Iraqi Government Negotiations with Sunni Guerrillas
The US Government Open Source Center translates the following from al-Ra’y:
‘Iraqi Reconciliation Conference Postponed ‘To Allow For More Time for Dialogue’
Report by Faysal Malkawi in Amman: “Contacts Between US Officials and Armed Factions… …and the Postponement of the Reconciliation Conference. The Iraqi Government Meets Representatives of the Ba’th Party and the Armed Resistance in Amman. Calls for Reconsidering the Decision To Dissolve the Army and Canceling the Deba’thification.”
Al-Ra’y (Internet Version-WWW)
Tuesday, October 31, 2006 T10:36:04Z
It was announced in Amman yesterday that the Iraqi national reconciliation conference, which was scheduled to be held on 4 November 2006, has been postponed until after the middle of the same month. Falih al-Fayyad, a member of the Higher Committee for Iraqi Reconciliation, told Al-Ra’y that the postponement came to allow for more time for dialogue and consultation with the Iraqi political spectrum inside and outside Iraq. The postponement announcement came following talks the Reconciliation Committee delegation, which is supported by the Nuri al-Maliki government, held at the Iraqi Embassy in Amman with around 40 Iraqi political and tribal figures, all of whom are members of the Sunni opposition. Al-Ra’y has learned from Iraqi sources attending the talks that the committee delegation might during its stay in Amman meet Iraqi figures and leaders of Iraqi political movements living in Syria before completing its mission by meeting Iraqi figures of various political persuasions living in the UAE.
The sources also said that Iraqi Vice-President Adil Abd-al-Mahdi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih will visit Amman soon to meet senior Jordanian officials and leaders of Iraqi political, academic, and tribal forces living in Amman. The aim of the visit is to give further momentum to the dialogue, which aims at involving everyone in the ongoing political process in Iraq, especially the Sunni Arabs. One of the most important results of the Amman meetings is that many personalities and forces, after the dialogue sessions, expressed willingness to attend the upcoming reconciliation conference. This was unlikely before these dialogue sessions.
According to the information Al-Ra’y received, yesterday’s meeting witnessed an acerbic debate between a number of participants and the committee delegation. Some of the opposition representatives stressed that the problem of Iraq “comes from inside, specifically from officials in the Iraqi Government and Parliament.” They criticized the dissolution of the Iraqi Army, the practices of the now-defunct Civil Administration under Bremer, and the process of Deba’thification. These issues, as they said, contributed to inflaming the security situation in Iraq and leading it to what it is now.
At the end of yesterday’s meeting, Al-Fayyad said that the meetings aimed at “paving the way for the reconciliation conference and creating the appropriate climate for rendering it successful; the aim is not to make specific decisions now, but rather to discuss various issues in a frank and open manner without putting any restrictions on introducing any problems or issues to the agenda.”
He denied that the talks held over the past two days dealt with arranging a dialogue between the armed factions and the US forces occupying Iraq. He said: “These meetings are exclusively aimed at the Iraqi political forces.” He added that “the conferees agreed to adopt the working paper of the Iraqi tribes, which the government endorsed last month, as a basis for the dialogue and deliberations at the conference.”
The committee delegation was comprised of Falih al-Fayyad, Nasir Al-Anil, Deputy Yunadim Kanna, and Sa’d al-Matlabi, representative of the National Dialogue Ministry.
Iraqi Ambassador in Amman Sa’d al-Hayyani said that the Iraqi delegation met with Iraqi politicians representing various shades of the spectrum in the political process. He noted that the importance of the meetings in Amman stems from the fact that the members of the Iraqi community in Amman represent the elite of the Iraqi people in various fields. He added that the delegation will meet those with and against the government to urge them to participate in the political leadership conference, which is slated to be held in Baghdad in November. He admitted that there are contacts between US officials and Iraqi resistance factions in Amman; however, he stressed that the meetings held during the past two days at the Iraqi Embassy in Amman are not related to those contacts.
He explained that the Americans have their channels and tools for talks with whomever they want to talk to regarding the Iraqi situation. He noted that it is possible that “some of those who attended the meeting are from the armed resistance factions, moving under a political cover.” He said that the most important idea proposed during the meeting by the forces that are not involved in the political process is to “reconsider the army dissolution decision, to not ignore the highly professional generals, and to cancel the Deba’thification Law.”
At the same time, Hasan al-Bazzaz, secretary general of the Movement for the Iraqi National and Pan-Arab Forces, Huquq, which brings together Iraqi political and tribal figures, said that “most of the attendees are former Ba’thists and military leaders.” He stressed that “the Ba’thists represent a main element, whether in the opposition or inside Iraq.”
Dr Fawzi al-Juburi, representative of the national resistance, said that “it is the national resistance that represents Iraq, and talks should be exclusively held with it should there be a desire to overcome the tragic situation the country is going through as a result of the US occupation.”
Al-Juburi revealed that the Iraqi resistance factions met a UN delegation in meetings held in Amman last year to look for a solution to the crisis in Iraq.
(Description of Source: Amman Al-Ra’y (Internet Version-WWW) in Arabic — Jordanian daily of widest circulation, partially owned by government; URL: https://www.alrai.com/) ‘