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June 28, 2006
Iraqi Insurgents Want Two-Year Withdrawal Commitment

The amnesty plan offered by Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal al-Talibani appears to have broken a standoff with native insurgents in Iraq. The groups have replied by demanding a commitment to a two-year withdrawal plan of foreign forces from Iraq as a condition of their surrender:

Insurgents are demanding the withdrawal of all U.S. and British forces from Iraq within two years as a condition for joining reconciliation talks, a senior Iraqi government official said Wednesday. ...

Iraqi government officials involved with the contacts with insurgents told The Associated Press that several militant groups sent delegates from their regions and tribes to speak on their behalf.

One of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of demands for secrecy in the talks, said the insurgents have so far rejected face-to-face talks, saying they fear being targeted by Shiite militias, Iraqi security forces and the Americans.

The official said the insurgents have demanded a two-year "timetable for withdrawal" in return for joining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bid for national reconciliation.

The insurgents also said a condition for any future direct talks would be the presence of observers from the Arab League, Saudi Arabia and Iraq's influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars.

These demands do not appear too extreme and can form the basis of rational talks aimed at a national reconciliation. The involvement of the Saudis and the two Arab associations may not sit well with the new Iraqi government; after all, none of them have a particular fondness for democracy or self-determination, especially Saudi Arabia. However, Iraq will have to find ways to exist in tandem with all of them, and including them in this process might be a good start.

Interestingly, the insurgents tacitly admit the necessity of the foreign troops in their demand. They have not demanded an immediate withdrawal, or even one within 12 months. Foreign troops need to remain to ensure protection against the foreign insurgency, which Iraqis have grown to detest. As long as the native insurgents and Ba'athist dead-enders have stopped tossing bombs and firing bullets, the foreign troops pose no danger to them. More to the point, the Sunnis who make up the insurgencies fear Shi'ite militias more than the foreign troops. They need our protection from the Shi'ite vengeance that would surely erupt without some kind of stabilizing force to prevent it.

In this, the insurgents appear far ahead of the Democrats in Congress. They have spent the last few months demanding immediate withdrawals or at least timetables for such, with some calling for retreat as early as the end of this year. Even the insurgents see the folly of that idea. This demand acknowledges that the US and Coalition forces have succeeded in creating an effective and professional security force for Iraq, one that needs more training and seasoning before we can leave and expect stability and self-management in Iraq.

I wonder if the Democrats will have an explanation for why they want our troops to retreat faster than the insurgents have demanded.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 28, 2006 12:23 PM

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» Insurgents In Iraq Offer Truce from Flopping Aces
So they know something the Democrats in our country do not, that cutting and running is not an option. It would doom the fledging Democracy in Iraq to failure. Just so you understand this, our Democrats are now even further left of the terrorists. ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 28, 2006 3:00 PM


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