Friday, November 28, 2008

A threatening scenario

Meanwhile, Arab writers point out that there is instability in the four-party governing coalition (two Kurdish, two Shiite) following ratification of the security agreement with the US, just as there was before, Maliki able to continue relying on his American henchmen, just as before.

Nor is there any immediate wager on what happens by or to the armed resistance. But there is this:

According to a document that Malaf Press attributes to a think-tank owned by the Islamic Party of Iraq (an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood), that party is getting ready to try and negotiate a deal with the Americans to set up, and give them control over, a "Sunni district" in western Iraq, to be patrolled by an IPI militia aiming to "weaken the resistance" and in particular to wipe out the Baathists that are being supported by Syria, and other undesirables, including AQ. The document refers to this as an attempt to gain a foothold for a "liberal Islam" in the country, something that they would be selling to the Americans as a reason they should be supported in this. Moreover, the document says the IPI base should be persuaded of the necessity for good relations with Israel, and the establishment of an Israeli embassy in Baghdad.

You get the picture. This is either a very unusual written confession of collaboration with the foreign occupier by a party that publicly holds the opposite positions: No sectarian federalism; unity of all trends in and out of the political process; looking forward to the exit of the Americans, not to working with them. Or what is obviously very much more likely, this is a Portrait of the Collaborationist Party drawn up by the resistance in order to flush out this collaborationist movement (assuming it exists somewhere in the IPI). The trigger for this, no doubt, was the fact that the IPI voted with the Maliki coalition for the US security agreement.

There is no way of telling whether the scheme outlined in this possibly bogus document actually represents a scheme or more generally an ambition on the part of anyone in the IPI or elsewhere to promote the idea of such a Sunni region in the western part of Iraq. The only recent echo of such a thing was in the recent op-ed by Haroun Mohammed, in which he said some Sunni groups had been approached by people on the Obama side of things (this was pre-US-elections) with the idea, among other things, of reworking the whole political process since Bremer, and setting up a new national army using somewhere in the west as a base.

If there is any scrap of merit in either story, then what it means is that some Sunni groups have gotten a whiff of American willingness to travel down the road of a Biden-plan style partition of the country. And if there isn't any merit in either story, what it means is that some in the resistance are prepared to use that threatening scenario as a talking point for mobilizing against collaborationists in the IPI and elsewhere.

I confidently predict: The suits in Washington will have nothing to say about this. They of course know nothing about this, never heard of it ...

(Another hattip to the all-seeing LB at RoadstoIraq for noting the MalafPress item).


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