Maliki's Peace and Reconciliation Plan

Maybe, just maybe, this might work. We can hope.

Let’s hope a comprehensive peace treaty between the government and the insurgents is one of them.

It’s a very good sign that (a) so many different insurgent groups have been involved, and (b) so has the U.S. Embassy, meaning of course Khalilzad.

All I can say is, if the government and the insurgents can agree on a formula for our withdrawal, we’d be crazy not to sign on too.

Keep your fingers crossed, folks. There had been rumors at other times of serious meetings between the Iraqi government (as it was then) and the insurgents, but those rumored meetings were well over a year ago if they happened, so clearly nothing came of them. This is an opportunity Iraq can’t afford to let slip; another six months of ‘staying the course’ might find the country too enmeshed in conflict to pull back. Let’s hope this works out.

I’m not sure what the debate is, but there are still huge hurdles ahead. The past few days here have been very tense with lots of violence.

The real issue is going to be whether the government can disband the militias and clean out the ministries of their infiltrators. It looks like the militia issue is coming to some kind of peak this summer, and it is not at all clear that Iraqi forces are loyal to the state, rather than individual militias.

That doesn’t surprise me, on either score. That such negotiations are going on can’t be expected to make a diffference in what’s going on from one day to the next. And I wouldn’t want to put a bet down on this deal coming through, but maybe it’s got a chance.

As far as what the debate is, the forum description starts off, “For long-running discussions of the great questions of our time.” The Iraq war is one of the great issues of our time, this is part of the long-running discussion of it, and it seemed to be a significant enough development to rate a thread of its own, rather than be buried in (for example) Post 86 of the “Cut and Run” thread. Nobody’s being Pitted, it’s too substantive for IMHO, and it clearly doesn’t belong in any of the other fora. So GD is the place.

The militia issue is scary, and could easily wind up being the deal-breaker; people who have militias under their command rarely want to let go of the power that gives them. And I’m surprised you didn’t phrase it the other way around - by all accounts I’ve heard, it appears that militiamen whose primary loyalty is to their militias make up a significant chunk of the Iraqi security forces. But you’re on the ground there, and I’m just recalling what I’ve read in the papers over the past couple of years; you’ve surely got more insight into this than I do.

Key insurgents vow to reject Iraq peace plan

This is not promising, but it’s still early. Maybe they’ll change their minds after seeing all the details and thinking about their options for a while.

I agree. However, the “amnesty” part is going to be tough for many here to swallow. I assume it means amnesty only if they agree to certain terms to ensure they don’t continue fighting. I’d be against amnesty for terrorists (people who blew up civilians), but insurgents who fight only against either the US, the ISF, or any of the coalition uniformed military forces can at least be considered to be engaging in legitimate resistance. Had they been captured it would not be unusual to let them go once hositilities ceaseed, just as POWs are let go after a treaty is signed.

I’m afraid I disagree- if the amnesty includes terrorists, I’d have to reluctantly be in favour of it, since I think that stopping the violence is more important than the (admittedly important) task of punishing the guilty.

Take what happened in the Northern Ireland peace process as a part of the Good Friday Agreement and the various subsidiary agreements: hundreds of republican paramilitaries, some (maybe many) of whom had taken part in terrorist actions directed against civillians, were released from prison with a full amnesty. If they hadn’t been, the IRA would never have sat down at the bargaining table and violence in Northern Ireland would be continuing to this day.

I dunno. I might be convinced that the local Iraqi insurgents should be offered amnesty regardless of what they had been doing, but not the foreign jihadist fighters. Since the jihadists make up only a small fraction of the insurgency, I think the ISF could deal with them if they didn’t have to deal with the Iraqi insurgents as well.

If there were an IRA in Iraq (Iraqi Republican Army), that might be a good analogy. But there isn’t just one insurgency in Iraq-- there are many. I think by making a deal with the majority of the insurgents, and by restricting it to local Iraqis only, that a true “turning point” could be achieved. If the vast majority of the Sunni Arabs are brought into the political process, the foreign jihadists will not be able to operate because they won’t have enough local support.

I have to go with what Happy Clam says, John. Much as it causes revulsion in me to free people who blew up innocent civilians, it would still beat the hell out of continuing the downward spiral into civil war and chaos that Iraq seems to be on, if it’s both a necessary and (with whatever else is involved) sufficient condition for peace.

Anyway, it looks (from Squink’s link) that the government wasn’t negotiating with the people they really needed to be talking with, which doesn’t bode well, at least in and of itself:

However, the groups rejecting the offer have put forth conditions of their own, so at least there’s some sort of back-and-forth going here:

The major catch is, I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell that Bush and Cheney would agree to even allow U.S. diplomats to even sit down and talk with these guys, with or without the Iraqi government’s participation.


Why do you assume that there would be a downward spiral? If you can get the local insugents to stop fighting, that’s 90% of the fighters (by most estimates). Plus, as I said, you undermine the ability of the foreign jihadists to even maintain a presence in the country.

Well, I just watched Russ Feingold on Meet the Press strenously object to the amnesty idea, so if he’s not on board with that I don’t know who will be.

I’ve quoted this in another thread (The peace plan I mean) but seriously, no matter how strong we want peace, how the hell are we supposed to sit down and negotiate with insurgents who see the only way to achieve their goals is through violence?

*Representatives of 11 Iraqi insurgent groups told The Sunday Times yesterday that they would reject the peace offer because they did not recognise the legitimacy of the government.

A senior commander authorised to speak on behalf of other groups warned that they would continue to fight. “As long as there is an occupation and an illegitimate government, the resistance and insurgency will continue,” he said.*

I don’t think any amount of political bargaining will help the Maliki government in terms of ‘bringing in’ the insurgents, but what he can do is roll back completely the militia element, which would no doubt remove some of the legitimacy of Sunnis protecting their community from persecution.

And lastly, what Iraq needs is a Taif accord, not a Dayton agreement.

The insurgents might well ask the same question of us and the Iraqi govt.
Last I checked, there was a war going on. :stuck_out_tongue:

Those insurgents know that there was a place within the governing process if they wanted it, you can’t very much say the same with roles reversed can you? I’d rather see the maliki government concerntrate on rolling back the militias.

I’m sure Malaki is equally free to quit his government and join the insurgency.
Why does he so unreasonably persist in not doing so? I tell you, there’s just no negotiating with that man.

If the condition of a peace deal with the insurgents is that the amnesty is universal, then not meeting that condition doesn’t stop any fighting.

That’s a shame. A week or two ago, the GOP was getting all fired up in favor of an amnesty proposal by Maliki that would have granted amnesty to Iraqis who’d killed American soldiers. Not surprisingly, a bunch of Dems demagogued the issue, saying how awful it would be if we forgave Iraqis who’d killed our boys.

There’s a limit* to how much I can blame them, given how often the GOP has used this war as a partisan weapon, but their job is to see the bigger picture here. If the cost of peace in Iraq is to hand Bush and the GOP a political victory, well, so be it; there are more important things than getting your licks in.

*That’s a limit to how much I can blame them, not ‘I won’t blame them.’ I’ll still blame them, alright, just not as much as if Bush hadn’t been more or less running both the Iraq war and the GWoT for partisan political purposes for the past four and a half years.

They’ve said (quoting the story again) “that any future talks should be conducted with American officials under UN or Arab League supervision, but not with the Iraqi government.” I guess you’re claiming the insurgents want to talk with us just to shoot the shit over a beer or something.

With his magical “militia roller-backer” tool, only $39.95 this week at Lowe’s. :slight_smile:

Beggars can’t be choosers.

They want to show how powerless the Iraqi Government is in negotiating an end to the insurgency, hence wanting to go over their heads and talk to the Americans.


Mistook me once again, anyway, no that’s not what I meant, I said he could start on his proposals by rolling back the militias if the insurgents aren’t receptive to his proposals.

I don’t see anyone in Iraq wanting to split the country up, not at the moment anyway.

= violence?? Pardon me, but this makes as much sense as 3 + 5 = cow.

And he’d roll back the militias with his magical “militia roller-backer” tool, which turns out to be only $34.95 at Home Depot after $10 rebate.

Better get your eyes checked, son. The Kurds have their own freakin’ national flag, and the Shi’ites are figuring out how to turn most of SE Iraq into an autonomous region.

I know, I know: you’ll say the Kurds deserve to have their own separate country. Still won’t explain how come you didn’t even see them just now. :rolleyes:

It’s not universal.

Besides, I’m not suggesting that the terms should not be honored, I’m suggesting that the terms should be altered before they are finalized.

Besides, I don’t see how you can talk about the conditions that “the insurgents” have since there are so many different groups. Keep in ming that this is a negotiation process, and you don’t just automatically accept the first proposal from those you are negotiating with.

What Maliki has proposed isn’t universal.

My point exactly. So my question stands (with more precise phrasing): if insurgent groups that are big enough to make any peace deal moot, insist that the amnesty be universal or there’s no deal, do we agree to that if the rest of the deal is acceptable to us and the Iraqi government, and if it’s clear the insurgents in question are not going to budge on this condition?

I say yes: a peace that wrongly lets off the hook those who bombed civilians is better than the continued conflict that seems inevitable if we ‘stay the course.’

Depends. I’m not sure I would trust those leaders if they insisted that the foreign jihadists be given amnesty as well. Why on earth would they demand that? The government needs to be able to rid the country of those jihadists, and if granting them amnesty means they can’t do that, then I say no.