Some insurgent groups respond to reconciliation plan
Several Sunni-led insurgent groups have approached the Iraqi government to try to start negotiations after the Iraqi prime minister's presentation on Sunday of a limited plan for reconciliation, a senior legislator from the prime minister's party said Monday.There is more.
The groups have made no demands yet, but wanted to express their views to top government officials, said the legislator, Hassan al-Suneid. "There are signals" from "some armed groups to sit at the negotiating table," said Mr. Suneid, who, like the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, belongs to the Islamic Dawa Party, a conservative Shiite group.
The groups, made up of Iraqi nationalist fighters, have floated their proposal through Sunni Arab negotiators, Mr. Suneid said in a telephone interview. Although he described the groups as armed, he said they "are not implicated in the bloodletting of Iraqis."
Mr. Suneid declined to say how many groups wanted to open talks, who they were and how big or influential they were. There are indications that seven insurgent factions are involved.
The development was welcomed by a prominent Sunni politician. "This is a good and affirmative step from the armed groups," said Ayad al-Samarraie of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which holds some of the top posts in the government. Referring to Shiite militias, many of them backed by political parties, he added, "We are now looking for other armed groups and militias joined to parties to see how they will work with this project."
Mr. Maliki's reconciliation plan is vague, perhaps purposefully so, about which insurgent groups the government considers suitable to negotiate with. Mr. Maliki said in Parliament on Sunday, "For he who wants to build, we offer a hand with an olive branch." The only firm line, American and Iraqi officials said, was that no amnesty would be granted to members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia or guerrillas intent on restoring Saddam Hussein's rule.
US forces have always broken the insurgency into three main categories.
The first and the one responsible for the most killings to date was al Qaeda and other foreign fighters, even though it had the fewest members.
The second group is made up of the "former regime elements." These are the Saddam thugs who terrorized Iraq before he was over thrown and they have continued since that time.
The third group was identified as the Iraq rejectionist. These were mainly Sunnis whose, bigotry and belief in a ruling birthright rejected democracy in Iraq. Indeed, some of them actually believed that the Sunnies made up the majority. It appears to me that the groups that have approached the government about reconcilliation come from this latter category.
Those in the first two groups would seem not to fit the profile of eligibility for the proposed amnesty. On top of that al Qaeda in Iraq has been decimated since the capture of material at the scene of Zarqawi's death, and subsequent exploitation from sites raided based on the Zarqawi information.
The former regime elements have also taken a significant beating over the last year and they have little hope of any success in regaining power. If the rejectionist make a deal, it will be even more difficult for the remaining terrorist to survive. Do not be surprised if those in the first two categories do not begin an exodus from Iraq soon. My speculation is that they will head for the tribal regions of Pakistan.