U.S. Presses for Amnesty for Insurgents

BY Herschel Smith
8 years ago

In Baathists Make Overture to U.S.: Now What?, we mentioned that Ibrahim al-Shimmari of the Islamic Army of Iraq made an offer, via Al-Jazeera television, to negotiate with the U.S.  Specifically, he said:

“We are prepared for any negotiations, whether secret or public, on the condition only that they are sincere. We have no objection to mediators with international credentials, and it is possible to exchange letters.?

The Islamic Army of Iraq is believed to be comprised primarily of elements of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party, former intelligence services, and former Army officers.  They have been involved in the killing of both civilians and U.S. troops, the troops deaths being primarily in the al Anbar province.

We pointed out that any amnesty deal will be painful and emotional, involving the pardoning of men who have killed our sons.  But we raised the question, “how many more sons will we lose” if we do not grant amnesty?

The suggestion of amnesty had earlier raised a firestorm in the U.S., and thus Maliki backed down from earlier calls for a deal.  But it appears that the U.S. administration is now not only on board, but in fact urging a deal.

The Bush administration is pressing the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki to issue a “broad” and “painful” amnesty for insurgents, despite intense opposition to the proposal from politicians both in Iraq and the US, according to a senior administration official.

Amid growing anxiety in Washington over Iraq’s escalating sectarian violence, the US is advocating more determined moves towards a national reconciliation with the Sunni community that dominates Iraq’s insurgency, as well as a tougher line on the Shia militias.

“You need the government to move forward with a programme – it should include an amnesty in a broad fashion, a comprehensive amnesty proposal,” said the senior US official, who asked not to be named.

The official was not explicit about the terms of the proposed amnesty, but he said “no successful amnesty is not painful or sweeping”, and that no distinction should be made between those who have attacked coalition troops and those who have killed Iraqis.

This is without question an attempt to quell the violence in al Anbar, and the hope appears to be that the tribes in al Anbar will root out al Qaeda (and other foreign elements), while a deal with the former Saddam loyalists will end the bloodshed associated with the insurgency.

But a deal will without doubt create many personal and emotional wounds with mothers and fathers of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines who have died in Iraq fighting the insurgency.  There are still difficult times ahead.  Either these emotional wounds are created – probably never to heal – or the fight continues, with an uncertain end.

In an interesting editorial sidebar that might be related to the expected success of a deal and failure of al Qaeda in Iraq, the U.S. has shown an interest in keeping the terrorists inside Iraq.  For what reason?  In order to prevent the export of terrorism to other parts of the globe.  The desire is to kill them inside Iraq.


You are currently reading "U.S. Presses for Amnesty for Insurgents", entry #344 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq and was published October 18th, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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