Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baath Holds The White Flag

The formation of a so called political council for Iraqi resistance was met by different reactions from the public and the politicians who are now divided into proponents and opponents. Whereas the Accord Front called for mediation between the council and the government some parties in the UIA see that the council cannot be negotiated with and declared it a continuation of the former regime.

What is important in my opinion regarding this development and aside from whether to negotiate with it or not, is the very announcement of forming this new political entity.
It consists of remnants of the former regime and it had led the violent campaign against the change and now its leaders announce the transformation into a political entity seeking negotiations with the government. This represents an admission of the failure of the insurgency. The statement made was dignified with a triumphant tone but this is not the Baath we know. We never saw the Baath triumphant and seeking negotiations at the same time. The former regime never recognized the idea of negotiations and peaceful settlements and this is exactly what led the country to numerous conflicts with the neighbors or with inside adversaries.

Saddam accepted dialogue and negotiations only after he had met defeat. Power always came first in the ideology of the Baath and the cruelty with which Saddam oppressed his domestic adversaries reminds us that searching for negotiations means that the regime, or those who represent its way of thinking, are incapable of sustaining meaningful resistance.

The call for negotiations reflects the failure of the Baath's military option. This failure can be attributed to a number of reasons, the most significant of which is the determination of the Iraqi people and American administration to continue the march in spite of the pain involved in doing so. It became evident with time for the "resistance" that for the average Iraqis, going back to totalitarian rule is not an option and that an American pullout is not visible in the horizon.

Add to that the growing split between the two main current wings of the Baath; the more Islamist one led by Izzat Dori and the secular nationalist one led by Mahmoud Younis al-Ahmed and the deep conflict of interests between al-Qaeda and several Sunni militant groups. More important are the blows the joint troops dealt al-Qaeda and other extremists. For a long time the figures seemed inconclusive but now it seems obvious that the cumulative effect of their losses has made them hold the white flag.

Some of the other factors we can add are Saddam's execution and the legal proceedings taken against the leaders of the insurgency abroad. These have been choking them, especially those who remained active. Like we said before, the rope around Saddam's neck left scars on many other necks.

On the other hand, the rise of rational political and popular tribal Sunni leaderships, who are seen as heroes in the Iraqi west, caused the old "stars" to fade out. In fact the new leaderships seem to be more capable of leading the populace in the provinces where the insurgency was dominant even more efficiently than the Baath was.

The incremental building of a nation and the simultaneous prelude for the contraction of an insurgency were not easy to see through the smoke of battle, but now things have changed and the results will be clear.

Of course the challenges are still great, yet the defeat of al-Qaeda and the fall of the insurgency tell us clear and loud that determination can and will defeat the rest of the enemies.


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