CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses Developments in Iraq, Tension With Syria
Aired April 17, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BOB SCHIEFFER, GUEST HOST: Tonight the United States nabs another of Saddam Hussein's half-brothers, but still none of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and still no word on whether Saddam is dead or alive. Also tonight: Who will replace Saddam, and how long it will take?
With us tonight from Baghdad, CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Also in Baghdad, from CBS's "60 Minutes II," Scott Pelley. In Washington, Robin Wright of "The Los Angeles Times," 24 years covering Iraq, and Katty Kay of the BBC. Back in back in the Middle East, Jasim al Azzawi of Abu Dhabi TV. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
And if you're wondering who I am, I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Larry King is off tonight. He's hosting the Larry King Cardiac Foundation dinner. It's a wonderful cause. He raises a lot of money for it, and that's why I'm here, pitching in to give him a hand tonight.
Well, let's start with Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, set the scene for us in Baghdad. How does it a look out there tonight?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a week and a day after the town -- the city was liberated, and there's, frankly, mixed feelings and mixed progress on the streets. On the one hand, they've been arresting a couple of people, today another of Saddam Hussein's half-brothers. On the other hand, there is still a law and order problem, a security vacuum. There's still a great deal of anxiety amongst the population about why they don't have electricity, why they don't fully have water, why they don't have all their medical services. People are quite concerned about the fact that their national heritage is being looted. There's a little bit of sort of resentment that the oil ministry was protected but not the museums, not the libraries, not the music schools, just concern amongst the people about what their government will be, who's going to be in charge.
I've heard quite a few people saying, We're very, very relieved that Saddam Hussein has gone. And one can't, you know, underestimate how pleased they are about that, but at the same time, this is a society that has actually lived with certain order, even though it was tyrannical, and the crumbling of that order has been quite shocking for them, especially when they really don't know at the moment, A, who will rebuild the place, and B, who will govern the place.
And even just not having telephones is adding to a sense of insecurity and sort of disorientation. People can't even call from one end of the city to the other. They come up to journalists, they ask us to make calls for them. And it's -- you know, it's a little bit difficult for people, at the moment, as they figure out what will be their post-Saddam future.
KING: Well, Scott Pelley -- and I must say, Scott, it's -- fancy meeting you here tonight, here on CNN. My buddy from CBS News. You came in with the American military, Scott. What's going to be the hardest part for the military from here on in, do you think?
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS "60 MINUTES II": Well, Bob, I was in a town called An Umania (ph) yesterday, and one of the most difficult parts at the moment is that the U.S. military is trying to put this country back together with very limited resources. The description that Christiane gave us of Baghdad is repeated all over this country, in towns large and small.
I was with a Marine unit in An Umania, and the lieutenant colonel, Brent Donahoe (ph), who runs that Marine unit, has essentially become the mayor of that town. It's a town of about 50,000 people on the Tigris River. And the Lieutenant Colonel Donahoe was trying to figure out how to get the fire department up and running again, how to get the police department running, how to get electricity, how to get water, how to get medication into the hospital so the pediatric ward can run again. The colonel's only mission was to take and hold the bridge at An Umania, but now he's inherited this whole town.
One of the things that's going to happen soon, Bob -- it hasn't happened yet -- is that there's an immense amount of humanitarian aid that is sitting just across the border in Kuwait. Not very much of that has rolled forward yet. So the Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force, even the Navy are trying to cobble together solutions to these terrible problems, waiting for that tremendous amount of humanitarian aid to come rolling forward.
KING: All right, Scott. We'll obviously come back to both of you.
I want to go to Jasim. Now, you're in Abu Dhabi. I would just be interested to know how all of this is playing in your country because so much of the time, we've been hearing the administration in this country say the reaction in the rest of the -- that part of the world will be a big part of this. How's it going there in your country?
JASIM AL AZZAWI, ABU DHABI TV NEWS ANCHOR: Well, I mean, stating the obvious, everybody's happy on an individual level, on masses level, as well as on government level. For almost 20 years, the majority of the people thought Saddam Hussein was a troublemaker. The invasion of Iran was the beginning of all of the trouble that befall in this area. So they were quite happy to see his back. They were quite happy to collaborate with the United States.
That's why, although many people, they were sniping at Kuwait for opening its border to allow the Americans to come in in order to have the launching pad against Iraq, but deep in their hearts, they felt it was the right thing.
There is a quite resentment about the level of destruction and death that followed, and people are -- somehow, they just can't understand why it shouldn't have been a much cleaner war than what it is now. I'm sure the United States tried its best, but the massive destruction of Iraq and its infrastructure is causing a lot of pain here. Scenes of the Iraqi museum, which is a treasure trove of the like of which doesn't exist anywhere in the world, has caused tremendous pain in this region.
SCHIEFFER: The fact that Saddam Hussein has not been found yet -- what is the reaction there to that?
AL AZZAWI: People are amazed. Actually, everybody is amazed -- I mean, the fact that he has not been caught. Al Jazeera, I don't know whether you saw the report today or not -- they showed the very same house that he was in just a few days ago, with his military insignia, with, you know, actually, the conference room where he used to hold his last-minute meetings with Tariq Aziz and all the military generals. It was shown on Al Jazeera. And the reports, increasing reports, a number of them are -- absolutely and categorically states that he's still alive, that he's still in communication, and some of the fightings that why you see in part of Baghdad is directed by him. To what extent that is credible evidence, nobody knows, but it looks like he is still alive.
SCHIEFFER: Let's come back to Robin Wright and Katty Kay here in Washington. Well, you just heard, both of you, what both Christiane and Scott Pelley said. I suppose it's a cliche now to say that the hard part -- we're now into the hard part, aren't we, when, clearly, that's what both of them are talking about. This is a very difficult thing. I mean, this is not the kind of thing that Marines normally train to do, and that is, to act as policemen and firemen. And yet you heard Scott say that's the job they have now. How hard is this going to be?
ROBIN WRIGHT, "LA TIMES" CHIEF DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be terribly difficult, but's what so striking is that after the tremendous efficiency of the American military in winning this war, that we haven't been very good in the immediate aftermath, in terms of laying the groundwork for not just law and order but taking care of the very people we were -- we bore some of the responsibility for injuring -- the fact that the hospitals are a mess.
It's not just the looting of the museum or the burning of the ministries. This is a society in chaos, and you can see in this vacuum that there are some of the components for -- that are going to lay the groundwork for the volatile period ahead. The political -- in this vacuum politically, people are grabbing for power.
And you can see in various important cities that because there is no infrastructure yet, because there is no political alternative that has emerged and the Americans are not pushing faster and harder for it, that there are locals who are emerging and becoming the de facto power. And that's going to make things a little bit difficult because, at some point, we may have to wrest power away from them in order to put in some kind of alternative.
This is a tremendously important period. And yes, it does go without saying, as various administration officials have said, that it's going to take time, and things aren't instantaneous. But the fact is, we look not as efficient as we should have been in the aftermath of the fighting.
SCHIEFFER: Katty, are you a little bit surprised that it does not appear that we were as careful in our planning for what happened after the fighting as we seem to have been in the military planning?
KATTY KAY, BBC: I mean, it does seem that there was an awful lot of planning for the whole military process, and it went terribly well. It went as smoothly as could have been expected. But I think that both -- and as Robin was saying, for the short term and for the long term, there are concerns that there hasn't been a sufficient amount of planning.
For example, the looting. It's not surprising, in circumstances like this, to have looting, so why wasn't that planned for? Why wasn't it envisaged that there would be looting? And in the longer term, there are concerns, particularly in Europe, I think, about partly what about America's motives are in Iraq and in the region, but also about have they really thought, We are going to have to stay here for a long time? And democracies, if that's what you want to build, especially in a country like Iraq, where there are three distinct different groups, take not weeks, months or years, but can take decades. An independent judiciary, an independent civil service -- these are things that take a very long time to build up, and there are questions about whether America's is committed to that long-term process. And it's a hard role for America to play because, on the one hand, you want to stay long enough to make this a viable country and ensure security. On the other hand, you don't want to stay so long that you're seen as invaders not as liberators, which is what they went in there trying to be.
SCHIEFFER: OK, let's -- let's take a break here. When we come back, I want to ask you, Katty, how Tony Blair is faring in all of this. We'll be back with that in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: And we're back. Bob Schieffer sitting in for Larry King while Larry does some good charity work tonight.
And I want to go back to you, Katty Kay, because people in America, I think, were quite impressed with the way Tony Blair stood with the U.S. and with George Bush on this entire thing, and there was considerable opposition, obviously, in Britain, in many quarters. How's he doing? And how has he fared since the fighting has more or less stopped?
KAY: When the military campaign was going so smoothly and the war ended so quickly, I think there was a surge in popularity for Tony Blair and for the war itself. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the numbers couldn't have got much lower for him, so he had go up. He couldn't really go down. But I don't have a sense that many minds have been changed about this war, either in Britain or in Europe. People that opposed the reasons for going to war still oppose the reasons. Nobody really expected that America wouldn't win, so the fact of victory and then the fact of the crowds cheering in the streets didn't really change people's minds because they'd always expected to see some of that.
But they still have big question marks about where are the weapons of mass destruction? Where is the link to al Qaeda? This was meant to be a real and present danger, and yet there is a sense, I think, in Britain, that this administration slightly changed the goal posts. Now what we're talking about is a brutal humanitarian regime, which is a very different proposition from the proposition that people were sold the idea of the war on.
I think also in Britain, there is some -- and in France, too, because of the long history that we have had in that region, there is -- there has been a sense that perhaps the U.S. was a little naive in thinking that it could see itself as something very different. It could see itself as liberators, whereas from the Arab perspective, from the long sense of history, the U.S. might have seen itself as a liberator, but actually, it's seen like another invader. And after we had spent 40 years in Iraq having said we were going in as liberators and we weren't going to stay there for very long, perhaps it didn't come as so much of a surprise that it was going to be so difficult.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let's talk a little bit about that, Christiane. You are in Baghdad tonight. This whole business that Saddam Hussein can't be found and as yet we have not found weapons of mass destruction -- what is the impact of that going to be, do you believe?
AMANPOUR: Well, I think on the people, the Saddam Hussein impact is at the moment quite sort of heavy. One person told me -- actually, many more than one -- that the ghost of Saddam Hussein still hangs over them because they can't find him. They don't know what's happened to him. You know, this is a region of massive conspiracy theories, not just Iraq but around this region, and there are wild theories about where he is, why he hasn't been found. Has the U.S. actually protected him? I mean, things so far out that it's really hard. And you can imagine that after so many years under this terrifying yoke of repression, that they don't feel comfortable, or they tell us they won't until they see a body. And they just don't understand why he hasn't been found.
And then the other question, which is not so much for the people here, but those who are observing, is where are the weapons of mass destruction. Now, of course, the U.S. says that they are sending many more teams, many more experts. They'll be scouring the country. I think they've even said that it could take a year or so. But at the moment, there are teams in country, specialist teams of the U.S. Army, others more scientific analysis teams. And so far, they have not found a smoking gun, and they've looked at quite a few sites. But obviously, there are presumably many more. And of course, the question will be, what will they find, and when will they find it?
SCHIEFFER: Well, Scott Pelley, do you -- what is the military doing there now? Are they looking for the smoking gun, or are they waiting for other people to do that?
PELLEY: Bob, they've really been in here with the invasion force from the very beginning. I was with one of these -- with what the Pentagon calls exploitation teams. They go to sensitive sites, sites where there are thoughts that there might have been war crimes or weapons of mass destruction. And they have been coming in right behind the troops, examining these sites, looking for things. And frankly, the soldiers that I've talked to, even the field officers I've talked to, who work on the exploitation teams, are very frustrated and a little bit surprised that they haven't found anything yet.
They were expecting to speak with Iraqi colonels and Iraqi generals who were captured and get some real on-the-ground intelligence about where these weapons of mass destruction might be found. And they planned to swoop in, show them to the world, and they have not been able to do that.
One thing that happened while I was with them was in Basra, I was with an exploitation team when the British discovered a warehouse with about 450 human bodies inside. At first they thought that this was evidence of a war crime, and the exploitation team swept in there, started doing research, only to discover that these were actually bodies from the Iran-Iraq war that were being well taken care of in the warehouse and were going to be repatriated to Iran or repatriated to their families here in Iraq.
So they're being very, very careful. They're not trumping anything up. They are looking for hard facts on the ground. But so far, they haven't found much.
SCHIEFFER: OK, Scott. We are going to take another break here, and we're going to come back and talk about what happens next in this search for the weapons. Should the U.N. be brought in? And what about the leadership? What about the Iraqis that the United States has brought there and seized the leadership role for them? Is that going to work? We'll talk about that when we come back.
SCHIEFFER: So Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi who's been in exile for lo, these many years, is back in the country now. The U.S. military helped him get back to Iraq. Robin, let me ask you this question because it's very intriguing to me. At the Pentagon, they like him. At the State Department, they don't like him. Tell us who he is. And why is that?
WRIGHT: Ahmed Chalabi is a legendary figure in the Middle East, a former banker trained at the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He fled in 1958, and he has been -- he has emerged over the past dozen years as the leader of the Iraqi National Congress. There are people at the State Department and the intelligence community who believe that Iraqis inside the country don't identify with him, that he doesn't have a power base. People at Pentagon look at him as someone who could play the role of a pro- American ally in the formation of a new government, and there are many who would like to see him emerge as if not the leader to succeed Saddam Hussein, clearly, in a high-level position.
SCHIEFFER: But it's very interesting. He is almost like some politicians. I mean, somebody like Ted Kennedy comes to mind. People either love him or they don't like him at all. He doesn't seem to fall in the middle, and that seems to be the case with him. Katty, what do you know about this man?
KAY: Well, I mean, I think there are also specific concerns at the State Department about his business background, aren't there. And so people that have dealt with him in the State Department for a long time have those concerns. But I think in the broader perspective, the idea that the U.S. can impose anybody in Iraq is slightly -- fanciful is not really the word, but is setting yourself up for trouble, if only for the reason that he may be seen as a U.S. person. And there is a big risk to Ahmed Chalabi to be seen as the U.S. puppet. And the idea that he has been out of the country for 40 years, can come back and suddenly take root in Iraq with the Pentagon's blessing, I just don't think is going to work.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let's ask Jasim about that. I mean, he's in the region there. He's in Abu Dhabi. Can someone who is seen as America's guy -- can he succeed? And can he bring the kind of democracy see to that country that I think all of us agree what the United States is aiming for?
AL AZZAWI: Well, if it was anybody else, perhaps that would happen. But as far as Ahmed Chalabi, because he's a convicted felon in Jordan and he's been accused of stealing about $200 million in Jordan and he refused to go and face the charges against him, that is one element.
The other element is that for years and years, he'd been telling the State Department and the Pentagon that he has wide contacts in the highest echelons of Iraqi military and intelligence circles and that was proven wrong. He convinced the Pentagon that the Iraqi army will not fight, and look what happened? As soon as they got into Basra and Umm Qasr and Nasiriyah, there was tremendous, fierce fighting.
Colin Powell himself, he thinks Ahmed Chalabi is a very shady character, and that's the reason why he does not trust him. As far as the Iraqis are concerned, they never heard about him before. They don't know anything about him. And anybody is seen protected and pushed and supported by the Americans at this early stage in the game, they are going to be very, very leery about him.
SCHIEFFER: Christiane, I'd like to get your thoughts on that.
AMANPOUR: Well, interestingly, I just spoke to a former American diplomat, who is also a Chalabi supporter, who says that, really, Chalabi had done a masterful job. He had befriended a lot of people, powerful people in the Pentagon. He essentially told them that this thing could be done, that Saddam Hussein could be swept from power, and he's really gotten their support.
Now, on the other hand, it's a really confusing situation because although he was flown into the country with about 600, we're told, of his supporters/fighters by the U.S. Army -- he was flown into the country -- the Pentagon and the U.S. says, Well, he's not really our candidate. And he's really been kind of a stealth person here. He is -- he has been in Nasiriyah. He's now in Baghdad. He hasn't shown himself, which is unusual, because he quite likes the media attention. But he's kept quite quiet, knowing the sensitivities.
And at the same time, one of his guys, Hussein Zubaydah (ph), has pretty much stepped into a self-declared and self-appointed role as mayor of Baghdad and is basically telling everybody that he's been elected. And we're not sure by who because there hasn't been any such thing -- any such process here.
But the fact is that as we've been talking about this political vacuum, this is kind of some of the things that are going on. And just another thing about other towns, for instance, Scott was mentioning that in some towns that he went through, the Americans were in charge, but in others, some of the clerics have basically marched up to city hall and taken over and said, Hey, we're in charge. So the actual governing of this situation here right now is a little bit of a free-for-all.
SCHIEFFER: Scott, how long do the military guys you talk to think they're going to be there? And obviously, they're not the official spokesmen. But do they seem to be settling in for a long haul there? Have they decided they're probably going to be there a while because this is going to take a while?
PELLEY: Think that's beginning to dawn on a lot of them, Bob. Many of the war fighters, the people who have done the hard fighting in this campaign, will probably be going home in the not too distant future. There are fresh troops flowing into Iraq from Kuwait. The 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, for example, is pouring in en masse, something over 80,000 men. So there will be a turning over of the force.
However, U.S. troops here in Iraq, I have to suspect it will -- they will be here for a very long time. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see them here a year from now. There is just an immense amount of work to be done. I just cannot emphasize that enough -- an immense amount of work to be done all over this country.
I was in -- I was in one town where the schools had been destroyed because of fighting and because of neglect. There were no books anywhere in the schools. There was no curriculum for the children. The children were running wild in the streets. And you can see that again in town after town, all over the place.
I mentioned to you a moment ago Lieutenant Colonel Donahoe of the United States Marine Corps, who is the de facto mayor of a town of about 50,000 people not very far from Baghdad. At one point, Colonel Donahoe was having a town meeting with many of the town elders, and as the meeting went on, outside on the street, people who had been injured, wounded or were sick started collecting in the street in front of the town hall, thinking that if they would just come to where the Americans are, they would get treatment. Donahoe walked out and saw all of these people in front of him in stretchers and in wheelchairs and on crutches, and he whispered to one of his aides, What do they expect me to do now, heal the sick?
So this is a problem that's going to be going on for a very long time, Bob, many, many, many months from now.
SCHIEFFER: OK. We'll come back, and we do want to talk about what happens in regard to Syria. What is that all that talk about that we're hearing these days? But first let's go to Atlanta. Arthel Neville will have a news update for us.
SCHIEFFER: And Bob Schieffer back for Larry King, who is off tonight doing a bit of charity work.
With us tonight, as we talk about the whole situation in Iraq, Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent.
In Baghdad, Scott Pelly of "60 Minutes II" is also in Baghdad tonight.
Robin Wright, the chief diplomatic correspondent for the "L.A. Times" is with us here in Washington, as is Katty Kay of the BBC and Jasim Al-Azzawi of Abu Dhabi TV is in Abu Dhabi.
Gentlemen and ladies, let's -- let's talk about this whole situation with Syria. All of a sudden, every administration official seems to bring up the name of Syria and something Syria has done lately. Syria has been on the terrorist list for a long time now, but yet we're seeing new emphasis being placed on that.
Jasim, what -- what do you make of this talk and this sudden emergence of -- of Syria, this prominence that's being given to Syria now and comments by U.S. officials.
AL AZZAWI: Well it started with the fact that there's an allegation that some Iraqi officials, they made it across the porous border. So far there are no evidence any of them had been seen in Syria.
Second, they started to talk about weapons of mass destruction. This is an old allegation. If you remember that the CIA's annual report mentioned six country, constantly every year: Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya as well as Israel. So the allegation of chemical weapons in Syria is also is not new.
The Syrians are refusing to open up their facilities for inspection. The foreign minister, Faroukh Al-Sharaa, was in Egypt today basically going to President Mubarak and say, Listen, if they're going to start with us today, tomorrow it's going to be you so we might as well have a common -- a common stance.
But I think the bottom of it all is they are trying to decouple Syria from Hezbollah. This is a very much the concern of Israel. Israel is suffering a lot from perhaps weapons or even missiles pointed at it by the Hezbollah and they think this is the right time, to decouple these two entities.
SCHIEFFER: Well, do you -- do you, Jasim, have a sense that the United States might strike Syria militarily? Is there some fear of that through the Arab world?
Al AZZAWI: No. Nobody thinks this war will be widened, neither on the American side nor the Arab side. This is -- this a pressure being ratcheted against Syria and one has to state it clearly.
The Syrians are playing it right. You know, they are going through the diplomatic motions. They are trying to explain their positions. They're appearing on television, on CNN as well as other stations and they have submitted a bill, a resolution at the United Nations at the United Nations, at the Security Council -- say, Listen, if this is what you are thinking about, vis-a-vis, chemical weapons, let's make it cover the entire region. Let's make the entire Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and...
SCHIEFFER: OK. We seem to have lost Jasim just for a second.
But let's go back to Christiane. What's your sense of -- of all this now? Do you think that it is possible that some of these weapons, Christiane, have been moved into Syria and, in fact, are -- some Iraqi officials there now? What's -- what's your sense of it?
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really hard to know, particularly from this perspective and certainly the Syrians have strongly denied that, and so far, as Jasim said, there's no evidence that these people or other materials has seeped out from this side to that side.
But, I think, in general there's a sort of sense of unease, I think, in the Middle East based on some of the people I've been talking to in different countries. You know -- what is next? Is it going to be this sort of rollover, one country after the other?
I don't think most people think that's a serious proposition, but there -- there is a sense of unease about what comes after Iraq and particularly since it was early in this war in Iraq that Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, brought up Syria and Iran. If you remember, at a briefing, calling Syria a hostile for sending various bits of equipment that the Pentagon alleged they had done into Iraq.
And so there's a feeling of, Where do we go from here? And I think that's what everybody's trying to figure out right now.
SCHIEFFER: What's the feeling in Britain, Katty? Where is Tony Blair on this? He's -- he was very strong with President Bush on going into Iraq? Would he side with the president if a decision was made to go into Syria?
KAY: No. I think the last thing Downing Street wants is -- is any kind of military action against Syria at all.
There are two things about Syria, I think, that alarm people in Britain and -- and the rest of the world, frankly. It's the idea of regime change and it's the idea of preemptive action, which -- both of which were used as policies in Iraq.
And I think there is a fear now in the rest of the world that maybe America is now going to start bigfooting it around the world and it's going to start changing regimes where it wants and that because the policy of preemptive action is now official policy, this doctrine that you can go in and take out countries if you -- or attack countries think there's a threat of international security document, I think that does alarm people in Europe.
On Syria, I agree -- we both -- Christiane and Jasim -- that I don't think there will be some kind of military action. But I think this saber rattling doesn't go down very well. There is a style issue here of this administration pushing itself and -- and that -- that worries people. That worries people in Europe. It worries people in Britain.
SCHIEFFER: Well, is it saber rattling, Robin?
WRIGHT: Think of it -- the attitude towards Syria -- two different levels.
There are six countries that border Iraq. The only one that had really solid good relations -- not good relations, but did a lot of dealings with Iraq was Syria.
They were both led by Baath Party. Even though they were often rivaled, it was the same kind of ideology. Syria was the many conduit for illegal oil smuggling outside of Iraq. So there -- there are long-standing relations and -- and his is what the United States is trying to make sure are broken up, that Syria understands that it cannot be the outlet for the old regime.
But it plays out in a much more important level as well and that's the bigger plane -- that, if you think of Iraq as the lunching pad, it is the United States looking at the broader region and the other issues that still have to be settled. Syria is one of the big ones on a number of different counts: weapons of mass destruction, support for extremism, failure to make peace with Israel.
But it also is, in many ways, a symbolic of the bigger effort the United States is about to launch in announcing the road map for an Arab-Israeli peace, finally to get a dormant process, a deadlocked process going again to try to say to many of the Arab regimes, the Arab autocracies, the last lock of countries hold against the democratic tide, Look, it's time to move on. We all have to -- you all have to hear the message of Iraq which was authoritarian rule is no longer acceptable in this block of countries.
You all have to hear it, and act on it. So Syria is just a symbol. It's the first step of kind of a broader agenda in the aftermath of Iraq.
KAY: I think the feeling in London particularly at the moment is let's stop talking about Syria, and yet more regime change and yet more saber rattling. Let's get this road map out there and let's see more commitment that. That's certainly what Tony Blair wants. That was his quid pro quo, if you like, I was going to stick by you, but do I really do need to see this road map.
WRIGHT: I think you'll see it in the next two weeks.
SCHIEFFER: We'll talk a break and come back and talk about this some more in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. And I want to go back to Abu Dhabi and Jasim al-Azzawi.
What do you make, Jasim, of the capture today of Saddam's half brother. Do you think this will be significant?
AL AZZAWI: This is a big catch, Bob.
AL AZZAWI: This Barzan Tikriti, he is the second man on the deck of cards of 51 people wanted by the United States. He is, like you said, he's the half brother of Saddam Hussein. At one stage he was the top intelligence person in Iraq, and then he had a fallout with his brother, with Saddam Hussein, perhaps because of Uday. The eldest son of Saddam Hussein is married to Barzan's daughter. It did not last long. It was only a few months. And then he was sent to Geneva. He is the money man. If anybody knows about Saddam's billions and where it is, and who moved it and the tracking of it and who owns what in what shell companies, it is Barzan Tikriti. And it is well known that he is not a committed man. He is always a survivor. So perhaps he can cut a deal with the military presence in Iraq. And he would know a lot of the secret hiding places of Iraqi officials. And I would not be surprised if he would betray his brother in order just to survive.
SCHIEFFER Scott Pelly, do the Iraqi people -- is word getting around when people like Saddam's half brother are arrested? Do they know of these things?
PELLY: Yes, they do, Bob.
Word gets around much better than it used to. Word of mouth, if nothing else, and a lot of people in Iraq have always had shortwave radios and listened to the BBC and Voice of America and word gets around that way as well. So as these developments occur, people are hearing about them, but there are also a lot of rumors that run through towns.
And as you well know, Bob, that's the way it is in any wartime situation. The Iraqi people very often don't know what to go think about their American occupiers I had a walk through Baghdad yesterday without a television camera, just talking to people on the streets. And what you hear on the streets from many people is that they believe the Americans did this just to take control of the oil. When you ask them about the prospect of elections, they are not at all convinced that the United States is going to let them have a government of their own choosing. And all over town, in fact, all over southern Iraq where I've been recently, you hear people who are concerned about, who are aggravated about the fact that their country has been taken over by such a close ally of Israel. So, these are some of the things that you hear when you walks on the streets. People are very concerned about their new occupiers and they have no idea what to make of their future.
SCHIEFFER: Robin Wright, how do we counter that?
WRIGHT: That's a very good question. We have a lot of big decisions to make. For example, there's an OPEC meeting next week. And because was longstanding belief that the really is after control of Iraqi oil and even that vote on OPEC, to decide the price of oil, and what quantity should be shipped to the outside world, it will be very interesting to see what happens.
And who eventually, whether it's next week or next month, who actually ends up with the oil ministry. You know, the United States has looked that the in the past year as kind of a Hollywood sales campaign. And that has not proven to work in the Muslim world in general, well beyond the Middle East. And it's arguably the biggest challenge we face, convincing them that what we really want is Democracy. Do we really want to see them have a say in their own destiny? Because I don't think that there are many in Iraq or in a wider Muslim world who believe that.
KAY: I think there are some things as well that you can do, some things you cannot do. Probably not promoting somebody who is seen as the Pentagon's man would be a help. And showing that you are committed not to stay there too long. I think that's another issue that people are very concerned about, that the Americans stay there too long and become to be seen as occupiers. And think for the region as a whole, what we were talking about earlier the broader question of the Middle East peace process. I think if America could be seen to be more involved in that, if hat this administration could seem to be involved even handedly in that process, that would help in Iraq as well.
SCHIEFFER: If Tony Blair had a wish list what would it be right now?
KAY: He would want the -- the road map to Middle East Peace out there as quick as possible and a commitment by the Bush administration to go through with it and go through with it even handedly. He would also like -- he would always have liked more of the United Nations presence. And I think actually in America's long-term self-interest, a United Nations presence in Iraq as soon as possible would have helped. It's much harder to attack a U.N. operation than it is to attack an American-British operation. It's very easy for people in the Middle East to say, look, there are the Americans, they are the occupiers. If it had been a United Nations operation and then if thing his started going wrong, you would have been able to blame the international community. It would have been a self interest thing I think.
SCHIEFFER: Take a break, back and we'll talk a little more of this in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GEN. TOMMY FRANKS, COALITION COMMANDER: There is nothing more important than we're doing right now than providing opportunities for the Iraqi people. We've said many, many times that the Iraqi people have been beneath the yoke, the Iraqi people have been abused by a regime that no longer stands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: And Bob Schieffer sitting in for Larry King tonight. We want to work in one phone call from Scarborough, Ontario. Go ahead.
CALLER: Hi there, Bob.
CALLER: Bob, I'd like to ask your panel: In light of the law and order situation in Iraq, as well as the U.S. administration's minimal role for the U.N., as well as the saber rattling against Syria, how do you think the U.S. is doing in the public relations war around the world and particularly in the Middle East?
SCHIEFFER: OK. Well let's start with Christiane, who's in Baghdad. Are we winning the P.R. war, Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Well, not really right now, to be very frank.
I think that there's a huge amount of goodwill amongst many of the people here in Iraq towards the American. On the face of it, there's a lot of waving. People come up to the Americans. They're pleased to be, as they said to me, able to breathe freely for the first time.
But as we've been talking about for the last hour, the vacuum, the intense disorder that has been the replacement of Saddam Hussein for the last week has taken the bloom of that rose here. And of course, as you watch it in a wider Middle East context, all of the things your panelists have been saying, -- what will happen with the Israeli-Palestinian situation?; will the U.S. want to do regime change in many other countries, in the Middle East -- all of these issues and questions raise a certain fear level and anxiety level amongst people and a certain resentment and I think that, you know, if the -- the fall of Saddam Hussein can be matched by a sort of resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, that will go a long way towards perhaps calming some of the terrible, sort of anti-Americanism that does exist right now around not -- only around the Middle East, but around much of the world. SCHIEFFER: Well, let's talk a little bit about Europe, Katty. How's the P.R. war going across Europe?
KAY: I wish I could bring you some good news, but I don't think it's going very well in Europe. France and Germany are making the right diplomatic noises, or at least President Chirac is being a little bit more diplomatic now in the standoff. But I've been told by British diplomats that hell will freeze over in both Washington and London before you're going to get really much rapprochement between France and America.
I think they are going to start making the right moves because the reconstruction process is going to -- to need more of an international effort and because this is an important transatlantic alliance. And let's fact it, in the long run we have to try and work together.
But there is a lot of animosity.
SCHIEFFER: Did you think most of the problem is between Chirac and America or is it between Chirac and Tony Blair?
KAY: I think there isn't much love lost between Tony Blair and President Chirac at the moment. I mean, it was interesting that Jack Straw, our foreign minister went over and met with the foreign minister of France, who called him my colleague. in diplomatic speak that's very cold language and I think it speaks volumes about relations between London and Paris at the moment as well.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I would say, Robin, in this country, the administration does seem to be winning the P.R. war, at least right now. The American people seem quite happy with the American victory there. I think they have a lot of questions and I think they're uneasy, but the president's poll ratings, not that that's important to the overall good of the country -- they're pretty high.
WRIGHT: They are. It will be very interesting to see what happens as the economic bill for the war, estimated to be $4 billion a month from here on out -- $20 billion -- $20 billion for the initial war and $4 billion a month. That's the conservative cost -- conservative estimate. As the economic toll of the campaign mounts and the longer we stay in, it will be interesting to see -- and also what kind of reaction we get, if there are more suicide attacks against American troops, if there's more anti-Americanism in the region in general. Then it will be interesting to watch what the polls say.
SCHIEFFER: Well, as one who keeps something of an eye on the Congress, I would say this: I think the Congress, at this point, will continue give the president what he asked for on the war. That won't go on forever. But I think at this point they'll continue to do that.
Where they'll extract their price is in some of the domestic programs -- on his tax cut, things of that nature. We'll have to see what happens.
I want to thank all of you. A very interesting discussion, at least for me. Thanks to all of you.
Larry will be right back here where he belongs tomorrow night. Thank you.
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