Badr Corps Will Accept Ex Baathists

Badr Corps Will Accept Ex-Baathists

BBC Monitoring translates comments of Hadi al-Amiri in ash-Sharq al-Awsat for April 24:

April 25, 2005

HEADLINE: HEAD OF IRAQI SHI’I GROUP OFFERS UNITY TO EX-BA’THISTS

“The following is the text of the interview with Al-Amiri, conducted in Baghdad by Al-Sharq al-Awsat correspondent Huda Jasim, published by London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat web site on 24 April:

[Al-Amiri]: We have supporters from all sections of the Iraqi people. We have Muslim, Christian, Kurdish, Shi’i, and Sunni followers. We achieved victories in elections for provincial councils. In Baghdad alone, we secured 700,000 votes and won 28 of the council’s 51 seats . . .

With regard to the source of weapons, we negotiated with the Iranian government at the time and obtained weapons that were seized during the Iraq-Iran war . . .

Also, Iran provided support. It supported us when we were there. It also supported Jalal Talabani, Mas’ud Barzani, and everyone who needed support for their causes . . .

[Al-Amiri] We are not a military wing. Rather, we are a group of mujahidin against injustice. We were forced to resort to military means to rid ourselves of this injustice. The SCIRI serves as a framework of a group of parties and movements, and Badr is one of them.

Badr is a jihadist movement, not a military unit. There are doctors, engineers, university professors, and women who are members of this organization. Besides, we have women associations in all parts of Iraq. Our organization represents all sects, ethnic groups, and religions in Iraq . . .

We agreed to incorporate Badr forces into the army and police and other state agencies . . .

[Jasim] There are ongoing negotiations on who should take charge of the interior ministry. Some circles say that the most likely candidates for the post are Hadi al-Amiri and Bayan Jabr. What about these negotiations and how will you deal with the situation in Iraq amid these difficult circumstances?

[Al-Amiri] The interior ministry has been given to the coalition list. The coalition list insists that we take charge of the security issue in Iraq at this stage. Before taking this job, I say that the governors of six Iraqi provinces belong to the Badr organizations. These provinces are: Babil, Al-Qadisiyah, Al-Najaf, Karbala, Dhi Qar, and Al-Muthanna, in addition to the capital Baghdad.

Also, the Badr organization has a strong presence in most other Iraqi provinces . . .

[Jasim] And what about rooting out the Ba’th Party and liquidating its members?

[Al-Amiri] We support the dissolution of the Ba’th party. However, we never were against its members who were forced to join the party organizations. Through you, we announce that the doors are open for them to return to the Iraqi people. We should unite to defend the Iraqi people.

Anyone who committed a crime, be he a Ba’thist or non-Ba’thist, will be referred to the Iraqi judiciary that will rule on his case. We always say and repeat that we oppose acts of liquidation and support people’s right to defend themselves. The door to repentance is always open to those who want to repent.

Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat web site, London, in Arabic 24 Apr 05

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