Iraq Insurgent Groups Offer Cease-Fire

The insurgents are offering to stop shooting at us if we cut and run.

Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have offered to halt attacks on the U.S.-led military if the Iraqi government and President Bush set a two-year timetable for withdrawing all foreign troops from the country, insurgent and government officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The demand is part of a broad offer from the groups, who operate north of Baghdad in the heavily Sunni Arab provinces of Salahuddin and Diyala. Although much of the fighting has been to the west, those provinces have become increasingly violent and the attacks there have regularly crippled oil and commerce routes.

The groups do not include the powerful Islamic Army in Iraq, Muhammad Army and the Mujahedeen Shura Council, the umbrella label for eight militant groups including al-Qaida in Iraq. But the new offer comes at a time when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government is reaching out to militant Sunnis, including a new amnesty plan for insurgent fighters.

Whether this will amount to anything remains to be seen. Certainly, it’s a potential step in the right direction.

I do find it amusing, however, that the insurgents are offering a deal that looks remarkably like what the Democrats in Congress are proposing we do unilaterally. One’s spin on that fact will no doubt depend on one’s partisan allegiance and/or position on the war.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    It will be interesting if the Iraqi government accepts it and we don’t (assuming the former could happen in the face of the latter).

  2. Ugh,

    Since Bush has already stated that we would respect the wishes of the Iraqi government on withdrawal, I doubt it would be a big issue.

    On the other hand, what does it tell you about the state of the insurgency when they are coming to the bargaining table and making open “first demand” negotiating positions? Doesn’t strike me as the insurgency thinking they hold the winning cards.