Hogan's Alley

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

US Iraq Debate Has Impact On Negotiations With Sunnis

In case anyone believes that the ongoing debate over the timing of withdrawal of US forces from Iraq can be conducted without impacting events on the ground in Iraq, this piece in the Washington Post should prove instructive.

The military commanders who are trying to bring the Sunni into the political process are facing attitudes such as the following:

"The people of Fallujah love Cindy Sheehan," declared Farouk Abd-Muhammed, a candidate for National Assembly in Dec. 15 elections, referring to the mother of a slain Marine who became a U.S. antiwar activist. He spoke Tuesday at a pre-election meeting of local leaders in Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of the largest U.S. offensive of the war in November 2004.

Abd-Muhammed described watching recent television reports with his family showing Americans waving banners that read "Stop the war in Iraq."

"I salute the American people because we know after watching them on satellite that they are ready to leave," Abd-Muhammed said.

Granted that the occupation of Fallujah and most of Anbar province is offensive to the population, it is a dicey chicken and egg problem. How can the Army withdraw when withdrawal surely means the ascendancy of the former Bathists and the Islamist outsiders.

We live in a connected global village.