Iraqi Prime Minister advocates 'cutting and running'

Well, that isn't exactly how Newsweek is reporting the latest coming out of Iraq. In the article Maliki's Master Plan Newsweek article we learn that
A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq. Amnesty for all insurgents who attacked U.S. and Iraqi military targets. Release of all security detainees from U.S. and Iraqi prisons. Compensation for victims of coalition military operations.

I can't wait to see the same Republicans that accused the Democrats in the house and senate of supporting a policy that requires the US to "cut and run." Will the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki be accused of advocating a policy of "cutting and running" like the Democrats?

The Democrats might just have a chance to parlay these recent developments to the advantage in the larger content of the Iraq war debate, such as it is. It can't bode well for Bush and the Republicans to argue that the Democrats want to "cut and run" when they are proposing amendments that are supported in part by the Prime Minister of Iraq, whom Bush recently praised.

The Prime Minister's plan makes distinctions between the Iraqi insurgents and the al Qaeda terrorists (a distinction that the Republicna party has sought to obliterate).
Maliki has made reconciliation and control of party militias the main emphasis of his new government. This plan follows a series of secret negotiations over the past two months between seven insurgent groups, President Jalal Talabani and officials of the U.S. embassy. The insurgent groups involved are Sunnis but do not include foreign jihadis like al Qaeda and other terrorist factions who deliberately target civilians; those groups have always denounced any negotiations.
The idea of reconciliation is something that the Republicans won't find favor with. Apparently the Sunnis in the fledgling democracy in Iraq are pushing for reconcilation for the "national resistance"
The distinction between insurgents and terrorists is one of the key principles in the document, and is in response to Sunni politicians' demands that the "national resistance" should not be punished for what they see as legitimate self-defense in attacks against a foreign occupying power. Principle No. 19 calls for "Recognizing the legitimacy of the national resistance and differentiating or separating it from terrorism" while "encouraging the national resistance to enroll in the political process and recognizing the necessity of the participation of the national resistance in the national reconciliation dialogue."

Before we get the cart before the horse on this interesting bit of news we should look at the loophole(s) that will afford Bush and the Republican party some level of comfort should the Democrats find themselves aligning their position to something akin to the Iraqi Prime Minister.
The plan also calls for a withdrawal timetable for coalition forces from Iraq, but it doesn't specify an actual date (emphasis mine)—one of the Sunnis' key demands. It calls for "the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq's security," and asks that a U.N. Security Council decree confirm the timetable. Mahmoud Othman, a National Assembly member who is close to President Talabani, said that no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable. The problem is specifying a date, which the United States has rejected as playing into the insurgents' hands.

There is certainly some similarities between the Levin Amendment and the Iraqi plan. Their isn't much of real time table to either. Both are essentially "conditions based" plans. Of course, you won't hear the Republicans making such comparisons between the two troop reduction plans. The Democrats want to "cut and run." The Iraqis, well I'll have to wait and see how they respond.

I will leave you with what I'd refer to as an interesting quote from an anonymous senior coalition military official,
"One of the advantages of a timetable—all of a sudden there is a date which is a much more explicit thing than an abstract condition. That's the sort of assurance that [the Sunnis] are looking for."

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