SECRET talks in which senior American officials came face-to-face with some of their most bitter enemies in the Iraqi insurgency broke down after two months of meetings, rebel commanders have disclosed.
The meetings, hosted by Iyad Allawi, Iraq’s former prime minister, brought insurgent commanders and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, together for the first time.
After months of delicate negotiations Allawi, a former Ba’athist and a secular Shi’ite, persuaded three rebel leaders to travel to his villa in Amman, the Jordanian capital, to see Khalilzad in January.
“The meetings came about after persistent requests from the Americans. It wasn’t because they loved us but because they didn’t have a choice,” said a rebel leader who took part.
Is it just me, or does is there something fishy about the timing of the breakdown of the negotiations?
Last week the long-awaited report of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, a former congressman, called for America to seek to engage with all parties in Iraq, with the exception of Al-Qaeda.
Personally, it makes me wonder about the timing of the breakdown, with the release of the ISG report. It makes me wonder if the insurgent groups were biding their time during the negotiations to see exactly what the report called for, and finding it not to their liking (these are the Sunni factions, after all, who are at odds with the Shiite factions that the ISG report wants to include in determining the fate of Iraq), decided that the negotiations were not in their best interest.
It seems to me, having read the ISG report, that the ISG is thinking in terms of all of Islam being under one umbrella. That's bad thinking, because it isn't the case. The Shiites and the Sunni's have been at odds for YEARS before our large scale involvement in the current operations we are conducting in Afghanistan and Iraq. To think that they can all be labeled under one grouping and that they will agree unanimously to things being dictated to them from a group like the ISG is unrealistic, at best, and fatal to the US and countless others at minimum.
Until the US gets it into our heads that we ARE dealing with two factions of Islam, not just one as a whole, suggestions by groups like the ISG are a waste of time and money (1.3 million dollars wasted in the case of the ISG).
Read the story in full here.
Once and always, an American Fighting Man
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