Monday, February 21, 2005

US meeting with insurgents

Time magazine is reporting that there have been meetings between Baathist insurgents and the US military in Iraq.
In that guarded pledge may lie the first sign that after nearly two years of fighting, parts of the insurgency in Iraq are prepared to talk and move toward putting away their arms--and the U.S. is willing to listen. An account of the secret meeting between the senior insurgent negotiator and the U.S. military officials was provided to TIME by the insurgent negotiator. He says two such meetings have taken place. While U.S. officials would not confirm the details of any specific meetings, sources in Washington told TIME that for the first time the U.S. is in direct contact with members of the Sunni insurgency, including former members of Saddam's Baathist regime.

It's difficult to know what has prompted the move by the Baathists to negociate - perhaps their losses are too great, perhaps they are tiring of being on the run, perhaps they have now recognised that with a democratic government in place their claim to be fighting an occupier ring hollow. But if they back down and sue for peace then it is possible to foresee better security and improving economic conditions feeding back on each other and undermining the jihadis. It could be the beginning of the end.

Via USS Neverdock