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December 11, 2005
Native Terrorists Warn Zarqawi: Back Down For Elections

The London Telegraph reports that the Iraqi "insurgencies" may come to loggerheads this week when the Iraqis go to the polls. The native Iraqis have made it clear to the Zarqawi faction that they intend to provide a clear road for Sunni voters to cast their votes and get the representation they need in the new, regular National Assembly:

Iraqi insurgents have signalled a major shift on January's parliamentary elections, urging Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al-Qa'eda militants not to attack polling stations. Ba'athist loyalists boycotted Iraq's last set of elections and intimidated would-be voters out of participation.

Now guerrillas in the volatile Anbar province say they are prepared to protect voting stations from al-Qa'eda fighters.

Ali Mahmoud, a former army officer and rocket specialist under Saddam's Ba'ath party, said: "We want to see a nationalist government that will have a balance of interests. So our Sunni brothers will be safe when they vote."

The rhetoric sounds even tougher than one would imagine between competing factions of an effort with the same primary goal -- to remove the Americans from Iraq by scaring them out of the country, a tactic that so far has only been effective against the Democratic Party leadership. One of the former Ba'athist leaders of the Saddamite remnants has openly called Zarqawi an "American, Israeli and Iranian agent who is trying to keep our country unstable so that the Sunnis will keep facing occupation". It doesn't sound like the Iraqis who went underground have appreciated Zarqawi's attempts to exchange one foreign occupation with another foreign tyranny.

It demonstrates that the Iraqis, even the Sunnis, have begun to understand the importance of the upcoming elections and the fact that Americans won't leave until the country has been secured for democracy. They're not ready to turn in their weapons yet, but a strong showing for the Sunnis at the ballot box might result in a deal for the native Iraqi insurgency to turn in their weapons to the new Iraqi Army. That will place even more pressure on the Zarqawi network to give up and get out.

It's beginning to look a lot more like victory -- everywhere but in Howard Dean's office and the American media, which continues to ignore these developments.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 11, 2005 12:53 PM

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