Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Steps Towards Reconciliation In Iraq

Within the past month, the NYT proclaimed Maliki's Basra offensive a disasterous, politically motivated act that had weakened his deeply sectarian government. The NYT proclaimed Sadr the victor. Sufice it to say, that narrative was exposed as a canard within days. Today, Basra is in Iraqi government control, Sadr is throwing an impotent tantrum from somewhere inside Iran, and Maliki has earned vast new respect as a national leader. And today, the NYT reports that members of Iraq's largest Sunni bloc are returning to Parliament, lured back by the willingness of Maliki to take on Sadr's militia and his amnesty to low-level Sunni prisoners.


This from the NYT:

Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc has agreed to return to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s cabinet after a boycott that lasted nearly a year, several Sunni leaders said on Thursday, citing a recently passed amnesty law and the Maliki government’s crackdown on Shiite militias as reasons for the move.

The Sunni leaders said they were still working out the details of their return, an indication that the deal could still fall through. But such a return would represent a major political victory for Mr. Maliki in the midst of a military operation that has at times been criticized as poorly planned and fraught with risk. The principal group his security forces have been confronting is the Mahdi Army, a powerful militia led by Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric. Even though Mr. Maliki’s American-backed offensive against elements of the Mahdi Army has frequently stalled and has led to bitter complaints of civilian casualties, the Sunni leaders said that the government had done enough to address their concerns that they had decided to end their boycott.

“Our conditions were very clear, and the government achieved some of them,” said Adnan al-Duleimi, the head of Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in the government. Mr. Duleimi said the achievements included “the general amnesty, chasing down the militias and disbanding them and curbing the outlaws.”

The recently passed amnesty law has already led to the release of many Sunni prisoners, encouraging Sunni parties that the government is serious about enforcing it. And the attacks on Shiite militias have apparently begun to assuage longstanding complaints that only Sunni groups blamed for the insurgency have been the targets of American and Iraqi security forces.

Exactly which ministries will be given to which Sunni politicians is still under negotiation, . . .

. . . The official government television channel, Iraqiya, appeared to confirm the deal, following a meeting between Mr. Maliki and David Miliband, the visiting foreign secretary of Britain. Iraqiya said the prime minister “said that reconciliation has proved a success and all political blocs will return to the government.” . . .

Read the entire article.

1 comment:

MK said...

"The NYT proclaimed Sadr the victor. Sufice it to say, that narrative was exposed as a canard within days."

Perhaps the NYT was stating what it was hoping would happen. That way they could chalk up another failure for Bush's war.