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Thread: US reaches out to Iraq insurgents after bloody month

  1. #1
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default US reaches out to Iraq insurgents after bloody month

    US reaches out to insurgents after bloody month - AFP, 31 May.

    The operational commander of US troops in
    Iraq on Thursday said officers are seeking local ceasefire deals with insurgents, after the deadliest month for American forces in two-and-a-half years.

    Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the number two US officer in Iraq, told reporters that about four-fifths of the militants currently fighting American forces were thought to be ready to join Iraq's political process.

    "So we want to reach back to them," he said. "And we're talking about ceasefires and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces."

    As Odierno was speaking to reporters by a videolink to the
    Pentagon in Washington, residents in west Baghdad reported that insurgents from the nationalist 1920 Brigades were fighting their former Al-Qaeda allies.

    US commanders hope to convince local Iraqi resistance groups to split from Islamist outfits like Al-Qaeda that are thought irreconcilable. In the western province of Anbar, tribal leaders have already turned on insurgents.

    "It's happening in small levels. Now, again, it's just beginning, so we have a lot of work to do in this," said Odierno, noting that Shiite groups such as the Mahdi Army might be won over along with Sunni insurgents.

    "We have organised ourselves to be more aggressive in this area. We believe a large majority of groups within Iraq are reconcilable, and are now interested in engaging with us," the general said ...

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    U.S. trying to open dialogue with al-Sadr, commander says - McClatchy, 31 May.

    The U.S. military is seeking talks with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directly and through the government of Iraq, according to a top American general.



    A Sadr aide confirmed that U.S. officials had approached the anti-American cleric's supporters but said that Sadr would never begin a dialogue with what they describe as "occupation forces."


    "He has a grass-roots movement that he's always going to have; we have to recognize that," Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, told McClatchy Newspapers in an interview this week. "We're trying to talk to him. We want to talk to him."


    In a video conference from Baghdad on Thursday, Odierno also said the U.S. was reaching out to Sunni Muslims as well as Shiite armed factions such as Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.


    "We are talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces," he said Thursday.


    At the same time, however, U.S. and British forces have stepped up operations against the Mahdi Army in the sprawling Shiite slum of Sadr City in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra.


    Odierno told McClatchy that he wasn't sure whether Sadr's resurfacing in the Shiite holy city of Kufa last week was a good or bad thing for American forces in Iraq. While the cleric was away, his organization became more fractionalized, and part of the reason for his return, Odierno said, was "the consolidation of his powers." This could mean cleaning up rogue elements of the Mahdi Army, he said.

    "I'm mixed; I'm not sure yet," Odierno said referring to the effect of Sadr's return on security. "I'll take a wait-and-see attitude..."

  3. #3
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    I would be more hopful about our ability to talk our way out, if I really believed we had a more realistic grasp of our situation. I fear that those in power think they can talk their way into a stable united Iraq that is a US ally and I just donít think our hand is strong enough for that. It is usual not possible to negotiate a win from a loss, but it possible to not lose badly.

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