A rainy weekend in Baghdad didn't stop political meetings from taking place or political statements from coming up.
Leaders of the five major blocs met again in Jafari's HQ this morning after they met at Talabani's and al-Hakeem's in the past two days.
In fact, there's little to say about these meetings which don't seem productive at the moment and I think when al-Mutlaq said these meetings are to "melt the ice" he described them in a good way.
What caught my attention recently was a statement made by the national security advisor in the interim government Mowafaq al-Rubai'I and an response to this statement from Dhafir al-Aani the spokesman of the Accord Front.
Al-Rubai'i was speaking enthusiastically about a plan to coordinate the withdrawal of MNF from Iraq with the leaders of the coalition. He said they're working on a plan to significantly reduce the number of foreign soldiers in the course of 2006 and said he expected all foreign troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2007 since "Iraqi security forces will be ready by then".
Al-Aani didn't like this statement and apparently feels that getting Iraqi troops trained and equipped isn't the main thing we need to do before the MNF can leave.
He said that "we don't want the MNF to start leaving until all militias are disbanded…".
Here I see a great change in positions from what we used to see in the past two years. And especially on the Sunni side.
None of the Shia leaders-except for the Sadr-were really interested in seeing the MNF leave soon and had been only talking about asking the MNF to leave because of pressures from the Sadrists and the Sunni Arabs.
But now we hear the same government happily announce that ending the presence of foreign troops in Iraq is near at the same time that Sunni Arab politicians began to change their tone and started to view the American military presence as a balancing factor!
What I see here is that Arab Sunni leaders have rearranged their priorities; except for a year or two after 2003 the Sunni never considered America their greatest enemy.
Their greatest enemy had always been Iran and whoever allies with her while America ranked 2nd or 3rd (that's if not viewed as an ally) and I think this is how they view things right now.