» Monday, November 8, 2004


Asked what the chain of command was in regard to Fallujah given British troops were involved in the wider operation and whether Britain would be informed in advance when a decision was made by Prime Minister Allawi, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) reinforced that it was PM Allawi’s decision. He had set out both in Brussels, in an interview with the BBC and in other comments over the weekend his view of the situation in Fallujah. The Prime Minister had a very detailed meeting with Prime Minister Allawi in Brussels for an hour so we were made fully aware of his thinking. In terms of the Black Watch the PMOS stressed again what was said when their deployment was announced that they remained under British command. Asked to clarify that when Allawi made his decision that he would then tell us the PMOS said that when the decision was made we would be fully aware of what that decision was.

Asked if we were satisfied that every opportunity had been taken to pursue negotiations and that they were now exhausted the PMOS said that it was for Prime Minister Allawi to talk about the detail of discussions he had had, but in regard to the question of whether we were absolutely satisfied that Prime Minister Allawi had tried to secure a political way forward as had happened in Samara and elsewhere the answer to that was yes. Looking at what Prime Minister Alawi had done throughout Iraq and in particular in Fallujah, he had offered an amnesty to armed groups, he had supported the creation of a broadly representative national council and he had conducted through intermediaries intensive efforts at dialogue with all groups. He had set out that the goal of all this was, which was the really important point, to ensure that the people who inhabit Fallujah can have their say in national elections in January. This was not carrying out a military operation. If indeed that was what it was going to be, for the sake of a military operation it was to allow people to have their say. That was not possible if you had armed insurgents using a city both to mount direct and indirect attacks on not just on the multi national force but also on the Iraqi army, Iraqi police and Iraqi officials. That was what this was all about: allowing the people of Fallujah to have their free vote come January.

Asked if the British Government was asking for the evacuation of the city so that all that remained would be insurgents or their supporters the PMOS said that it was not a matter for the British Government to ask for anything. It was for the Iraqi Government, endorsed by the United Nations, to say what should happen.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. "endorsed by the UN"? Oops – that’s a fib, isn’t it: the UN said don’t attack the city, presumably because it is illegal under international humanitarian law (collective punishment, bombing hospitals, that kind of thing).

    So, the coalition are bombing hospitals and using those ultra-precision 155mm Howitzers (rather wide kill range!) to ["allow] the people of Fallujah to have their free vote come January"? How kind of them!!

    Comment by Lee Bryant — 8 Nov 2004 on 6:16 pm | Link
  2. prime minister
    You must have more thought for the young men of the Black Watch battle group than to say "our thoughts are with the Black Watch".Have you seen how frightened they look on the limited amount of news footage we get?Perhaps you ought to cast your mind back to how upset your wife got when she was trying to "protect" Euan when he first started university, some of these lads are about the same age as he was then.You’ve made some momentous mistakes since the whole Iraq invasion started now is the right time to start putting them right fistly by admitting it and secondly by pulling the Black Watch back to Basra, they are getting hit purley because of the wrong approach of the americans in the first place.Come on Prime minister swallow your pride admit you are wrong and let the americans sort their own mess out.

    Comment by martin sparkes — 8 Nov 2004 on 9:45 pm | Link

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