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Iraq: 11 insurgent groups interested in laying down arms
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, June 29, 2006

We're now up from 7 to 11 insurgent groups interested in the amnesty offer from the Iraqi government.
Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have offered an immediate halt to all attacks — including those on American troops — if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years, insurgent and government officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Withdrawal is the centerpiece of a set of demands from the groups, which operate north of Baghdad in the heavily Sunni Arab provinces of Salahuddin and Diyala. Although much of the fighting has been to the west, those provinces are increasingly violent and attacks there have crippled oil and commerce routes.

The groups who've made contact have largely shunned attacks on Iraqi civilians, focusing instead on the U.S.-led coalition forces. Their offer coincides with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's decision to reach out to the Sunni insurgency with a reconciliation plan that includes an amnesty for fighters.
As we've mentioned, this is a critical part of any reconciliation. Standing down these insurgent groups will have a direct effect on the speed in which US forces can begin to withdraw.
Naseer al-Ani, a Sunni Arab politician and official with the largest Sunni political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that al-Maliki should encourage the process by guaranteeing security for those making the offer and not immediately reject their demands.

"The government should prove its goodwill and not establish red lines," al-Ani said. "If the initiative is implemented in a good way, 70 percent of the insurgent groups will respond positively."
Imagine a 70% reduction in the Sunni insurgency. Significant? You bet.

One of the demands is a time table for the withdrawal of US troops within 2 years.
Al-Maliki, in televised remarks Wednesday, did not issue an outright rejection of the timetable demand. But he said it was unrealistic, because he could not be certain when the Iraqi army and police would be strong enough to make a foreign presence unnecessary for Iraq's security.
For those of you out there claiming even the Iraqi government has published a time table for withdrawal, read that carefully. You'll notice that Maliki is basing his plan on "when the Iraqi army and police would be strong enough to make a foreign presence unnecessary for Iraq's security". I don't know about you but that sounds like a conditions based plan within a time frame but with no date certain.

A spokesman for the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a sort of umbrella group for the first 7 insurgent groups to respond to the amnesty plan, had this to say:
"If they set a two-year timetable for the withdrawal we will stop all our operations immediately," said the leader in a telephone interview with the AP. The man, who refused to give his name for security reasons, spoke from the telephone of one of the mediators. Others present made similar remarks.
Sounds like a couple of negotiating positions to me. The rest of the insurgent's demands are summarized below:
In addition to the withdrawal timetable, the Iraqi insurgents have demanded:

• An end to U.S. and Iraqi military operations against insurgent forces.

• Compensation for Iraqis killed by U.S. and government forces and reimbursement for property damage.

• An end to the ban on army officers from Saddam's regime in the Iraqi military.

• An end to the government ban on former members of the Baath Party — which ruled the country under Saddam.

• The release of insurgent detainees.
Dale's post on "How Wars End" points out that despite the desire to seek vengeance, retribution or justice for the Americans killed in Iraq, in the end the much more important point is to see Iraq succeed. What you don't want is such desires to become an impediment to that end-state.

Donald Rumsfeld said it rather succinctly:
"The goal is not to trade something off for something else to make somebody happy, the goal is to succeed," he said.
And Mark Davis reminds us historically that this is how it works, in fact, how it must work:
After the Civil War, Confederate forces who previously would have shot Union soldiers dead where they stood needed to be welcomed into the reunited America. Part of the healing after World War II involved abandoning the active desire any American might have had to attack anything or anyone German or Japanese.

This is neither forgiving nor forgetting; it is simply the progression from a war footing to a postwar footing.
What we should be hoping for is progress in these negotiations and headlines which have more and more insurgent groups being added to the list of those negotiating with the government. What we should not be engaged in is rejecting such a program because of some misguided notion of justice. That will only cause more death and destruction not less. We need to encourage this and hope it flowers into a pact which sees insurgents lay down their arms and join in Iraq's rebuilding.
 
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• An end to U.S. and Iraqi military operations against insurgent forces.

I think, lately we’ve been targetting al Queda in Iraq and other terrorist groups more.

• Compensation for Iraqis killed by U.S. and government forces and reimbursement for property damage.


We’ve been doing this all along to some extent.

• An end to the ban on army officers from Saddam’s regime in the Iraqi military.

• An end to the government ban on former members of the Baath Party — which ruled the country under Saddam.


There’s already been talk of relaxing these standards.

• The release of insurgent detainees.

Iraq has been doing this periodically.

Overall, very hopefull signs of progress in a political reconcilliation. The fact that these groups are even coming to the table is telling.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Pertaining to your points about their demands, yes, I agree, most of those are either being done now or certainly not show stoppers.
The fact that these groups are even coming to the table is telling.
That and the fact that the negotiations now include 4 more groups who weren’t previously involved.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Are the 11 Iraqi insurgent group all of the Iraqi insurgent groups? If not, there is a major problem with the agreement. US troops would need to remain to fight the other Iraqi insurgent groups not in agreement, thereby violating our commitment to withdraw, which in turn would cause the 11 signatory groups to cancel their commitment to lay down their arms.

This will only work if all domestic insurgents commit to the agreement. If that unlikely event actually occurs, then we only have to worry about how trustworthy the signatories are.
 
Written By: Doug Purdie
URL: http://www.onlybaseballmatters.com
This points to two things:

1. Sunni insurgent groups now believe that the US will never leave Iraq until there is peace
2. The USG feels that there will not be peace until we shows some willingness to reduce troop levels in Iraq (or withdraw from Iraq altogether)

There is a room for compromise based on the above. Hats off to the Bush Administration if they pull this one off...
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
If not, there is a major problem with the agreement. US troops would need to remain to fight the other Iraqi insurgent groups not in agreement, thereby violating our commitment to withdraw, which in turn would cause the 11 signatory groups to cancel their commitment to lay down their arms.
Possibly. But it could also pressure the other groups to buy into the agreement thereby removing groups we’re presently fighting from the mix and speeding our withdrawal.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
here is a major problem with the agreement. US troops would need to remain to fight the other Iraqi insurgent groups not in agreement,
Not if the Iraqi security forces were capable of fighting them on their own.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Defining victory downward ....

So, some insurgents promise to stop fighting if they get the result they have been fighting for. At least that what someone says who claims to speak for the insurgents.

And 2 years will give them enough time to regroup. That way, when we leave, they will be rested and ready to take the Shia militias, er, the Iraqi government, head on.

Mission Accomplished!




 
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