Saturday, June 24, 2006
Iraqi Government Negotiates With Terrorists; Offers "Cut And Run" Strategy of a TIMETABLE FOR AMERICAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL. Those Damn "Liberal" Iraqi's
By Jack Fairweather in New York
The Iraq government is planning to offer an amnesty to Sunni insurgents as part of a comprehensive peace package that authorities hope will ward off civil war.
In a carefully detailed package which could be presented as early as next week, the government will try to tempt insurgent groups to lay down their arms in return for inclusion in the political process and the release of prisoners.
The Government will also offer a timetable for American troop withdrawal, stop US operations targeting insurgents, and clamp down on violations of human rights abuses, according to a 28-page deal reported by the Times.
Such moves are likely to raise serious concerns in Washington, which has so far steadfastly refused to name a date for scaling down its presence in Iraq, and will not want its personnel under Iraqi jurisdiction.
The suggestion of an amnesty for insurgents who have killed American soldiers has already proved deeply unpopular in administration circles in Washington.
When the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, suggested it a week ago it had a distinctly cool reception from the White House.
While public opinion in America has turned against the war, many in Washington will also be unwilling to commit to a fixed timeline for the withdrawal of America's 135,000 troops.
The Bush administration has long resisted such an idea, fearing that it would give an impression of a disorderly withdrawal and also that it would embolden the insurgents.
The plan will also include action against Shia militias and "death squads" attached to the Shia-controlled interior ministry, both of which have provoked widespread fear in the Sunni community.
The "de-Ba'athification" process, another source of anger and resentment among Sunnis, will also be reviewed.
There are financial aid packages as well for victims of terrorist and Coalition attacks, and earlier victims of Saddam's rule.