Sunday, June 26, 2005

More straws in the wind 

Well, about once a week now I see another news story that convinces me the US is trying to surrender in Iraq so they can get their military bases built in peace.
Here is this week's version -- today's AP story Report: US Secretly Met with Insurgents
This report quotes the Times of London saying that a Pentagon representative met with Anwar al-Sunnah Army, Mohammed's Army and the Islamic Army in Iraq "and declared himself ready to find ways of stopping the bloodshed on both sides and to listen to demands and grievances" . The paper goes on to say "The U.S. officials tried to gather information about the structure, leadership and operations of the insurgent groups, which irritated some members, who had been told the talks would consider their main demand, a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq . . . During the June 13 talks, the U.S. officials demanded that two other insurgent groups, the 1920 Revolution and the Majhadeen Shoura Council, cut ties with the country's most-feared insurgent group, al-Qaida in Iraq, according to the report."
That the US is negotiating with four or five insurgent groups sounds perhaps more promising than it is. In a column at the end of May, Gwynne Dyer noted some of the problems that would arise with any negotiation, like for instance that there are 75 insurgent groups in Iraq:
At the moment, the Sunni Arabs do not have a credible collective leadership with whom the government could negotiate even if it wanted to, and there's not much point in trying to negotiate with the insurgents, either: some 38 different groups have claimed attacks against US troops. Nor will sealing the frontiers help, as the great majority of the insurgents are Iraqis moved by some combination of nationalism, Islamism, and/or Baathism. (The International Institute for Strategic Studies recently estimated that there are between 20,000 and 50,000 insurgents, organised in some 75 separate units.) Another election might ease some of the strains if substantial numbers of Sunni Arabs chose to participate next time, but it is far from clear that they would, and in any case the timetable is slipping fast. Current deadlines foresee completion of the new constitution by 15 August, a referendum on it in October, and new elections in December (assuming that the referendum says 'yes'), but three months were lost in haggling between Kurds and Shias over government jobs and now that schedule is most unlikely to be met. In fact, it will be surprising if they can even agree on a new constitution by the end of the year -- and Sunni Arab views will scarcely be represented at all. So the violence will probably continue at around the current level for the next six to nine months at least, and beyond that the future is simply unforeseeable. Whether you choose to call this a civil war or not, the fact is that almost all of the insurgents are Sunni Arabs, while the new Iraqi army and police forces are overwhelmingly Shias and Kurds. So long as the insurgency continues, the Shia leadership is unlikely to demand the immediate departure of American troops -- and so far, the US still seems determined to stay.

The 400-lb gorilla is this: no matter what is negotiated and with whom and how many elections are held and what constitution is adopted, the insurgency will not end until the US army leaves. And if those 16 'enduring'bases are an indication, the US is not intending to leave.
At what point will the world step up to the plate, and tell the US and Britain that they have no right to continue to occupy Iraq?

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