Correspondent Yussef Al Mashaqba of Al Arab Al Yaum has reported that a key source in the Iraqi resistance told him that representatives of the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI RealVideo) had met in Amman recently with representatives of the American Administration in preparation for a second wider-ranging meeting with the IAI and other factions. The "real negotiations" with the American occupation would then begin.
This expression is completely accurate. The talks are not real. It is all part of the Bush Administration's public relations campaign for the Nov. 7 Congressional elections. This campaign has in fact improved the status if the American President, and has boosted the Republican Party from 34 to 38 percent on the key issue in the American political debate – the Iraq War.
We would have wished that the IAI not grant Bush Jr.'s administration this free electoral gift. But since that's already happened, let us look to the future.
First: If the Democrats dominate Congress after the Nov. 7 elections, the Bush Jr. administration will be politically paralyzed. But it goes without saying that any drastic change in America's Iraq strategy will require an understanding between the two major parties. It is therefore no use entering "real negotiations" with White House representatives until the Americans come to an agreement on a new vision regarding Iraq. Or are we just marking time until the 2008 Presidential Elections?
Second: If Republicans retain control of Congress, most likely there will be no serious change in America's Iraq strategy. Bush Jr. will continue his criminal war by any means. In particular, he will seek to promote what he calls "the political process," based on ethnic and religious divisions, the result of which would be the practical, and even constitutional, partitioning of Iraq. Then the "real negotiations" with Iraq's Sunni resistance factions - with the result dictated in advance: the merging of these factions into the government's sectarian administration and to coordinate with them on managing the Sunni canton (the new Sunnis region), its "borders," "interests," "its share of Iraqi oil revenue" and its "role in facing up to Iran." It is obvious that the allocation or partitioning are part of America's long-term occupation plans, or at best, to ensure American influence is backed by permanent military bases in Iraq.
Third: I know that the majority of Iraqi resistance groups will insist in any negotiations - on complete American withdrawal, the unity of Iraq and the absolute refusal of partitioning. But the context of the negotiations will be determined by the actual situation of the Iraqi negotiator.
Unfortunately, the Iraqi negotiator in this case is doomed - because he represents only one faction in the Iraqi equation. In the end he can only negotiate on his "share" or "canton." He can't negotiate on behalf of the whole of Iraq even if he wanted to or insisted on doing so.
In spite of this let us consider all the possibilities: If the Iraqi Resistance makes the best possible deal for part of "the Sunni share" or "the Sunni canton," then that means it will include itself in the ongoing project for allocating resources and partitioning the country. And if the Americans approve of having the Resistance represent all of Iraqi society, then in the best case scenario, sectarian power will impose itself on all of Iraqi society - in alliance with the Americans and certainly against Iran. This is a process specifically designed to ignite a new regional war. Is this what the Iraqi resistance took up arms for? Is this the result of all of its heroism and sacrifice?
The third possibility is "negotiations for the sake of negotiations" – according to the method of the Palestinians – with insurgency groups split between those that accept the American offers and those that refuse them, as the internal strife and fighting continues. We know the rest of the scenario.
One more time we say to our beloved brothers in the Iraqi resistance: Negotiations with the enemy is not forbidden, but should first be preceded by Iraqi-Iraqi talks, and the reaching of a national Iraqi alternative to the sectarian "political process." This can only be done by building a united front representing Iraqis from all regions and factions, which could negotiate in the name of Iraq and legitimately raise the demands of the Iraqi nation.
I will conclude with a simple question which had me at a loss: If you are ready to meet the Americans then what prevents you from meeting with other Iraqis who are opposed to the occupation, be they Shiite, secular, Islamic, nationalist or leftist?
These are the meetings that would lead to genuine negotiations with enemy, and which would determine the conditions of his defeat.