Iraqi security source expresses concern regarding 250 explosive jackets given to Arab volunteers
A high ranking security source told Al Bawaba earlier this week that clues connecting Al Qaeda and Abu Musaab Al Zarqawi have been discovered following the recent bombings at the Shiit shrines in Iraq.
“Negotiations are currently underway with the heads of tribes as well as other parties to get them to cooperate in convincing the Arab volunteers who are fighting against the occupation to hand themselves in return for guarantees that they return home safely,” Ibrahim Al Janabi, secretary general of the security panel in the interim Iraqi governing council, conveyed to Al Bawaba.
Janabi linked the recent bombings - and specifically the one that rocked Karbala while Shiite Muslims were celebrating Ashura - to Al Qaeda and other factions working with them including Abu Mus’ab Al Zarkawi as well as others. Janabi also spoke about common fears amongst the US forces and Iraqi police over what is believed to be 250 explosive jackets (those used on such suicide missions) given by the toppled regime to the Arab volunteers shortly before the US-led war on Iraq started.
On the political front, Janabi said that the US is indeed intending to hand over power to the Iraqis by June 30. He also suggested that power may be handed to an Iraqi presidential council similar to the one that took over back in 1958.
Previously, the idea was to hold partial elections in Iraq, however according to Janabi, “this would not work in a country like ours”. He suggested that one of the alternatives would be the formation of a national assembly that would rule Iraq for 18 months. The proposed assembly will include 60 members, 25% of which will be women. According to Janabi, the assembly would then elect a president and two vice presidents in addition to a prime minister.
Commenting on the religious influence in Iraq and its impact on the rebuilding process, Janabi stated that the [Shiite] Ayatollahs also want a modern, safe and stable Iraq and would not stand in the way of any process if it was guaranteed that. “We made it clear to them that Islam would be the source of legislation in Iraq, yet secular rule is what we want…but not to the extent that Islam will be ignored. Our guiding principle would be religion is for God while Iraq is for all.”
About the hand-over stage, Janabi asserted that it will be done by July 30. However, he did note that “this does not mean that the coalition forces will withdraw from Iraq overnight…the process requires preparations.”
Commenting on any future role they may have, Janabi said “the coalition forces are expected to have camps within the residential areas while assisting in rehabilitating the local Iraqi police and army. “
The same source also assured that Paul Bremer is expected to leave to the US following the hand-over stage.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)