View Full Version : U.S. in Talks For Months With Iraqi Insurgents

12-10-2006, 11:05 AM
10 December Washington Times - U.S. in Talks For Months With Iraqi Insurgents (http://www.washtimes.com/world/20061209-113907-9550r.htm) by David Enders.

Even before the Iraq Study Group released its report last week, Iraq's leaders had reversed their opposition to regional and international conferences to discuss ways to stem the violence.

U.S. officials declined to comment, but Arab politicians and officials said representatives of the United States and of Iraqi insurgents have met here in recent months.

Iraq's ambassador to Jordan, Saad al-Hayani, confirmed that the meetings had taken place at his embassy and that a pair of U.S. senators had been among those present for some of the talks.

"The role of the ambassador is to get in touch with all sides. Two large meetings have happened here in the embassy," Mr. al-Hayani said. "The meetings were successful and necessary and beneficial."

Mr. al-Hayani said U.S. officials also have met with representatives of the Sunni-led insurgency in Baghdad and Cyprus.

The Iraq Study Group recommended reintegrating qualified members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, who are thought to form the backbone of the insurgency, into the Iraqi government. Mr. al-Hayani said he hopes militants can be persuaded to take part in the political process but that insurgent demands of a U.S. withdrawal and the dismissal of the current Iraqi government provided little common ground for negotiation...

10 December London Times - Secret American Talks With Insurgents Break Down (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2496369,00.html) by Hala Jaber.

Secret talks in which senior American officials came face-to-face with some of their most bitter enemies in the Iraqi insurgency broke down after two months of meetings, rebel commanders have disclosed.

The meetings, hosted by Iyad Allawi, Iraq’s former prime minister, brought insurgent commanders and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, together for the first time.

After months of delicate negotiations Allawi, a former Ba’athist and a secular Shi’ite, persuaded three rebel leaders to travel to his villa in Amman, the Jordanian capital, to see Khalilzad in January.

“The meetings came about after persistent requests from the Americans. It wasn’t because they loved us but because they didn’t have a choice,” said a rebel leader who took part.

Last week the long-awaited report of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, a former congressman, called for America to seek to engage with all parties in Iraq, with the exception of Al-Qaeda.

However, the insurgents’ account of the hushed-up meetings reveals that concerted attempts to engage them in negotiations had already failed earlier this year.

Hopes were high when the insurgent leaders greeted Khalilzad in Amman. The Iraqis had just held their first democratic elections for a permanent government and the US ambassador hoped to broker an enduring political settlement.

Feelers had been put out to Iraqi insurgents before but not at such a high level. “The Americans had been flirting with such meetings for a while, but they needed to sit down with people who carried more weight in the insurgency,” said one leader of the National Islamic Resistance, an umbrella organisation representing some of the main insurgent groups...