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July 4, 2006
Iraqi Insurgents Want To Fight Foreign Terrorists

The Iraqi government will consider a request by the native insurgents negotiating for a national reconciliation to take up arms against the al-Qaeda network in Iraq. The eleven groups want the Iraqis to outfit them with weapons, claiming that they have the intel to wipe out the foreign terrorists:

Iraq's government is studying a request from some local insurgent leaders to supply them with weapons so they can turn on the heavily armed foreign fighters who were once their allies, according to two Iraqi lawmakers.

Leaders claiming to represent about 11 insurgent groups asked for weapons to fight foreign al-Qaeda elements in Iraq, said Haider al-Ibadi, a Shiite lawmaker and member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party.

"They want to take part in the war against terrorists," said al-Ibadi, who supports the proposal. "They claim they could wipe out the terrorists and work with the government."

AQI seems to have a serious PR problem in Iraq. Rather than being seen by the Iraqis as "minutemen", as Michael Moore once claimed, even the Iraqi terrorist groups have had enough of Osama and the depravity of his allies. They seem perfectly willing to place a knife between their shoulder blades in order to work themselves back into the good graces of the Iraqi people.

Still, it sounds too cute. They want arms to fight the terrorists. If the native insurgents want that, they should have enlisted in the Iraqi Army. These groups could simply provide the Iraqi Army with their intel and let the government handle the problem. Any compromise along these lines represents an endorsement of private militias, a very bad idea for a nation struggling with unity and security issues as it is. Giving them weapons only guarantees that these weapons will one day turn against the government that hands them out.

The Iraqis should stick to basics. The first goal they need to meet is to ensure that the government controls the application of deadly force. Cutting deals with groups that had dedicated themselves to destroying the government on the promise that they would suddenly act as agents of that government pushes them away from that goal and into an open invitation for other disaffected Iraqis to form their own armed militias.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 4, 2006 10:50 PM

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