Iraqi Governing Council Status

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, November 12, that has been edited for clarity.

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PAUL BREMER: I don't think it's fair to say the IGC is failing. They face a very difficult situation at this time. But the Iraqis are, I think, more and more effective in their assumption of authority.


BRIT HUME, HOST: The Iraqi Governing Council may not be failing, but it has got some work to do and fast to meet the deadline in that U.N. resolution deadline for setting a timetable for a new constitution and elections. That is part of the reason why Paul Bremer was hastily called back to Washington. He is now heading back to Iraq, from which veteran diplomat and Fox News contributor Marc Ginsberg has just returned.

Welcome back, Marc. Nice to have you.


HUME: So what do you make, having been over there, of the Iraqi Governing Council and the job it's doing or not doing?

GINSBERG: The problem is that 25 or 24 persons who are represented on this council can't agree among themselves on how to proceed with a constitutional drafting process, in which Ambassador Bremer wants to set up local elections to be able to elect up the line a constitutional convention, that will actually ratify and legitimate a new Iraqi government. The problem that Ambassador Bremer has faced is the Governing Council hasn't been able to accept the delegation of authority on a variety of issues that he's wanted to give to them...

HUME: In other words, there are things he wants them to do and they just won't take the task?

GINSBERG: Well, There are a variety of reasons for that. And some of them argue that he's not giving them enough authority. On the other hand, I think the real problem here is that there's a point of descending consent among the population over the American role in the country. And several generals with whom I met with warned us that that point of descending consent...

HUME: In other words, where the population would gradually begin running -- gradually, steadily running out of patience with the occupation?

GINSBERG: Exactly. And what's happening is that the Governing Council, to legitimate themselves with their own constituency groups, are becoming increasingly anti-American and unwieldy; and probably, far more critical of Ambassador Bremer's efforts than they should given the circumstances.

HUME: So, what can he possibly then hope to do, out of these meetings in Washington, to get the process moving? If they can't agree and won't agree, that's not going to get better from what you're saying in any near timeframe.

GINSBERG: Well, part of the problem here is we have got to understand that the military situation seems to have caused a great deal of concern in Washington to accelerate the political process. In the absence of the ramp up of the attacks that have occurred against American, we probably would have seen Ambassador Bremer continue this process and try to cajole this Governing Council into action.

The problem here, Brit, is that there hasn't emerged from this Governing Council enough individuals who are reflective of the will of the Iraqi people to legitimate themselves.

HUME: No leaders.

GINSBERG: There's no leaders. And you have separate constituency elements in Iraq who have to be represented and reflected.

HUME: And you've got the Kurds, you've got the Shiites, you got others...

GINSBERG: And more importantly, you've got the religious leaders on the one hand, the Shiite religious leaders, most importantly in the South, led by Ayatollah al Sistani. And the tribal leadership that really were the spinal backbone of the Saddam regime but who are not really Ba'athists, but were paid off by Saddam. Who are not really, truly represented in the council.

HUME: So we've got a political tangle over there that's got to be sorted out.

GINSBERG: Well, more important -- you know -- also at the same time, I think we've got to give Ambassador Bremer a lot of credit for the success that he's had to get the country more or less stable despite the attacks. But at the same time...

HUME: When you say stable, you mean commerce, people living there, getting on with their lives and so on?

GINSBERG: Let me tell you something. The amount of Iraqi on Iraqi crime has reduced substantially. His team led by Tom Foley and others who are involved in the economic process have really done a great job. The problem is, is that our commanders have run out of cash.

HUME: Cash?

GINSBERG: Cash. They were relying on seized assets, Brit, to be able to do the walk around intelligence gathering and counter...

HUME: You mean paying people off?

GINSBERG: Paying people off. And they don't have the cash now.

HUME: Is that because the $87 billion hasn't reached them or what?

GINSBERG: That's right. That's right. They were relying on the seized assets and now they're dependent on the supplemental money. So they need -- they're waiting for these checks. And remember, Brit, when the Uday and Qusay, the sons of Saddam, pulled up and did that bank heist of $2 billion on the eve of the war, we only recovered $950 million.

There is $1.2 billion that may be being used to fund criminal elements around the country, who are doing these attacks, in addition to the others who are infiltrating across the border and creating the havoc.

HUME: So what is, in your view then, when the $87 billion begins to get into the bloodstream over there, will that make any kind of a decisive difference or will it just help?

GINSBERG: I think it will help. But you know what, Brit? I sense that no matter what we do -- you know, if we put the chief rabbi, and the pope, and the head mufti of Jerusalem in charge of Iraq, those attacks would still continue.

It doesn't -- there are enough elements around the country that will do what they can to destabilize the situation. And as Ambassador Bremer said to me, he is convinced that the more progress that he has made on the ground has lead to more desperate attacks by people in the countryside.

And there may be some reasons for that, but I think there's a more important reason. We still have so many people on the prowl who are going to the highest bidder. And as long as cash advantage is on the side of the criminals and terrorists, we're at a disadvantage. And that's why I think Ambassador Bremer is right and I think our commanders are correct, that getting more and new Iraqi Army recruits out there. As well as Iraqi Civil Defense forces out there in front and patrolling, is going to help reduce the number of casualties, but they need the money do this.

HUME: And the money will be in their hands soon?

GINSBERG: Well, I hope so. I hope the president signed the bill and the Treasury will get the checks out. And so we maybe able to help re- stabilize that cash disadvantage that's facing us right now.

HUME: Marc Ginsburg, glad to have you back. Nice to see you.

GINSBERG: Thanks, Brit.

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