The IRAQI peace deal v. the US congressional debate
Is it just me, or is potentially one of the more striking (and potentially positive) developments from Iraq in while? The 28 point package, developed by the Iraqi government, is aimed at including the Sunni insurgency in the political processes and isolating them from the international fighters.
The government concessions offered in return for insurgent amnesty are actually quite extensive, and I think are a pretty clear indication of how desperate the situation really is. For example:
The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces.
It will pledge to take action against Shia militias and death squads. It will also offer to review the process of “de-Baathification” and financial compensation for the thousands of Sunnis who were purged from senior jobs in the Armed Forces and Civil Service after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
OK. Does this not run almost completely contrary to US policy over the past 2 years? Are they not suggesting a reversal of the majority of US policies and tactics in Iraq? Are they not making the distinction between different types of terrorists, a distinction this administraton is absolutist against?
It certainly appears so. Even more poignant is the call for a timeline for withdrawal, from all involved in the negotiations, including Khalilzad, the US Ambassador. On timelines, the document states:
We must agree on a timed schedule to pull out the troops from Iraq, while at the same time building up the Iraqi forces that will guarantee Iraqi security and this must be supported by a United Nations Security Council decision.
This is in marked contrast to the current debate in the US congress, where any discussion of timelines is ridiculed by the right, and by the administration. The disconnect between the US domestic debate, and the negotiations IN IRAQ could not be more poignant. One has to wonder if the former, in an election year, will limit the success of the latter? Will the administration agree to a deal that goes against the bulk of its Iraq policy, makes a deal with elements of an insurgency it has refused to nuance, and sets a firm timeline for complete withdrawal (including the 12 permanent military bases), all of this in an election year? The thing is, they may not have a choice.