Gimme Shelter: Al-Maliki proposes amnesty

Hot on the heels of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death, the downloading of his hard-drive, and the hundreds of raids that ensued, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acted decisively to neutralize the other main insurgent group.  On June 25th, he offered a 24-point “national reconciliation” plan.  And just as Zarqawi’s death broke the back of Al Qaeda-in-Iraq, so the amnesty has derailed the resistance of former regime elements.

The 24-point plan is a set of demands and promises.

The insurgent groups MUST lay down arms and accept the authority of the democracy and its institutions.  In return, the democracy will accept public participation by members of these groups not directly involved in criminal violence.  And to sweeten the deal for citizens who already accept the government, but who have been victimized by terrorist violence, the government offers financial compensation.

Key provisions requiring concessions by the insurgents (and paramilitary groups) include:

  • Public disavowal of allegiance to Saddam and his regime;
  • Public disavowal of  terror as a means to political ends;
  • Acceptance of the new Iraqi Constitution, and the national government formed under it;
  • Acceptance of the Parliament as the sole legitimate authority to address issues involving the multi-national forces;
  • Acceptance of the courts of the democracy as the sole authority to adjudicate blood feuds, kidnappings,  acts of terror, and violence generally.

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Key promises extended to insurgents (and paramilitary groups) include:

  • Amnesty to all detainees who have committed acts of terror, war crimes, or crimes against humanity;
  • Dismantling of obstacles preventing citizens innocent of crimes from participating in government positions, the army, and other aspects of Iraqi reconstruction and renewal.
  • A thorough review of the “de-Baathification” laws that have blocked officials of the former regime from participating in government.
  • Guarantees that the security forces of the new government will not be used as extra-legal tools of vengeance against former regime elements.

Key assurances of compensation were extended to all citizens in the following areas:

  • Compensation to incidental victims of military actions;
  • Compensation for victims of terror;
  • Repatriation and compensation for refugees.

There are roughly two dozen groups associated with the native Sunni insurgency.  Seven of them responded promptly and positively to al-Maliki’s “national conciliation” proposal.  Since then, four more have joined them.  And the Islamic Party – the largest Sunni block in the parliament – has positioned itself to mediate negotiations between the government and the insurgent groups.

The 11 groups are intertwined to a remarkable degree with one another – a fact highlighted by the fact that they presented a common set of “demands”.  These include:

  • an end to the ban on former Baathists in the new Iraqi Army;
  • an end to hostilities by the coalition against the groups;
  • compensation for damages suffered by Iraqis injured by coalition military operations; and
  • a two-year timetable for withdrawal of coalition troops.

A spokesman for the “1920 Revolutionary Brigades”, one of the most violent insurgent groups, told the Associated Press in an interview, June 28, “If they set a two-year timetable for the withdrawal we will stop all our operations immediately.”

 A two-year timetable as a “condition” for laying down arms is substantively no condition at all. It is:

  • obviously unenforceable;
  • negates violence as a tool for further negotiation at the outset; and
  • is much more accepting of the coalition presence in Iraq than, say, the Murtha, Kerry, or Levin plans for U.S. withdrawal.

In effect, the heart of the Sunni insurgency has dropped expulsion of the coalition as a key demand for cessation of hostilities.  The former Baathists have focused more on their posture vis-à-vis the new Iraqi government and its security forces.

Predictably, Al Qaeda-in-Iraq and its associated Jihadist groups – what is left of them – rejected the amnesty. But otherwise, the only genuine sour note elicited by Prime Minister al-Maliki’s bold gambit occurred in the U.S. Congress, where such worthies as Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) accused the Iraqi government amnestying  killers of U.S. soldiers.

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This was ingenuous for a number of reasons:

  1. To date, al-Maliki has done no such thing.  As he stated on June 28, “The amnesty doesn’t include those who have killed Iraqis or even coalition forces because those soldiers came to Iraq under international agreements to help Iraq.”
  2. Although he has not YET done so, al-Maliki, and any subsequent Iraqi government, certainly will offer amnesty to some who have killed those who supported the new government.  That’s what an amnesty IS.  Insurgents who killed Americans also shot Iraqis – government officials, Iraqi Security Forces, or simple workers employed by the coalition.  “National reconciliation” will inevitably pardon some killers, if only by failure to prosecute certain classes of cases, or by offering victims financial compensation in lieu prosecution.

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  3. It is insane for cut-and-run Senators like Levin and Schumer to dictate policy to the democracy they propose to abandon.  What these worthies demand would require a full-scale, indefinite occupation of the Iraq, and the establishment therein of coalition-controlled courts with plenipotentiary powers.

Levin and Schumer know this.  Their “objection” to a politically adjudicated amnesty in Iraq is just one more example of Democrats’ willingness to say anything that will generate mindless applause on any given day.

One Response to “Gimme Shelter: Al-Maliki proposes amnesty”

  1. nick Says:

    Love the pic of Chuckles.