Friday, February 16, 2007

Insurgents Want to be Parliamentarians

My comments are in red:

Key Sunni official urges participation

Associated Press

Sunni insurgents who are "honorable and genuine" must be given the chance to join the political process, Iraq's Sunni vice president said in an interview published Friday.

Tariq al-Hashemi told the Arabic language daily Al-Hayat that U.S. and Iraqi representatives must negotiate "with the participation of the resistance" after "America has failed to run the country."

Furthermore, al-Hashemi said "the honorable national resistance" must adopt "a new ideology to manage the crisis." [How about stopping the people who plant bombs at universities and markets in Baghdad?  That might actually put an end to the crisis. ]

Al-Hashemi, leader of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, has in recent months criticized Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over his alleged reluctance to move against Shiite militias linked to sectarian killings.

Shiite leaders have recoiled at the use of the word "resistance" to describe Sunni insurgents - especially those who attack U.S. and coalition troops rather than Iraqi civilians.

Shiite politicians, including al-Maliki, refer to Sunni insurgents as "terrorists," "Saddamists" or "Takfiris" - religious extremists who consider Shiites to be infidels.

"The honorable and genuine resistance has paid a price to safeguard the dignity of Iraq and its unity [all I got to say about that is WOW] through three years and must be given an appropriate chance to participate in the political process," al-Hashemi told Al-Hayat.

He also criticized the militant Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars [a good start], accusing it of meddling in politics and rejecting the notion it represents Iraq's Sunni Arabs. Many Association figures are believed closely linked to insurgents.

His criticism drew a sharp response from the association's spokesman, Sheik Mohammed Bashar al-Fayadh, who told Al-Arabiyah television that al-Hashemi's comments amounted to an attempt to separate religion from politics. "This is a secularist ideology, not Islamic," he said [he admits to the stupidity of the association he speaks for].

The vice president accused al-Maliki of squandering the opportunity early in his administration to deal with the Shiite militias [it would have been good if Sunni insurgents had not attacked and mass murdered innocent Shia and Iraqi security forces before Maliki arrived on the scene]. The U.S. has been pressing al-Maliki to crack down on Shiite gunmen, especially the Mahdi Army of his political ally, Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Hashemi said that recently, the prime minister "realized the danger to the law posed by the militias, but his move against them is late again." [When an Iraqi Sunni Arab politician is speaking to the Sunni Arab world, he must express his dissatisfaction with the Iraqi government.]

He said al-Sadr's militia had hidden their weapons and their key leaders slipped out of Iraq to avoid the recently launched crackdown in Baghdad.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have said al-Sadr recently went to Iran, although the cleric's aides deny he has left the country.

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