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Tuesday, 13-February-2007
Almotamar Net - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom. Almoitamar,net Project Syndicate - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom.

One key factor is that, for the first time since the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, Arab Sunni leaders are backing a US military plan for that country. These Sunni leaders live in abject fear of the geopolitical earthquake that any disintegration of political authority in Baghdad would bring, believing that all-out civil war would invariably follow – a war that would not respect international borders.

Of course, America has been encouraging Sunni leaders in this belief. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent tour of Middle East capitals helped spread the word to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states that any US failure and sudden withdrawal would be certain to destabilize them. Given the fragile grip that these leaders have over their societies, America’s warnings have been taken to heart.

But the truly curious factor that might bring success to Bush is that those who have opposed or resented America’s presence in Iraq, such as the Iranian-backed Shi’a parties now also appear to want Bush’s new strategy to succeed. They are for it because they believe it will defang Moqtada al-Sadr, the rogue Shi’a cleric whose power has mushroomed over the past three years – to the point that he now dominates much of Baghdad and holds the allegiance of countless angry young Shi’a men.

Of course, attacking Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the name of fighting militia death squads has the potential to draw American military forces into a level of urban warfare unseen since the Falluja assaults of 2004 and 2005. Al-Sadr is seen as the protector of the Shi’a of Iraq and has an estimated 60,000 fighters in his militia. But he is deeply mistrusted by other Shi’a leaders, who fear that they may one day have to take him on by themselves. Better to let the Americans do it, though of course these Shi’a leaders prefer a slow strangulation of al-Sadr to a direct and bloody assault.

But make no mistake: how al-Sadr is handled is the big test of Bush’s new strategy. Should the US choose to face al-Sadr and his forces head on, they risk alienating Iraq’s largest sectarian community, the Shi’a, adding fuel to the anti-occupation resistance and thus probably dooming Bush to failure.

Iran and Syria, which have played a spoiler role in Iraq up to now, may also now be anxious to find a way to pull the country back from the brink. Bush still refuses to talk to either of them, and has lately been having US troops arrest Iranian agents in Iraq. Yet Iran may already see itself as victorious, with the current Iraqi government friendlier than any the Iranians have ever known. So maintaining that government in office has now become a strategic priority for Iran, particularly as it is now clear that any US hopes of using Iraq as a permanent military base are dead.

The “surge” also opens, perhaps for the first time, a serious possibility of pouring water on the insurgent fires in Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency. The US has achieved relative successes in the province through alliances with Sunni tribes. The hope is that such realistic and pragmatic accommodations will be extended to Iraqis who are fighting under the banner of a nationalist and anti-occupation agenda.

So some of the stars have come into alignment for Bush. But to keep them there in the long term, the Iraqi government will need to amend the constitution in a way that appeases the Sunni community. Reassuring Iraq’s Sunnis that they have a place in the new Iraq will also reassure neighboring Sunni governments, which have mostly turned a blind eye to the support for the insurgency that has come from their lands.

Of course, should the US see failure ahead, it could seek to broaden the war beyond Iraq’s borders by attacking Iran, a policy reminiscent of “Operation Sideshow,” when US failure in Vietnam in the late 1960’s enticed President Nixon into attacking Cambodia and Laos.

But Iran has resources that Cambodia and Laos could never muster; indeed, its ability to retaliate could set the entire region ablaze. Whereas America’s war in Indochina was a tragic mistake, the cost of a wider war precipitated by the crisis in Iraq would be incomparably greater – for both the patient and the doctor.

Mai Yamani is an author and broadcaster. Her most recent book is Cradle of Islam.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2007.
www.project-syndicate.org


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Monday, 25-April-2016

The UN envoy to Yemen confirmed on Monday that the consensus of the participants in Yemeni peace talks held in Kuwait on bringing peace makes reaching a solution possible.

"There is no doubt that there are significant differences in views, but the consensus of the participants to bring peace makes it possible to reach a solution,” the UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement issued after the talks session Monday.

“There are only two options; either to continue the war or to consult and make concessions in order to achieve peace and all parties should assume responsibility for their decisions,” the UN envoy added.
Monday, 25-April-2016
The Saudi-led coalition has continued to fly intensively on the skies of many provinces, including Sana'a, Taiz, Mareb, Sa'ada, Mahweet, Lahj, Hajjah, Shabwa, Hodeida, Jawf.

A military official said the Riyadh's hirelings targeted the army and popular committees' sites in areas of Beer Basha, al-Khalel in Khadir district, in Jahmaliyah, Klabah, al-Salal and 40 Street in al-Dhamgah district in Taiz with light and medium weapons.

Moreover, the Riyadh's hirelings pounded the army and popular committees sites in al-Shabakah area, al-Ghawi Mount and al-Ain Mount, al-Jurf Mount, al-Shuqairah valley, Hasanat area with mortars in al-Waze'yah district of Taiz, according to the official.

The army and popular committees sites were also targeted by the mercenaries in Nehm district of Sana'a province.

In Mareb province, the hirelings bombarded the army and popular committees sites in al-Mashjah, Hilan Mount, al-Rabiah in Serwah district with medium and heavy weapons.

The Saudi fighter jets dropped flare bombs on different areas of Razeh district in Sa'ada, he said.

The hirelings pounded also areas in al-Ghail and al-Moton districts and targeted sites of the army and popular committees Aibar valley in Jawf with light weapons.
Monday, 25-April-2016
The national delegation in Kuwait met on Monday the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The delegation discussed with the UN envoy firming up a comprehensive and full ceasefire.

The meeting touched on the discussion of the issues that have seen a divergence in views during the previous sessions of consultations in order to reach a compromise formula.
Monday, 25-April-2016

The national delegation in Kuwait met on Monday with ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union (EU).

The meeting reviewed the conduct of the consultations over the past days and the reasons for the lack of progress in the negotiations, topped by the non-compliance of Saudi Arabia to the ceasefire.

At the meeting, the national delegation stressed that the consolidation of the cease-fire is the key factor for the success of the ongoing negotiations in Kuwait.

The delegation pointed out that the continuation of war and aggression and the other party's disavowal from his responsibilities was the reason for delaying the arrival of the delegation members to Kuwait.

The national delegation demanded pressure toward the success of the negotiations through the implementation of the first item, confirming its keenness on the success of the political process based on consensus and not exclusion.
Sunday, 24-April-2016
The Yemeni talks session continued on Sunday evening in Kuwait to discuss firming up the ceasefire.

This comes in light of indications on the insistence of Saudi Arabia to hinder the dialogue and the failure of the United Nations to press for a real and full cease of the aggression.

The national delegation and Riyadh’s delegation met in the morning session with the two members assigned to follow up the truce committees and consolidating the ceasefire.

Riyadh’s delegation tried to evade and move on to discuss the agenda.
Sunday, 24-April-2016
A new talk session between the national delegation and Riyadh's delegation was held on Saturday in Kuwait.

A Yemeni military communication and coordination committee and UN army experts participated in the session to brief the delegates on their activities and the difficulties they face in their work to make sure the cease-fire is respected.

In the presence of UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the talks continued to discuss the cessation of hostilities, in addition to review the general framework of the talks.

In the session, the UN envoy suggested to issue a statement supporting the ceasefire, which was accepted by the national committee. However, the Riyadh delegation rejected the proposal.
Friday, 22-April-2016

The ceasefire committees in Jawf province signed on Friday a document detailing a mechanism to establish the ceasefire in all fighting fronts.

in a copy of the signed document, which included several terms, the most important are: ceasing fire in all fronts in the province, stopping military mobilization and reinforcements in all fronts, observing the ceasefire by the concerned committees, placing a mechanism for the direct communication between the two parties, halting all acts of detention in the public roads, completing measures for prisoners swap and releasing detainees, allowing humanitarian and relief works and opening roads.
Friday, 22-April-2016

The national delegation held on Thursday evening a closed meeting with the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, after the end of the opening session in Kuwait.

In the meeting, the national delegation underscored the need to completely stop hostilities.

It also stressed that the existing stage is governed by consensus and partnership, and that the key solution is consensus on a transitional authority.
Friday, 22-April-2016
Ansarullah official spokesman has said that the desired solution must be inclusive dealing with all issues.

"We do not want a piecemeal a partial solution. We want a comprehensive solution includes all issues to go to sound solutions," Mohamed Abdulsalam said in the opening session of the peace talks kicked off in Kuwait on Thursday.

He expressed reservations about the continuation of the airstrikes and the five points, which he said "were not clear either in their sequences or content."

He said that they held a dialogue with Saudi Arabia to make Kuwait talks successful, stressing that they will deal positively to come out with an obvious solution leads to partnership.

The talks was supposed to start three days ago, but the national delegation refused to leave Sana'a on time.

Abdulsalam said that the delay was because of the war that has not ceased. "The reasons for the delay are the continued air raids [on Yemen] and the ambiguity in the talks' agenda."

He appreciated the role played by Kuwait and the facilities they offered to succeed the talks.

Head of the General People Congress (GPC) delegation confirmed that the GPC is keen on the path of peace and dialogue as it does in 2011.
Thursday, 21-April-2016
A delegation consisting of representatives of the General People’s Congress (GPC) and Ansarullah headed on Wednesday to Kuwait to partake in the dialogue called for by the United Nations.

In a statement to media before departing Sana’a International Airport, the official spokesman for Ansarullah Mohamed Abdulsalam said the delegation’s first purpose is the success of the dialogue, despite the continuing bombing and blockade.

" We are going to Kuwait to prove to the public opinion, the Yemeni people and the army and popular committees everywhere that we are keen on achieving the security and stability,” Abdulsalm said.

He confirmed attending the dialogue, despite the reservation, which came in the delegation’s letter to the UN envoy, about halting the military acts and about the ambiguity in the UN agenda.

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