Monday, October 23, 2006

Americans negotiating with insurgents

A potentially significant development in Iraq...Bush administration apparently negotiating with insurgents now.
AMERICAN officials held secret talks with leaders of the Iraqi insurgency last week after admitting that their two-month clampdown on violence in Baghdad had failed.

Few details of the discussions in the Jordanian capital Amman have emerged but an Iraqi source close to the negotiations said the participants had met for at least two days.

They included members of the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the main Sunni militias behind the insurgency, and American government representatives. The talks were described as “feeler” discussions. The US officials were exploring ways of persuading the Sunni groups to stop attacks on allied forces and to end a cycle of increasingly bloody sectarian clashes with members of the majority Shi’ite groups.

According to the source, the key demand of the Islamic Army was the release of American-held prisoners in allied jails.
So, Americans talk with Sunni insurgents and the Iraqi Prime Minister is apparently conducting "parallel" efforts with Moqtadr al-Sadr the Shiite cleric leader of the Mahdi army, the key Shiite insurgent force. Is this the departure from "stay the course" that we've been hearing about?