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Bush cuts deal with Iraqi insurgents.

by Chris Kulczycki Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 06:25:37 PM EST

Did I miss something, or is Bush now making deals with Iraqi terrorists?

From the Washington Times:

By Paul Martin
December 21, 2005 BAGHDAD

    American diplomats called it "mission impossible" -- to bend the rules on contact with powerful anti-American Sunni forces in Iraq and negotiate a cease-fire -- all before last week's elections.

    Their orders came from U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The effort took months and culminated in a day of voting in which Sunni Arabs came out in droves after having boycotted the first parliamentary election a year ago.

    The cease-fire period started Dec. 13 and ended Sunday, spanning Thursday's elections. The period passed with no major attacks on Iraqi civilians.

    The effort by U.S. diplomats and military officials also redefined U.S. policy in Iraq -- a potentially seismic shift that President Bush spelled out this month in four major policy speeches that referred to three types of insurgents: "rejectionists," "Saddamists" and terrorists.

What was that he said about undermining our credibility? What about 30 years of not negotiating with terrorists? Is Bush this desperate to get out of Iraq?

Washington seeks truce

    U.S. officials continue to talk with the "rejectionists," a category that appears to include the bulk of those who have taken up arms to battle American and Iraqi forces.

    Now that the elections have passed, the United States is continuing the effort, seeking a long-term cease-fire that would drive a wedge between Iraqi Sunnis and terrorist forces, such as those led by Abu Musab Zarqawi and his al Qaeda in Iraq. The terrorist organization seeks to impose a primitive, Taliban-like regime on Iraq and use Iraq as a base from which to topple governments throughout the Middle East and larger Muslim world.-snip-

    "They went something like this," the official said. "We'll stop raiding houses searching for suspects, or we'll remove our checkpoints from certain places, provided you guarantee there will be no shootings or bombings on a certain road or geographic area."

    Later, negotiators worked on a wider form of cease-fire, culminating on Oct. 28 in a "big tent" meeting at an undisclosed location, bringing together American and British diplomats and U.S. Army personnel with tribal, political, religious and insurgent figures. -snip-

 The new rules were: "We will not talk to terrorists with blood on their hands." It is a formula that allowed talks with all except those whom U.S. intelligence fingered as killers or who gave orders to kill.

    "It was a very, very liberal interpretation," the U.S. official said. By a process of definitions, years of refusal to talk to insurgents were reversed.

Here are a few more details:

Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, ordered an end of "aggressive operations" effective Dec. 13. –snip-

The process nearly unraveled late in the negotiations when a U.S. Army unit, apparently unaware of a looming deal, launched raids on homes of suspected insurgents inside Fallujah.

"We had to scramble to explain it was just a mess-up," the official said. "But from their perspective, where everything is seen as a conspiracy, we had done it on purpose. "Eventually, they accepted our promise it would not happen again."

The insurgents were angered again when a communication failure led to further arrests, this time involving people who had been talking with the American and British negotiators. Most, but not all, soon were set free.

"We've put our interlocutors on a no-raid list," said a U.S. official, "but things still go wrong sometimes."

In one case, an American military unit raided a house in Baghdad, seized numerous guns and made arrests. It turned out the house belonged to Mahmoud Meshed Ani, one of the main Iraqis in the negotiations.

"He's still demanding all the weapons back," the U.S. source said. "But there is no way our military people can hand over Kalashnikovs to anyone, let alone to insurgents."

The main demands of the insurgents and their supporters were:

• Release our prisoners. • Move American troops out of the cities. "We told them that one will take some time," a U.S. official said. • Protect insurgents from revenge, particularly armed Ba'athists, who feared Sunnis might want to kill them in retaliation for past atrocities.

The discovery of detention centers where torture was routine, and the prevalence of Shi'ite extremists' kidnap and assassination squads, also threatened the agreement.

And just to keep things real: Ghassan Attiyah, an Iraqi commentator, said: "In two and a half years Bush has succeeded in creating two new Talibans in Iraq." The Independent says:

Iraq is disintegrating. The first results from the parliamentary election last week show the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.

Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand. The secular and nationalist candidate backed by the US and Britain was humiliatingly defeated.

More from that Independent article:

The Shia religious coalition has won a total victory in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. The Sunni Arab parties who openly or covertly support armed resistance to the US are likely to win large majorities in Sunni provinces. The Kurds have already achieved quasi-independence and their voting reflected that.

*The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes* of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq. -snip-

The election was portrayed by President George Bush as a sign of success for US policies in Iraq but, in fact, means the triumph of America's enemies inside and outside the country.

Iran will be pleased that the Shia religious parties which it has supported, have become the strongest political force. –snip-

The election also means a decisive switch from a secular Iraq to a country in which, outside Kurdistan, religious law will be paramount.

Lets repeat the shipwreck bit in case anyone missed it, *”The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes”*.

I note on the sidelines that there are widespread claims of voting manipulations, and especially in Baghdad calls for re-voting. (See some articles posted lately at Lunaville, for example.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 06:39:11 PM EST
There had been tid bits of information and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was involved with some talks to Sunni community in past weeks. The present Iraqi administration must be split between hardliners - Minister of Interior with torture prisons and executions of Sunni leaders and/or family members, and a more moderate group willing to reach out to all Iraqi factions.

The amendments to the constitution and forming a new coalition government will be the next stage of a democratic process, how primitive it may be today.

Please cross-post diary at BooMan Tribune.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."


'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 07:25:15 PM EST
Bush needs the troops out of Iraq so he can invade Venezuela or Bolivia.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 21st, 2005 at 07:57:31 PM EST
During the Vietnam war, they regularly had a cease-fire during the Tet, or the moon new year. Bush is just catching up with the lesson learned, and forgotten, a long time ago.

Why is our generation so stupid?!?!

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 01:14:40 AM EST
Since Bush deals in absolutes in all his public pronouncements, it is not surprising, but just a demonstration of hypocrisy, that he'd do this.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 05:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I mean the middle/aging generation by "we" that include Bush, and me (a bit younger than him). Sorry.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 11:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does yet another Bush lie surprise us? It's just getting exhausting keeping track...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 05:33:50 AM EST

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