Thursday, March 08, 2007

General Petraeus comments about Sunni insurgents

In his first news briefing, General Petraeus reveals some interesting tidbits about the Sunni insurgent groups. To quote AP writer Lauren Frayer from Baghdad, and General Petraeus's news conference "Last year, 11 Sunni insurgent groups working through mediators offered to immediately stop attacks on American-led forces in Iraq if the Shiite-led government and Washington set a two-year timetable for withdrawing all coalition forces from the country, according to insurgent and government officials."

She quotes the following from an Arab newspaper, "The Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported last year that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met seven times with insurgent representatives in late 2005 and early 2006. But the extremists broke off the contacts in April 2006 after the U.S. side failed to respond to a series of demands."

She also says, "One of Iraq's most expansive militias — the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — appears to have set aside its weapons under intense government pressure to lend support to the Baghdad security plan.

Mahdi militiamen also have allowed Iraqi authorities to try to protect at least 1 million pilgrims heading to Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad."

Folks, that was last year and now fits the timetable the Democrats are pushing for. Seems like everyone, including Sunni insurgents, are on the same timetable page except President Bush and VP Cheney and whatever Republican Senators they can arm twist to keep in line. Senator Chuck Hagel, again braving the White House scorn, has positioned the possibility for Republicans of the unthinkable- Impeaching President Bush, as he has lost his faith in this Commander in Chief, as many have. I never had any faith in the first place, so it is difficult to lose something you never had.

The good General has put before us the fact that we are going to have to deal and resolve issues with folks like Al-Sadr, as I said Nov. 26th in this post titled, "Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shiites in Iraq. Petraeus's comments tell me Al-Sadr is entering the political process more in a big way than before and he will be at the table as a force to reckon with. I have read somewhere that while he has gone to Iran as we are building up forces, he does not want Iranian control over the Iraqi's Shia population. We shall see.

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