Rumsfeld: U.S. Met With Iraq Insurgents

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed the Sunday Times report that U.S. officials have met with insurgent leadres, but issued some important clarifications. He also stated that the U.S. might be in Iraq “for years” — even “a decade.”

Rumsfeld: U.S. Met With Iraq Insurgents (AP)

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged Sunday that U.S. officials have met with insurgents in Iraq, after a British newspaper reported that two such meetings took place recently at a villa north of Baghdad. Insurgent commanders “apparently came face to face” with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, The Sunday Times reported.

When asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the report of the two meetings, Rumsfeld said, “Oh, I would doubt it. I think there have probably been many more than that.” But he insisted the talks did not involve negotiations with Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but were rather facilitating efforts by the Shiite-led government to reach out to minority Sunni Arabs, who are believed to be the driving force behind the insurgency.

“We see the government of Iraq is sovereign. They’re the ones that are reaching out to the people who are not supporting the government,” Rumsfeld said on “Meet the Press.” “They’re not going to try to bring in the people with blood on their hands, for sure, but they’re certainly reaching out continuously, and we help to facilitate those from time to time.”

U.S., Iraqi officials say insurgent talks going on (Reuters)

U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Sunday they were talking to tribal leaders, clerics and some groups linked to the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of attempts to draw more parties into Iraq’s political process. The officials said the talks, which have been going on for months, were part of broader efforts to build contacts with all quarters of Iraqi society, and described them as nothing new.

“Meetings take place all the time,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in Washington. Rumsfeld compared it to contacts in Afghanistan between the U.S.-backed government there and elements in the Taliban to invite them into government to stop bloodshed.

Well, that’s a little more encouraging.

Previous: Report: U.S. Secretly Met With Insurgents

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
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. Anderson says:

    Negotiating with insurgents! Just the kind of pansy-ass stuff we expected from Kerry’s being elected president! Oh, wait …

  2. mike k says:

    I say whatever it takes for the violence to stop now and let the Iraqis get on their feet – then they can hunt them down and hang them later – as long as they do hang them later.

  3. Jim Henley says:

    This is very, very, very, very smart. It’s a relief to know the Administration has that much brains. If you can hive off one set of your enemies from the worse set of your enemies, you jump at the chance.

  4. RiverRat says:

    I must say the bloviating upholders of leftist truth and justice on this blog are a much more virulent form of gas-filled colonic polyp than is evident elsewhere. It might be appropriate for management to send them slithering back to the overheated and fecund fecal matter of the penumbra at Delusional Underground from which they appear to have emanated.

  5. Anderson says:

    RiverRat, are we any more delusional that Dick “Greet Us with Flowers” Cheney?

  6. Joe Smoe :American Citizen says:

    That is pretty extensive vocabulary for a toothless, Mullet wearing Red State Hick. I bet he got all those fancy two bit words from watching all that informative stuff on the FOX NEWS CHANNEL or was that from the last Bush speech. Either way make sure you tune in for the next speech to see what new reason our Fearless Leader gives for going to Iraq. Maybe he’ll even give us a real delusional line like ” The insurgency is in its last throes”