Roger L. Simon

Endgame in Iraq?

I think that’s more than a little optimistic, but two articles (less than three hours old) linked one Power Line today make on wonder if the Baathist holdouts, at least, are reading the handwriting on the proverbial graffiti-filled wall.The first of these speaks of secret (read: back channel) negotiations with the Baathists. Of course the “devil” is, as always, in the details… and you’ll never guess who one of the devils is this time:

Controversial Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi said on Sunday the outcome of any negotiations between insurgents and the U.S. military would not be binding for a new Iraqi government.

“I know nothing about such negotiations. Those negotiations will in no way bind the elected government of Iraq,” he said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” “The issue here is not negotiating with the killers who are killing the Iraqi people.”

Interesting. I don’t know what to make of this, except that Baathists aren’t the only killers out there, not by a long shot. Meanwhile the second recent report has Sunni Tribal leaders having second thoughts about joining the government:

Gathering in a central Baghdad hotel, about 70 tribal leaders from the provinces of Baghdad, Kirkuk, Salaheddin, Diyala, Anbar and Nineveh, tried to devise a strategy for participation in a future government. There was an air of desperation in some quarters of the smoke-filled conference room.

“When we said that we are not going to take part, that didn’t mean that we are not going to take part in the political process. We have to take part in the political process and draft the new constitution,” said Adnan al-Duleimi, the head of Sunni Endowments in Baghdad.

I think this is more clearly good news. But the playing field remains as treacherous as can be. Still, you have to do something. Who was it who said you don’t make peace with your friends? Some deceased Israeli, as I recall.