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June 26, 2005

Double-talk

Rumsfeld has now acknowledged that U.S. officials have met with Iraqi insurgents:

When asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the report of the two meetings, Rumsfeld said, “Oh, I would doubt it. I think there have probably been many more than that.”
Rumsfeld insisted the talks did not involve negotiations with Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but were rather facilitating efforts by the Shiite-led government to reach out to minority Sunni Arabs, who are believed to be the driving force behind the insurgency.
“We see the government of Iraq is sovereign. They’re the ones that are reaching out to the people who are not supporting the government,” Rumsfeld said from Washington.

I’m confused. If the Iraqi government is sovereign and “the ones that are reaching out to the people who are not supporting the government,” then who is the U.S. talking to? Because the argument that the U.S. is “facilitating efforts” doesn’t make sense if they aren’t talking to the same people—or to the leaders of the insurgency. And other reports also suggest that the U.S. is going solo. From the same AP story:

A senior U.S. official said earlier this month that American authorities have negotiated with key Sunni leaders, who are in turn talking with insurgents and trying to persuade them to lay down their arms. The official, who did not give his name so as not to undercut the new government’s authority, did not name the Sunni leaders.

If the U.S. is in lockstep with the Iraqi government, why the need for anonymity? And if it isn’t, given this administration’s record in Iraq, isn’t there a good chance that all this will just make things worse?

Posted by Stephen at 4:41 PM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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