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Tuesday, February 10

Bremer predicts 'more dark days ahead' in Iraq

By John Hill | The (Shreveport, La.) Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, said Wednesday that there will be "more dark days ahead" but Americans should expect Iraqi self-government by the end of 2005.

"We are meeting the timetables," he said in an interview with American statehouse reporters accompanying six U.S. governors to Baghdad on Tuesday.

"The dynamics are favorable to us now," Bremer said.

Saddam Hussein's followers in the old regime "are the ones who are killing our soldiers," Bremer said.

But with Saddam's arrest, more insurgents are turning themselves in, while Iraqis, no longer fearful of the dictator, are giving up information.

"They tell us, 'you'd better check this place,' or 'the people in that house were speaking a strange language,'" Bremer said.

"We have very dangerous people here," Bremer said, hours after an apparent suicide bomber killed at least 50 Iraqis at a police headquarters on recruitment day.

"This is the place we have to show we can defeat terrorism," Bremer said.

"We can expect a lot of bumps in the road in the next three or four months as the terrorists realize time is not on their side," Bremer said.

He said he expects there will be a provisional Iraqi government in place by the end of June, but with no constitution, no election laws, no elections commission, no constituent boundaries, the provisional government cannot be elected.

"There has not even been a census since 1987," Bremer said.

The American in control of Iraq said he welcomes more visits by governors and state officials.

"I think what happens when people come, they see the story is different than what they see on TV," Bremer said.