BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 6 - American officials are talking with local Iraqi insurgent leaders to exploit a rift that has opened between homegrown insurgents and radical groups like Al Qaeda, and to draw the local leaders into the political process, according to a Western diplomat, an Iraqi political leader and an Iraqi insurgent leader.
Clashes between Iraqi groups and Al Qaeda have broken out in several cities across the Sunni Triangle, including Taji, Yusefiya, Qaim and Ramadi, and they appear to have intensified in recent months, according to interviews with insurgents and with American and Iraqi officials.
In an interview on Friday, a Western diplomat who supports the talks said that the Americans had opened face-to-face discussions with insurgents in the field, and that they were communicating with senior insurgent leaders through intermediaries.
The diplomat said the goal was to take advantage of rifts in the insurgency, particularly between local groups, whose main goal is to expel American forces, and the more radical groups, like Al Qaeda, which have alienated many Iraqis by the mass killing of Iraqi civilians.
The talks, which the diplomat said were taking place "inside and outside Iraq," began in the fall, around the time of the referendum on the new Iraqi constitution on Oct. 15. American officials had made contact with insurgent groups before, but the diplomat described the new engagement as much more significant.
I've always said the "ties between the Baathists and al Qaeda" ran right through Washington.
And it seems the "price of peace" for a stable Iraq just could be, well, you know, helping some Baathists back to power like it was in the days of Saddam Hussein.
So the Bush regime created a whole bunch of terrorists, spawned an insurgency, and then uses the Baathists they tried to overthrow to get the terrorists they spawned.
And why are the people of Iraq and the Middle East supposed to greet us with flowers again?
The cynic in my is to say this is the outcome they wanted all along; as Tom Hayden pointed out:
Far from planting democracy, US policy is squelching what little democracy there is, threatening to dismember Iraq, causing a civil war that will be the pretext for US troops to remain, and re-arranging the Middle East to include a de facto Shiite alliance from Teheran to Basra. That's why Bush can find no "noble purpose". It is about a war for dominance, not democracy.
Looks like everything's going according to plan...