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Insurgents, Islamacists, Nationalists - Iraq, Iran, Hamas

MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 31 January:
In Iraq the U.S. is secretly talking with the 'insurgent' enemy; and doing so in some ways even behind the back of the Shiite-dominated government the Americans essentially brought to power...outmanuevered in a way by Ayatollah Sistani. The reason why is that the 'insurgent' enemy has great determination and considerable strength and is causing much hemorraging of U.S. blood, treasure, and credibility. Add to this, in this case, the growing awareness/fear in Washington that the result of their invasion/occupation has become a Shiite-heavy regime with growing ties to Iran -- this even as the U.S. and Israel ready their plans to 'deal with' Iran.
The Americans of course are always publicly sloganning how they will never 'negotiate with terrorists'; but this is not the reality nor should it be. For first of all the 'terrorists' are actually on the whole quite a collection of home-grown freedom fighters and nationalists -- certainly that from their perspective -- and the 'foreign forces' the Americans keep cussing are actually, when you think about it, they themselves and their allies whom they have coerced, bribed, and threatened into joining them.
In Iraq today the American army is stretched to the breaking point; huge amounts of money and blood continue to be lost in the Iraqi debacle; American journalists are being kidnapped and TV anchor men blown up; and the mid-term U.S. election is approaching with Bush/Cheney needing options if their fortunes look too bleak. Making sure the domestic impeachment forces don't gain traction and have legs is now a major consideration at the White House; and tonight's State of the Union speech will reflect that though of course no one this evening is going to directly mention the "I" word.
The lessons of all this are not lost on Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, et. al. But this now worldwide political chess game is a very dangerous one for all. By miscalculation, misunderstanding, or mistake the region is heading toward still further rebellion and possible chaos. The Americans can use their devastating power to crush any and all in the short term; but the result down the road may well be still greater death, destruction, and heartache for themselves as well as everyone else. Even World War III could conceiveable emerge from this historic crucible of forces and pressures now spinning out of control in a political vortex drawing in the other great powers including Russia and China. 'Talking To The Enemy' -- including Iran and Hamas - will not be enough under all these convoluted circumstances. First this will have to be done in a serious and respectful way, not a duplicitous way which is the American reputation, and for good reasons. There will have to be actual significant policy changes by the American Empire or else -- especially when it comes to reversing Israeli apartheid and realigning American policies and interests in truly new ways, not just more rhetorical trickery and obfuscation and fronting for the Israelis who have their own very self-serving designs for the region. MiddleEast.Org

Exclusive: Direct Talks—U.S. Officials and Iraqi Insurgents

.Newsweek - Feb. 6, 2006 issue - American officials in Iraq are in face-to-face talks with high-level Iraqi Sunni insurgents, NEWSWEEK has learned. Americans are sitting down with "senior members of the leadership" of the Iraqi insurgency, according to Americans and Iraqis with knowledge of the talks (who did not want to be identified when discussing a sensitive and ongoing matter). The talks are taking place at U.S. military bases in Anbar province, as well as in Jordan and Syria. "Now we have won over the Sunni political leadership," says U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. "The next step is to win over the insurgents." The groups include Baathist cells and religious Islamic factions, as well as former Special Republican Guards and intelligence agents, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the talks. Iraq's insurgent groups are reaching back. "We want things from the U.S. side, stopping misconduct by U.S. forces, preventing Iranian intervention," said one prominent insurgent leader from a group called the Army of the Mujahedin, who refused to be named because of the delicacy of the discussions. "We can't achieve that without actual meetings."

U.S. intelligence officials have had back-door channels to insurgent groups for many months. The Dec. 15 elections brought many Sunnis to the polls and widened the split between Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's foreign jihadists and indigenous Sunni insurgents. This marks the first time either Americans or insurgents have admitted that "senior leaders" have met at the negotiating table for planning purposes. "Those who are coming to work with [the U.S.] or come to an understanding with [the U.S.], even if they worked with Al Qaeda in a tactical sense in the past—and I don't know that—they are willing to fight Al Qaeda now," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad who has close knowledge of the discussions. An assortment of some of Iraq's most prominent insurgent groups also recently formed a "council" whose purpose, in addition to publishing religious edicts and coordinating military actions, is to serve as a point of contact for the United States in the future. "The reason they want to unite is to have a public contact with the U.S. if they disagree," says the senior insurgent figure. "If negotiations between armed groups and Americans are not done, then no solutions will be found," says Issa al-Addai al-Mehamdi, a sheik from the prominent Duleimi tribe in Fallujah. "All I can say is that we support the idea of Americans talking with resistance groups."

They have much to discuss. For one, Americans and Iraqi insurgent groups share a common fear of undue Iranian influence in Iraq. "There is more concern about the domination by Iran of Iraq," says a senior Western diplomat, "and that combination of us being open to them and the dynamics of struggle for domination of violence has come together to get them to want to reach an understanding with us." Contacts between U.S. officials and insurgents have been criticized by Iraq's ruling Shiite leaders, many of whom have longstanding ties to Iran and are deeply resented by Sunnis. "We haven't given the green light to [talks] between the U.S. and insurgents," says Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi, of the Shiite party, called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

<>Negotiations are risky for everyone—not least because tensions between Al Qaeda and Iraq's so-called patriotic resistance is higher than ever. Two weeks ago, assassins killed Sheik Nassir Qarim al-Fahdawi, a prominent Anbar sheik described by other Sunnis as a chief negotiator for the insurgency. "He was killed for talking to the Americans," says Zedan al-Awad, another leading Anbar sheik. Al Qaeda, meanwhile, continues to gain territory in the Sunni heartland, according to al-Awad: "Let me tell you: Zarqawi is in total control of Anbar. The Americans control nothing." Many, on both sides, are hoping that talks could change that. —Scott Johnson, Rod Nordland and and Ranya Kadri http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11079548/site/newsweek/

Mid-East Realitieswww.middleeast.org

Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2006/1/1334.htm