[Marxism] Will imperialists reorient to the Sunni?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 24 12:45:34 MST 2006


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/documents-reveal-secret-t_b_34834.html

Documents Reveal Secret Talks Between U.S. and Armed Iraqi Resistance

Failures on the battlefield and in the recent American elections are 
propelling the Bush Administration to consider significant changes in 
Iraq policy. Having placed the Shiite majority in power, the 
Administration now wonders if the country is being delivered to Iran. 
Having fought the Sunni-led insurgency for three years, the 
Administration wonders if negotiations are the only way to reduce 
American casualties.
It is not for holiday purposes that George Bush and Condoleeza Rice 
are meeting next week with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in 
Amman while Dick Cheney rushes to Saudi Arabia. The only question 
being kept from the American people is what the high-level talks are about.

On November 22 on the Huffington Post, I revealed that American 
officials have contacted Sunni nationalist insurgents to explore a 
cease-fire and even the possible replacement of the al-Maliki 
government with an interim one. This plan would reduce US casualties 
against the Sunni-led insurgency [recently one hundred deaths per 
month], while consistent with the Pentagon desire to focus firepower 
on the Shiite Mahdi Army, led by "radical cleric" Moktada al-Sadr, 
the most prominent Shiite leader calling for an American withdrawal 
from Iraq. The current obstacle to an all-out American offensive 
against al-Sadr's stronghold in Sadr City happens to be Prime 
Minister al-Maliki, whose governing coalition includes al-Sadr.

Today's car bomb explosions in Sadr City and the violent attacks 
against Baghdad's health ministry are aimed at two main al-Sadr power 
bases [his representatives run the health ministry].

Sensing that al-Maliki will agree to anything Bush demands, al-Sadr 
now is demanding that al-Maliki call off his meeting with the President.

Questions have arisen in the media concerning the evidence of my 
November 22 report that Americans have been involved in direct 
contacts with the Sunni armed resistance. The evidence is confirmed 
by a recent impromptu meeting in Amman between a resistance 
representative and US Congressman Jim McDermott, in the course of two 
days of discussions facilitated by a former Jordanian diplomat, 
Munther Haddadin.

More specific are documents dated November 13 and November 16 by an 
American adviser sketching detailed ongoing discussions with 
insurgent Sunni leaders aimed at a cease-fire. The plans can only be 
paraphrased and the adviser's name withheld for reasons of 
confidentiality. It is not clear that the blueprint awaited an okay 
at the highest level as of November 16, or whether it was moving 
forward with plausible deniability. But there is no doubt as to its 
authenticity.

Here is the plan, paraphrased briefly, as proposed by the source who 
serves as an authorized back-channel link to the insurgent groups:

Leaders of the organized Sunni resistance groups are seeking 
immediate meetings with top American generals towards the goal of a 
cease-fire. Meetings with lower-level US officials already have occurred.

The resistance groups reject the ability of the al-Maliki government 
to unify its government, and therefore wants an interim government 
imposed before new elections can be held.

The former Baathist-dominated national army, intelligence services 
and police, whose leaders currently are heading the underground 
resistance, would be rehired, restored and re-integrated into 
national structures under this plan.

Multinational Force [MNF-I] activities aimed at controlling militias 
to be expanded.

The US-controlled Multi-National Force [MNF-I] would be redeployed to 
control the eastern border with Iran.

A Status of Forces agreement would be negotiated immediately 
permitting the presence of American troops in Iraq for as long as ten 
years. Troop reductions and redeployments would be permitted over time.

Amnesty and prisoner releases would be negotiated between the 
parties, with the Americans guaranteeing the end of torture of those 
held in the detention centers and prisons of the current, 
Shiite-controlled Iraqi state.

De-Baathification edicts issued by Paul Bremer would be rescinded, 
allowing tens of thousands of former Baathists to resume military and 
professional service.

An American commitment to financing reconstruction would be 
continued, and the new Iraqi regime would guarantee incentives for 
private American companies to participate in the rebuilding effort.

War-debt relief for Kuwait and other countries.

These are essentially similar proposals to those offered by Sunni 
nationalists and armed resistance groups since 2005. Low-level 
contacts have been reported before. What is new, apparently, is the 
November American election result showing a public demand to 
disengage and sharply reduce American casualty levels. The American 
neo-conservatives have been discredited and, in their place, a 
faction of bipartisan "realists" has emerged in the Iraq Study Group 
led by James Baker. Condoleeza Rice is thought to have aligned 
herself with these realists. In an October speech, she urged 
America's Gulf allies to serve as intermediaries to the resistance, 
according to an Arab diplomat who was present.

Neither the Pentagon nor the realists are committed to bringing 
American troops home in the near future. Instead, they seek to reduce 
American casualties, check the influence of Iran, and redeploy US 
troops to permanent bases. The draft plan for a Status of Forces 
Agreement is based on the models of Germany and Japan.

An even more realistic position, though not yet an acceptable one, is 
that of former CIA director John Deutch, calling for an American 
troop withdrawal combined with a diplomatic initiative to Iran, 
seeking non-intervention by Teheran in exchange for the US leaving.

Secretive wars include secretive diplomacy. The American people will 
be the last to find out what future is being prepared in the flurry 
of events beginning now. But these documents offer clues.

TOM HAYDEN is teaching a course on Iraq at Pitzer College. A former 
anti-Vietnam war leader and state senator, he has interviewed Iraqis 
from all major parties and associations during two visits to Amman, 
Jordan, during the past year. For more information go to www.tomhayden.com





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