WASHINGTON – The U.S. administrator in Iraq suggested Sunday the Bush administration might be open to compromise on how the transfer of power to Iraqis takes place.
L. Paul Bremer (search) also said the United States remains committed to June 30 as the target date for the handover.
The administration has insisted that sovereignty will be surrendered through a process of caucuses to choose representatives to appoint an Iraqi government to be in place by July 1.
Bremer raised the idea of alternatives during appearances on two talk shows.
"It may be different from the caucus plan. It may be a modified caucus plan. It may be some form of partial elections," Bremer said. "There are literally dozens of ideas around."
The United States wants to see the recommendation of the United Nations, which is coming through Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) and Annan's envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, Bremer said.
"We're going to wait and see what (Brahimi) says when he issues his report, hopefully in the next week or 10 days," Bremer told ABC's "This Week."
The caucus plan has come into question because of the opposition of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the main leader of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority. He has demanded the government be chosen through full-fledged elections.
During a fact-finding mission last week, Brahimi accepted from a leading Shiite (search) a report by Iraqi experts on how elections could be organized. Before leaving Baghdad, Brahimi said major changes are needed in the U.S. plan, but the lack of security in Iraq would make organizing elections problematic.
Although the United States is open for alternatives on the method of transfer, it remains firm on June 30 as the turnover date, Bremer said.
"That's the agreement we have with the Iraqis, and we intend to carry it out," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Bremer had been asked about Secretary of State Colin Powell's (search) comment at a congressional hearing last week that the transfer would be at the end of June "if all goes well."
"There isn't a magic wand we're going to wave over this country on June 30 and have it suddenly change," Bremer said.
"There will still be a security problem. There will still be huge needs for reconstructing an economy that was brutalized over 30 years and a political system that was fragmented and repressed" by ousted President Saddam Hussein (search), Bremer said.
"The U.S. is here for a long commitment," he said. Noting that President Bush has said "we will stay until the job is done," Bremer said: "The job is to get a democratic, stable, unified Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors. And that will take time. It isn't going to end on June 30."
In the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion, violence has continued, both from remnants of Saddam's government and, increasingly, from foreign fighters believed affiliated with the al-Qaida network.
Bremer said on ABC that fighters from outside Iraq took part in Friday's deadly daylight attack on a police station in Fallujah.
He said that while it was too early to know who planned and carried out the assault, "we've had a pattern of suicide bombing over the last three or four months that exactly fit the strategy that's been outlined by an al-Qaida terrorist here named Zarqawi."
Bremer said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of carrying out some of the most deadly bombings in Iraq, is "basically trying to set up a sectarian war here, a civil war, and those suicide bombings were certainly consistent with his strategy."