Al-Hayat on US contacts with AMS
Chalabi Favors Timeline for US Withdrawal
Gilbert Achcar writes:
Quite interesting excerpts from an article written from Baghdad by Basil Muhammad in today’s Al-Hayat, reporting on an interview he made with Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi, a prominent leading member of the (Sunni) Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), the most respected Sunni group vocal against the occupation.
‘ …On the dialogue with the Americans, he said that the contacts that the AMS had with them were “interrupted,” explaining that “the previous dialogue between the two parties was very obscure and we don’t know whether it was a tactial dialogue or a strategic one.” He added that “the dialogue that we hear of between the dissolved Baath party and the Americans seems different.” He also added that “the ground on which the AMS stands in any dialogue is patriotic whereas the Baathists have different choices, including their return to power; the AMS doesn’t want any power, but seeks a specific goal that is the withdrawal of occupation forces.”…
He described the meeting held recently by Iraqi Vice-Prime Minister Ahmad al-Chalabi with the leadership of the AMS as “a step toward the dialogue with al-Jaafari’s Government.” He said also that “al-Chalabi agrees with our position calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops… We told him that we won’t join the political process as long as State terror is carried on in al-Qa’im, al-Anbar and Baghdad districts.”
He maintained that “the patriotic camp calling for the withdrawal of occupation forces and for quickly establishing a timetable for their withdrawal has become larger than anytime before.”
Al-Hayat has learned from other sources that there is a current within the Government holding a position in favor of a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.
This current, of which al-Chalabi is a prominent member, has accused American parties of refusing the idea of concluding an agreement on the status of foreign troops, and of wanting to preserve the current status quo. ‘