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Bremer Explains Sovereignty Plan to Iraqis

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2003 – In a nationwide broadcast, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III explained to the Iraqi people the steps to re-establishing sovereignty.

Bremer, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, explained the agreement between the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council in his Nov. 21 address.

He said this is a step all Iraqis want, and told them that their "future of hope draws nearer."

Bremer said that an interim government will take control of the country on June 30. A basic law that will be in place by the end of February will dictate the interim government's structure. That law will define the individual rights for all Iraqi citizens and will define the processes to form a permanent government, said he noted.

Under the plan, the transitional government will remain in office for about 18 months. "At the end of 2005, that government will be replaced by a government you will have elected under a constitution written by a directly elected assembly," Bremer said. "It will be a constitution written by Iraqis for Iraqis."

With the return of Iraqi sovereignty in June, the Coalition Provisional Authority disappears. "The nations of the coalition will be represented here through the normal mechanisms of diplomacy - through embassies," he said.

The ambassador said that while almost all Iraqis are pleased with this movement toward democracy and independence, "a violent few resist progress and freedom for you."

Bremer blasted "Saddam the fugitive" for a tape recording he made calling himself and his followers "sincere sons of Iraq." Bremer said the former Iraqi dictator nourishes fantasies.

"He has a fantasy that he will avoid the coalition and Iraqi forces that pursue him," Bremer said. "He has a fantasy that he and his thieves and murderers will return to power. He has a fantasy that you will follow him in jihad against the coalition. He has a fantasy that he and his thieves are 'the sincere sons of Iraq,' and that they 'should return by the free will of the people to manage the affairs of the country anew.'"

Bremer said Saddam and his followers have no positive vision for Iraq, but they do have a history. "Do they think the Iraqi people have forgotten?" Bremer asked. "During the quarter century Saddam the fugitive and his murderous thieves ruled Iraq, you saw what they did. You watched your loved ones die, watched your purses shrink and watched your country become ever more isolated in the world."

Bremer also told the Iraqi people of a $15 million reward for Izzat Ibrahim al- Douri. A leader in Saddam's regime, al-Douri has been instrumental in attacks on the coalition and on Iraqis who cooperate with coalition authorities. "The person who located Uday and Qusay for the coalition is now living in another country with millions of dollars," Bremer said. "The person who provides us the information on al-Douri will have the same opportunity."

Saddam Hussein led Iraq from peace and prosperity to war and misery, Bremer said. "But today's poverty is not tomorrow's poverty," he emphasized. "Yours is a rich country that is temporarily poor, and that is changing every day for the better. And that change will come faster and faster until you are once again at peace at home, at peace with your neighbors and quietly enjoying the rewards of your labors."

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