The Iraqis step up—as has been asked for by many US legislators and pundits--and offer a peace deal to their countrymen who are Sunni insurgents.
THE Iraqi Government will announce a sweeping peace plan as early as Sunday in a last-ditch effort to end the Sunni insurgency that has taken the country to the brink of civil war.
The 28-point package for national reconciliation will offer Iraqi resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms…”
Additionally, the Iraqi government is willing to guarantee a timeline for the withdrawal of Coalition troops.
The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces. [SNIP]
It builds on months of secret talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the Iraqi President, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.
Following onto the defeat of US legislation which spelled out the same for the withdrawal of US troops from the country, this offer may seem to be just as futile. However, with the Iraqi government itself offering an amnesty for those who have killed both Coalition forces and Iraqis, the offer contains far more legitimacy than does some governmental decision from far away.
The only problem—and it’s a big problem—is this: will the insurgents hold to their agreement with the Iraqi government once the various Coalition troops have high-tailed it for home? Can the majority Shi'ia government of Iraq trust their Sunni fellows to want to coexist in peace and to not seek vengeance for all of the death and terror that has come between the two groups for hundreds of years?
Since the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom in its various guises, there have been all too many reports of hundreds of Iraqis being found recently murdered—tortured and beheaded—in various locations in Iraq, along with Iraqi politicians and members of their families falling to snipers. However, as noted in the Times of London article, the idea of amnesty has been in the works for some time. But what spurred the Iraqi government into making this offer public? I suspect that four incidents did so.
1. The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi at the hands of the US military.
2. Last week’s visit to Iraq from President Bush.
3. The kidnapping and horrific deaths (at the hands of terrorists) of PFC Kristian Menchaca and PFC Thomas Tucker (both US Army; may the Lord Jesus Christ rest their souls and bring comfort to their families).
4. The above-mentioned US legislation attempting to cut short the deployment of US forces in Iraq.
The idea of of amnesty for rebels against a government isn’t unprecedented. A source to the article--an unnamed US official--points out the following:
"This is what we did after the Second World War, after the Civil War, after the War of Independence. It may be unpalatable and unsavoury but it is how wars end.”The Iraqi government is rolling the di—betting on the desire for national, sectarian and tribal survival for all. Will the gamble pay off? Only time will tell.
(Thanks to Richard Fernandez)