Iraq, the Vote: 'Their Days Are Numbered'

J$P Instant Transcript! Major Bob Bevelacqua analyzes election day in Iraq.

From Fox News Live, December 15 2005:

MARTHA MacCALLUM [FOX NEWS]: Joining me now is former Green Beret, Major Bob Bevelacqua, who has been very much involved and in touch with all of this and watching over it closely. Good to have you with us, Major Bob.

MAJOR BOB BEVELACQUA: Thanks, Martha. Pleasure to be here.

MacCALLUM: Now I want to start, I want to go straight to the map and look at some of the difficult places that we've all been watching. Ramadi, of course, has been a real hot spot. And tell us a little bit about how the voting seemed to go there today.

BEVELACQUA: Well turnout in most of the areas that you're going to indicate, specifically Ramadi, which is in the "triangle of death" if you will, the voter turnout was relatively high. And the incidents against voters was very low. And this is a key indicator of a number of different things. You talked about vehicles not being able to move, the presence of soldiers. There is a key indicator that coalition forces have been looking for for quite some time that is finally starting to show up. And that's one, the Sunnis are beginning to become extremely fed up with the insurgents and Al-Qaeda, and they're actually going after them. And two, the insurgents and Al-Qaeda have recognized that voting is a sacred thing to the Iraqi people, and not to touch it. That's a very large development.

MacCALLUM: I think what you're saying cannot be underestimated. Let's take a look at Tikrit and just familiarize people with some of these areas that have been really the hot spots, and Mosul also we'll highlight in a moment. But I want to go back over what you're saying, Major Bob. Because it seems to be that it goes to the heart of the question of winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis. And two sides have really been battling for those hearts and minds, with the US and the coalition forces and the promise of democracy on one side, and the other side, the insurgents, saying you should all want these people out of here. What do you think is turning the tide and helping Iraqis to stand up against these people and to sort of come to that way of thinking?

BEVELACQUA: You've put it in a very interesting way, for us to win the hearts and minds. I think what's happened, Martha, is that their own government has actually been struggling to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and has begun to do that. There's a lot of people out there, political leaders, that have been assassinated over the course of the past year and a half, trying to get involved in changing the nation. And I think the Iraqi people have recognized that, and they're starting to really respect their own institution that they themselves are helping to create. And this goes against everything the insurgency is trying to do. And that's why in Tikrit, Saddam's home town, we're actually seeing a large voter turnout and very little violence. That never would have happened 18 months ago.

MacCALLUM: It also goes to the fact that the Iraqis want a nation. There's been so many people saying that it will probably divide into three separate areas of Sunnis and Kurds and Shiites, that they won't be able to agree. And granted, I say all this with the backdrop that there's so much work to be done--


MacCALLUM: --in terms of working out oil revenues and all of those really very difficult subjects. But they do, they want, it seems, that they want a nation. And you point out that the violence that these people have put up with, and that they keep coming out, they keep becoming policemen, they keep hanging up campaign posters. It's very impressive, isn't it?

BEVELACQUA: It's extremely impressive, and I would have to say that I challenge any other community to do this: to be as resilient as the Iraqi people have become. And this is, once again, this is what we've been looking for. And I will tell you that Al-Qaeda and the members of the insurgency are recognizing that their days are really limited and numbered. And there's not that much they can do that they haven't already tried. And the majority of the stuff they're trying now is backfiring in their face. And we've seen this over the past three to four months. Their days are numbered.

MacCALLUM: Well let's hope you're right. Major Bob Bevelacqua, good to talk to you as always. Thanks.

BEVELACQUA: Thanks, Martha.

posted: Thu - December 15, 2005 at 03:06 PM       j$p  send