What Will Happen With Iraq?

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, November 12, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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BRIT HUME, HOST: The world awaits Saddam Hussein's reaction to being ordered by the United Nations Security Counsel to disarm and to assist Mr. Blix and his inspectors in the task of showing that he has disarmed. So far, all that's been heard from Baghdad, of course, is that a vote by the country's toothless parliament against obedience to the resolution. So, is the stage being set for defiance or some outward sign of compliance? For answers, we turn to FOX News contributor Dennis Ross, former Middle East envoy to two presidents and the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Peace or Policy?


HUME: Near East policy, excuse me. All right, Dennis welcome.

ROSS: Thank you.

HUME: First of all, just a quick question on Usama bin Laden, any thoughts about the fact that it appears tonight that he may indeed still be alive?

ROSS: I've always suspected it. Obviously nobody knows it but I've suspected it because We haven't heard from people who were near him talking about his demise. You would have expected to pick up something. Secondly, he's the kind of guy who would like to create a mystique about himself, so he'd like to rise out, like a Phoenix out of the ashes. So, I'm not particularly surprised that he may still be alive.

HUME: But why do you imagine if he can send out an audiotape, why not a videotape?

ROSS: Well, I suspect there may be something with his appearance.


ROSS: So right now maybe he doesn't want to be seen quite the way he appears.

HUME: So, reports of his demise may be exaggerated but reports of his entirely good health may be exaggerated as well?

ROSS: It could be.

HUME: All right. Let's talk a little bit about, first of all, do you anticipate that Saddam will continue this pattern of defiance or do you think this so-called parliament's vote is simply to tee up some grand gesture on his part?

ROSS: I think defiance over time, yes. The appearance of compliance now and over time also, yes, the two can exist at the same time. What he wants to do right now is use the parliament to show his public doesn't want him to accept this infringement on Iraqi sovereignty but because he, after all, is prepared to allow for peace, provide for peace, he will take the grand gesture, as you put it, of in effect showing how moderate he is and he's responding to the will of the international community and we should be sympathetic to him because, after all, he's constrained by a public that wants to move in a different direction.

HUME: He's under terrible political pressure from his own people.

ROSS: Absolutely.

HUME: Who by democratic processes could take him out of office after all.

ROSS: Just momentarily.

HUME: Now, when it all starts now, presumable he'll announce some intention to comply. He'll produce some document. When do you expect that? He's supposed to produce within 30 days some inventory of what he's got, right?

ROSS: That's right.

HUME: When do you expect that will contain, something, nothing, what?

ROSS: No, my guess is that what he will do is he will, I think, load the inspectors with a huge amount of material, a lot of documents and maybe there will be a few items in there that, in fact, we knew or suspected he had but he never revealed before, but it certainly won't be everything he's supposed to reveal and it will certainly protect that which he is most determined to protect, which is I think what he's doing in the nuclear area and what he's doing in the biological area. Chemicals is where I expect he may be most forthcoming.

HUME: All right, so at that moment we have the first test for Hans Blix and his merry men.

ROSS: That's right.

HUME: And women presumably for all we know. What do you expect will happen there and what do you know about Hans Blix? I know there are people in the U.S. Government, although they're not saying it publicly but privately have very great reservations about him.

ROSS: Well, I would say two things. First, I think because there will be a large volume of material that they'll have to go through, they won't be able to do it overnight. It will take a week or so. Second, however, I think his instinct, not having had his inspectors in there yet is certainly not to say well gee there are some violations here.

His instinct is going to say well maybe it's not everything but it's certainly a step in the right direction. He'll point to those things that are new. He'll say it's not up to me as the inspector to decide what is a violation and what isn't a violation. That, of course, is a Security Council decision and they will decide whatever steps should be taken. For my part, we are prepared to carry out the work of the resolution. This is a first step. We will do it if the Security Council decides we should.

HUME: So, in they go.

ROSS: I think at that point the council on that basis is probably inclined to go forward unless the administration makes it clear from the beginning that this is the fundamental test. I would like to see it as the fundamental test. Bear in mind one thing, Brit. Eleven years ago, one of the key provisions in the first ceasefire resolution was that he had to reveal everything and he was given 15 days. He wasn't given 30 days to reveal everything.

Now, he's not done it yet. So, here we are, the president is saying this is the last chance. Eleven years later it's the last chance and if he comes in and once again it's a partial disclosure not a full disclosure...

HUME: Will we be able to establish immediately, by the way, that it is partial?

ROSS: I hope we can. One of the things I would suggest is this may well be the time for us to do what was done in the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where Adelaide Stevenson went before the Security Council and, as his Russian colleague was there claiming that they had no missiles, he pulled out the picture that showed here were the missiles. It seems to me that one of the things we should be ready...

HUME: And he was preparing to wait until hell froze over to get an honest answer, right?

ROSS: That's right. That's right. Now, this might be a very good time to have John Negroponte demonstrate and show what it is we know that shows the gaps between what has been revealed and what it is we're aware they have.

HUME: So, Saddam has to be careful that what he reveals is not immediately contradicted by intelligence pictures that he may not know we have, right?

ROSS: His big problem right now is he does not know what we have, so he runs a big risk, and one of the things I think we have to do between now and then is get everybody ready for the test. This is the test because if it isn't a test then I don't know what the resolution means. If once again he doesn't have to reveal we're in the same box, because inspectors are going to have a very hard time finding what he does not want them to find.

HUME: The inspection regime from everything I can tell can only work with the active not only participation but outright cooperation of the host government, right?

ROSS: That is why the original resolutions called for both cooperation and disclosure.

HUME: Right.

ROSS: Absolutely that's the case. It's going to be very difficult. Maybe you can find something over time. The way it works is the inspectors look, go into a place. They get all the documentation and then they compare the amount of material that goes into a building with what was produced out of it but that may take a year or two years to find out.

HUME: Got you. That's not something the administration wants to get mixed up in. Thank you, Dennis.

ROSS: Sure.

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