future representatives to be local district reps.

 

And, for Martial law to be declared only in terrorist targeted districts.

 

Pres. Bush should have known more; but most Americans should more ... and we often don't.

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Guest Guest_mutergem

http://www.alrafidayn.com/Story/News/N_27_07_04_28.html

 

 

In Arabic.. Alyawer said that the the new aminsty law will be granted only to those who didn't commited a killing crime against Iraqis, Arab, or American.. He said while talking to some tribal leaders from Anbar and Fallouja, that thee will be no concetions with criminals and we will elliminate them if they continoue to terrorize our people.

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