Updated: 5/16/2006; 3:31:50 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sunnis offer an exit plan: "Largely unnoticed amid the U.S. political debate, al-Rawi and other Sunni leaders close to the insurgency have reached tacit consensus over the broad outline of an interim program to reduce the violence, stabilize the country and thus enable the U.S.-led coalition troops to begin a gradual withdrawal. While differences remain on some points, there is wide agreement on these steps:

-- A troop pullout from most urban areas and an end to military checkpoints and raids. "The Americans and British must leave all residential areas," said al-Rawi. ..

-- Overhaul of the Iraqi Army and National Guard... Sunni Arabs point out that these two institutions are almost completely composed of members of their ethnic enemies -- the Kurdish peshmerga and the Shiite militias. "These people want to humiliate the Sunni," al-Hashimi said. "The Army and National Guard must be professionalized. They cannot be dominated by members of the party militias."  ..

-- Release of prisoners. The number of Iraqi prisoners in American military custody has grown rapidly in recent months, with as many as 15,000 Iraqis behind bars, according to U.S. estimates. Military officials have admitted that many of the prisoners have simply been swept up in neighborhood roundups. Because there is no formal trial process, the process of vetting prisoners and releasing those found innocent is very slow. Military officials have reportedly expressed worry that the sprawling prison camps are serving as recruiting camps for al Qaeda and the most extremist insurgent groups.  .. Nadhmi and other Iraqis interviewed for this article said they did not advocate release of Saddam Hussein or others accused of involvement in killings and torture. ..

-- Negotiations with the "resistance." Sunni leaders have frequently met with U.S. officials in Baghdad to try to coax them to talk with the guerrillas. They draw a line between what they call the "resistance," by which they mean Iraqi fighters who attack only U.S. and Iraqi troops, and the Sunni extremists linked to al Qaeda who have spread terror with car bombs and suicide attacks against Shiite civilians. A big problem, however, is figuring out which insurgent groups to approach. The Sunni Arab leaders consulted for this article estimated the number of insurgent organizations as ranging from 12 to 35 -- not including foreign groups. ..

"We realize that it will take a long time for the Americans to leave. We cannot say six months or 12 months, because we may have to change the plan when the situation changes. If the Americans start taking real steps, if the Iraqi people feel that they will no longer be occupied, they will say with one voice to the terrorists, 'Please leave us.' And they will go," he said.

"But in this situation now, when the troops are even in our universities, our mosques, our houses, it is impossible." "

  1:02:16 PM  permalink  

How to exit Iraq:  Juan Cole's 10-point plan.  12:53:02 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 3:31:50 PM.