The USG Open Source Center translates an interview with the police chief of Basra, Staff Maj-Gen. Abdul Jalil Khalaf. Therein, Khalaf denies that Iran is playing a negative role and stirring turmoil in the southern port city of 1.5 million. Khalaf was appointed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about six months ago. He is therefore not running interference for a local Basra militia with ties to Iran, e.g. In fact, he has been scathing on the Shiite militias and has escaped numerous assassination attempts. Al-Maliki has correct relations with Iran, but his Da`wa Party is not as close to Tehran as some others.
Iraqi Police Commander in Basra Dismisses Accusations Against Iran
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
Iraqi Basra police commander dismisses accusations against Iran
Text of report by state-run Iranian Arabic-language television news channel Al-Alam on 17 January
The commander of Basra Police, Staff Maj-Gen Jalil Khalaf, has described the US-British accusations that Iran is meddling in Iraqi affairs and undermining the security situation as nothing more than a political game. He said the Iraqi security services have not obtained any evidence pointing to a negative Iranian interference in southern Iraq.
(Al-Alam TV correspondent in Basra Ni’mah Abd-al-Razzaq) Iran is backing the armed groups in southern Iraq. This accusation which the US and British forces of occupation have continuously and repeatedly made in the past few years has not been backed up with facts, according to the (Iraqi) field commanders in southern Iraq. The commander of Basra Police, Staff Maj-Gen Jalil Khalaf, described the US and British accusations against Iran as nothing more than a political game, saying that the Iraqi security services have not found any evidence which would point to an Iranian interference in southern Iraq.
(Staff Maj-Gen Khalaf – recording) I tell you this in all honesty, when I find any evidence I will announce it openly, but so far I have not found any. In my capacity as field commander and as a professional, I tell you I have not found any evidence. As regards the countries (concerned), it is their problem and this is politics.
(Abd-al-Razzaq) The police commander, who is known to be rigorous in his pursuit of the gunmen and who, as a result, was the target of nine assassination attempts, derided what is known as the awakening councils in southern Iraq and expressed his total opposition to them.
(Staff Maj-Gen Khalaf) First of all, we were not asleep and have just awakened. I am opposed to the awakening committees (as heard) in the south. What I mean is that I am not opposed to the Awakening Councils in Iraq, but in the south we do not need Awakening Councils.
(Abd-al-Razzaq) Basra Police recently announced that it had raided a camp operated by it described as terrorists in Al-Mudaynah area, north of Basra, where it seized large quantities of weapons and explosive devices. Basra Police did not, however, reveal the identity of the people who were captured in that raid.
The field commanders in southern Iraq have repeatedly denied any negative Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs and yet the US and British forces of occupation are trying to lean on this pretext to justify their failure in Iraq, according to observers.
(Description of Source: Tehran Al-Alam Television in Arabic — IRIB’s 24-hour Arabic news channel, targetting a pan-Arab audience)