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Iraq Tribal Leader: Truce Between US, Insurgents Possible January 23, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.

AMMAN (AP)–A truce between insurgents and the U.S. forces in Iraq is possible if the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad is dismissed and new elections are held, a prominent Sunni tribal leader said Tuesday.

Until a truce is agreed, insurgent attacks on U.S. troops will continue and even escalate in line with instructions from Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam Hussein’s deputy and perceived successor, said Sheik Majeed al-Gaood, a tribal leader in Anbar province, the heartland of the insurgency.

“Mr. al-Douri’s instructions came in a handwritten letter weeks before President Saddam was martyred,” al-Gaood told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his house in Amman, Jordan’s capital. “He demanded escalated attacks against certain targets, not civilians,” he said.

“The targets are U.S. occupation forces and the military affiliated with the traitor government in Baghdad.”

Al-Gaood is a leading member of a Sunni family that plays a major role in tribal politics in Anbar. The family has extensive business interests in Iraq, owning stores and transport companies. Many of its members are currently outside the country for fear of the kidnappings and killings taking place in Iraq.

In the interview, al-Gaood declined to reveal the whereabouts of al-Douri, who is wanted by the U.S. and Iraqi government forces as the most senior member of Saddam’s regime still at large. Media reports have said al-Douri is either in Syria or Yemen.

“A truce is very possible, and the insurgents said in statements posted on the Internet that they’re willing to reduce their attacks,” he said.

But, al-Gaood added, “this (truce) depends on the dismissal of the current traitor government in Iraq and holding new elections that would produce a new government in Iraq.”

Al-Gaood heads the “Wahaj el Iraq” or “Flame of Iraq” group. It is one of several Sunni-dominated Iraqi political factions that are believed to have close ties to Saddam’s disbanded Baath Party.

Wahaj el Iraq is one of several groups that threw their support behind al-Douri following Saddam’s execution on Dec. 30.

Al-Gaood said Iran was a “worse enemy for Iraq than the United States.”

“Tehran is our real enemy because it wants to control my country, and then the entire Arab world.” he said. “It constitutes a real threat to U.S. interests in the region, especially the Gulf Arab states.”

Al-Gaood urged the U.S. to open a “real and substantive dialogue” with Iraqi insurgents.

“To save face, the Americans need not speak to Iran or Syria – who will not be of any use to get them out of their troubles in Iraq – but to the real representatives of Iraq, the Iraqi resistance.”

Jordan and other U.S. Arab allies, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have also expressed concern about the Shiite-dominated government in Iraq, fearing it is boosting Middle Eastern influence of Iran, a Shiite majority country.

These Arab governments have pressed for Sunnis to acquire a larger share of power in Baghdad.


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