In an interview with the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Ibrahim al-Ja'fari addressed a number of critical issues facing his government, among them the withdrawal of international forces, the recent elections, the future of Kirkuk, and the role of Arab satellite television channels in Iraq. The following are excerpts from the interview:
The Multinational Forces Will Leave with Our Gratitude, after Our National Army and Security Forces Are Capable of Defending Iraq
"We want the exit of foreign troops from Iraq at the earliest time possible. No country welcomes the stationing of foreign troops on its territory because this would reflect negatively upon our ability to defend our country and [would indicate that there is] a security breakdown which confers no honor upon us."
Dr. al-Ja'fari added that there are two timetables: "the first timetable is the exit of the multinational forces at a time that would serve the terrorists and make them destroy the Iraqi citizen and put an end to our democratic experience. The other timetable is to build our security forces and our national army to make them capable of defending Iraq. According to the latter [timetable], the multinational forces will leave with our gratitude, and this is what we have agreed on."
Women and Children Are Murdered in Iraq, and the Arabic Satellite Channels Do Not Call It Terrorism
"You are aware of what goes on in Iraq concerning the struggle of the Iraqi people…and the enemy of the Iraqi people with all his misdeeds, evils and savagery. Regrettably, many of the satellite television channels ignore and do not display the tragedies that occur in Iraq, such as the rape and murder of women and the violation of the sanctity of women, as though these things did not happen…
"There are crimes committed in Iraq that are not labeled as terrorism [such as] the murder of policemen and heroic Iraqi soldiers…The pure and honest Iraqi woman is killed and this is not called terrorism; the innocent Iraqi child is murdered and the Arabic media does not call it terrorism. The Arabic media remains hostile and not objective. I address my admonition to the satellite TV channels to rise to the level of their responsibilities by showing the facts and calling a spade a spade."
"The Remaining Elements of the Saddam Regime Declare: 'Either We Govern Iraq or We Burn It'"
"Iraq has lost many victims, so much so that we have the right to call it the land of the martyrs, because there is not a single Iraqi home that has not lost a martyr. However, this will not diminish our strength. On the contrary, we will be more determined to work toward creating a glorious future for Iraq.
"The end of the Saddam Hussein nightmare was due to the will of the Iraqi people, and without this will the regime would not have fallen by the arms of the American forces [alone]. It is the wills of peoples that bring change, and henceforth the wheel of time will not go backward. The age of the cult of personality and of tragedies has ended.
"We have all paid the toll for dictatorship and the absence of democracy for a long period of time. Saddam had dispersed us all over the world. And here is Iraq, a home returning to its own owners after it was looted. But we have to look at things as they are, not as we would like them to be."
Ja'fari warned that the culture of bloodletting that, in his words, characterized the Saddam regime, "has now been adopted by the remaining elements of the [Saddam] regime, who declare: 'Either we govern Iraq or we burn it.'
"Terrorism in Iraq is an example of terrorism in the world. What happens in our country is a challenge for the whole world… to stand by our side, because the Iraqi citizen is paying with his blood confronting terrorism... There was no defined geography for terrorism… and the response should be consistent with the crimes of terrorists in Iraq." 
Two days after the interview, Dr. al-Ja'fari said that the Iraqi people "are paying the toll in blood on behalf of all the nations facing terrorism... Certain areas in Saudi Arabia send terrorists to Iraq through Syria, but we distinguish between the Saudi state and the efforts of these [men]." 
"The Issue of Kirkuk Has Acquired Regional Dimensions; We Ought to Postpone the Question of Its Status"
In the June 28 interview, Ja'fari also discussed the sensitive issue of the city of Kirkuk:
"[Kirkuk] is one of our complex political problems because of the structure of its population [Turkmen, Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians]. They are all concerned about their situation; even Turkey is concerned about the Turkmen. This means that the issue has acquired a regional dimension… I believe we ought to give [the issue] sufficient time and postpone its status until we resolve the status of its population."