Is the Iraqi Government Ready to Arm the Enemy?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," July 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JULIE BANDERAS, GUEST HOST: See if this next story makes sense to you. Rebels in Iraq, who are responsible for countless terror attacks like the one we just saw right there, are now asking the government for some help. They're asking the government for weapons so that they can now use them against foreign fighters. Now the Iraqi government, believe it or not, is actually considering this request.

Let's ask Dan Senor about it. He's the former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesperson and a FOX News Channel contributor.

All right, so talk about fueling the fire. I mean, arming these terrorists with more weapons? I understand the foreign fighters are some of the most dangerous over there, but is this the solution to counteract them?

DAN SENOR, FMR. CPA SPOKESMAN: No, this isn't the solution. If there are people who have ties to the insurgency that want to help us secure Iraq, then they should give us intelligence. Any kind of intel tips they want to give us would be helpful.

And if they want to help secure the country, they should try to apply for a job with the Iraqi security forces, which means getting through the vetting process, which means no senior-level ties to Saddam's regime, which means no ties to the insurgency.

But the notion that we're going to arm these people and hope that they can fill the security vacuum is going to give the American forces in Iraq the same problems we had with all these sectarian militias. We allowed them to grow and blossom and strengthen in order to fill a security vacuum in some parts of the country, and now they're part of our biggest problem in Iraq today.

BANDERAS: You know, it's interesting, Usama bin Laden's last two messages last week, he calls on those foreign fighters, who make up probably the most dangerous, deadly attacks with their IEDs, their car bombs. What do we do? How does our military step in and fight these guys who are getting orders from the No. 1 top terrorist who we can't find at this point?

SENOR: Well, it's interesting you say that. Part of our challenge is fighting the insurgency and fighting these foreign fighters in Iraq and keeping them on the run. Getting Zarqawi, killing Zarqawi was important, but there'll be successors to Zarqawi.

What we've learned over time is you never, in one decisive blow, just end a foreign insurgency like that. You have to constantly keep it under pressure and constantly keep it on edge. And just like we took down Zarqawi, we've got to keep pressuring the future leaders.

But we also have to put pressure on these governments in these foreign countries that are in some way, either indirectly or directly, sponsoring the terrorism that's in Iraq today, whether it's the Syrian government or the Iranian government or some other governments in the region. We've got to keep pressure on them, too, and send a signal that this is unacceptable.

BANDERAS: Are you surprised the Iraqi government is actually considering this?

SENOR: Yes, I am very surprised. I'm actually shocked.

BANDERAS: It's kind of going backwards. What have we done this whole time?

SENOR: Absolutely, the idea that we're going to re-empower these people is a little scary. I don't believe — I think cooler heads will prevail. I think the more senior, more responsible players within the Iraqi government won't do this. I don't think they'll take it seriously. It's probably some subordinate players that are advocating this.

BANDERAS: Worst case scenario, let's say the Iraqi government doesn't take that advice and they do give these insurgent leaders the weapons that they're asking for. What are we facing here?

SENOR: Oh, we are facing an even stronger insurgency with more weapons and more might and some actual legitimacy inside Iraq because they're getting support from their elected government.

BANDERAS: Scary prospect. All right, Dan Senor, thank you so much.

SENOR: Good to be with you, Julie.

BANDERAS: It's great to see you here.

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