Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maliki gains an unlikely and unforeseen ally

This is a bombshell if it pans out, and it leaves AQI exposed in western Iraq. But it is being reported that Prime Minister al-Maliki may have ended the insurgency in western Iraq by gaining an ally in Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri:

The leader of Iraq's banned Baath party, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has decided to join efforts by the Iraqi authorities to fight al-Qaeda, one of the party's former top officials, Abu Wisam al-Jashaami, told pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

"AlDouri has decided to sever ties with al-Qaeda and sign up to the programme of the national resistance, which includes routing Islamist terrorists and opening up dialogue with the Baghdad government and foreign forces," al-Jashaami said.

Al-Douri has decided to deal directly with US forces in Iraq, according to al-Jashaami. He figures in the 55-card deck of "most wanted" officials from the former Iraqi regime issued by the US government.

In return, for cooperating in the fight against al-Qaeda, al-Douri has asked for guarantees over his men's safety and for an end to Iraqi army attacks on his militias.

Recent weeks have seen a first step in this direction, when Baathist fighters cooperated with Iraqi government forces in hunting down al-Qaeda operatives in the volatile Diyala province and in several districts of the capital, Baghadad.

Although the Baath party was officially banned after US-led forces in 2003 toppled the regime of Iraq's late president Saddam Hussein, its members have fought in the insurgency.

Until just a few months ago, former Baath party members were helping Islamists carry out terrorist attacks against US forces in Iraq.

Al-Douri had already turned his back on AQI, but he was still carrying on the fight against us and the Iraqis forces. Al-Maliki's quick and decisive use of diplomacy to unite them with the government is a coup for him, and for the "failed" political progress the Left keeps hyping. If the process had failed so miserably, wouldn't it stand to reason that al-Douri and his Ba'athist militias would have turned their back on the offer. It stands to reason that they would, but it's evident that al-Maliki has cut a deal with them to bring them back into a more unified Iraq.

Given the fact that al-Douri had been working with AQI, and had been engaging them as much as he is engaging US and Iraqi forces, he can bring a great deal to the table that many would scoff at. He has working and actionable intelligence on AQI's efforts and likely locations right now. Obviously he won't be joining up with the Iraqi military, but his militia can lend a much needed hand in some areas that still have flare-ups of violence.

This also shows people that al-Maliki has dumped al-Sadr. Though he tried his best to protect al-Sadr and his Mahdi militia, when the surge began, he fled to Iran, leaving al-Maliki with the remnants of the Mahdis to deal with. They didn't stop attacking our forces, Iraqi forces, or the civilian populace. There are some key places where the Mahdis have dug in, and have basically free reign, but that is due to the Shia connections and sympathies in those areas. Michael Totten reported on this last week that the Mahdis do have a level of control in some areas due to a sympathetic public. It may be an uneasy truce of sorts, but it's working right now. The day will come when we meet them head-on, with the Iraqis and former insurgents on our side, but that time isn't now. We have bigger concerns with the Mahdis down in Basra, which isn't going to be a picnic.

HT: Captain Ed, in his new digs on the 'Sphere Check out the changes the Captain's made to his well-known site.

Publius II


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