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[casi] ' ..rain-soaked White House driveway' - no Rose Garden - Bremerthrown to the wolves?

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Bremer Asked To ŒSpeed Iraq Self-Ruleš, CIA Warns Of Resistance
"I have made proposals to transfer more authority to the Iraqi Governing
Council," Bremer
WASHINGTON, November 13 ( & News Agencies) ­ Facing a surge
of almost-daily attacks against his occupation forces in Iraq, U.S.
President George W. Bush stepped up pressures for speeding the transfer to
self-rule in the war-ravaged country as a CIA report warned that Iraqi
resistance could strengthen in coming months.
At the end of two days of urgent consultations with Bush and his top
national security advisers, U.S. civil administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer
said he would return to Baghdad for talks with members of the Iraqi
Governing Council.
"I'll be taking them a message from the president that he remains steadfast
in his determination to defeat terrorism in Iraq and steadfast in his
determination to give the Iraqis authority over their country," Bremer was
quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP) as saying.
"I have made proposals to transfer more authority to the Iraqi Governing
Council. And that is the backdrop for all of these discussions," he told
reporters in the rain-soaked White House driveway.
Bremer refused to describe further the options on the table, but took aim at
criticism of the council, which faces a U.N.-set December 15 deadline that
requires writing a constitution and holding elections.
"I don't think it's fair to say the IGC is failing. They face a very
difficult situation at this time. I have every confidence that we will be
able to work with the governing council and with the ministers," he said.
There is growing frustration among U.S. officials with the council and what
some officials say is increasing friction with Bremer himself, Reuters said.
With the recent surge in attacks on U.S. soldiers and local people
cooperating with them, Washington is also seeking means to reduce the U.S.
presence and defuse hostility by shifting control faster to Iraqis, it
Prodded on whether the Iraqi populace is getting impatient with U.S. troops,
Bremer replied: "I think the situation with the Iraqi public is, frankly,
not easy to quantify".
"Obviously, the terrorists are trying to encourage the Iraqi people to
believe that the United States is not going to stay the course," he said.
'Difficult Days'
Bremer's remarks came after at least 17 Italians were killed in a suicide
attack on an Italian base in southern Iraq, in the worst single attack on
the U.S.-led forces in the invasion-ravaged country.
"We honor the sacrifice of the brave Italian soldiers who gave their lives
to help the Iraqi people," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
McClellan and Bremer both sidestepped questions about a CIA report, cited in
a U.S. newspaper, that painted a bleak picture of growing Iraqi frustration
with the U.S. occupation.
"We have obviously a war on terrorism going on and a low-intensity conflict
in Iraq," said Bremer, admitting that " we will face some difficult days,
like today," McClellan said.
Some U.S. officials, who asked not to be named, downplayed the likelihood of
a specific decision being made in Washington this week.
A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
acknowledged that Washington is frustrated with the pace of efforts to build
democratic political institutions in Iraq.
The official said that the Bush administration wants to "refine" the process
and is mulling options that include using core leadership from the Iraqi
Governing Council.
He said that U.S. leaders were also discussing what kind of legislative body
might be set up and whether elections should be held before the
constitutional process is agreed upon.
The official said it was not an option to simply hand over sovereignty to
the governing council.
CIA Warns Of Resistance
Meanwhile, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has warned that resistance
to U.S. and allied forces in Iraq could strengthen in coming months, as more
and more Iraqis grow disillusioned with the U.S. occupation and decide to
take action against it, U.S. officials said late Wednesday.
The warning is contained in a highly classified report compiled by the CIA
station in violence-torn Iraq that was rushed to Washington ahead of
civilian administrator Paul Bremer's consultations here this week on
possible strategy adjustments, said the officials, who spoke on condition of
Bremer discussed the subject with Bush Wednesday and held talks with
Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice the day before.
"I would not tell you that it does not exist. We are just declining to
comment on what the contents are," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow told AFP when
asked about the document.
But other U.S. officials said the report warned that the situation in Iraq
was likely to deteriorate because a growing number of Iraqis, outraged by
aggressive counterinsurgency tactics, were opting to support armed
It cautioned that U.S. efforts to turn Iraq into the first democracy in the
Middle East could unravel unless a turnaround was achieved pretty soon, the
officials added.
The report insisted that the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council was
probably ill-fitted to govern because it had little popular support, the
officials said.
It also expressed doubt the U.S. military would ever be able to seal Iraq's
borders with neighboring countries and thus stem the influx of "foreign
Islamic radicals" determined to support Iraqi resistance fighters, according
to the officials.
As described, the CIA assessment contrasted with upbeat recent comments
about U.S. prospects in Iraq by members of the Bush administration and
opinion polls publicized by the "Coalition" Provisional Authority in Iraq
headed by Bremer.
One such survey, conducted by the Gallup organization last month, had 64
percent of Iraqis saying armed attacks on U.S. troops could not be
justified, while only 19 percent insisted they could be justified "somewhat"
or "completely."
In addition, 72 percent of Iraqis wanted U.S. troops to stay in Iraq more
than just a few months, according to that poll.
Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted, for his part, that pessimistic
accounts did not always adequately reflect the situation in the country.
"And there are reports also that the Iraqi people have faith in what's going
on, they see the improvement in their lives, and they want us to stay until
such time as they are able to reassume full sovereignty over their country,"
he said outside the State Department building.
But the leaked CIA document, which was first disclosed by the Philadelphia
Inquirer, gave rise to new demands in Congress for a fuller account about
Iraq, where escalating violence has claimed the lives of more than 50
occupation troops since the beginning of the month.
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle said he will ask the CIA to
brief members of Congress "as soon as possible," adding that circumstances
in Iraq "appear to be even more troublesome today than they were a few weeks

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