Only the Beginning
Mohammed at Iraq the Model (ITM) reports that seven insurgent groups have expressed willingness to negotiate an end to the fighting. It's a start. But just a start.
Seven militant groups announced their desire to join the political process in accordance with the reconciliation project and said they were ready to enter a truce and stop the violence. MP Hassan al-Sinaid-whose close to PM Maliki-said third parties conveyed the message of the seven groups confirming that they were not involved in Iraqi bloodshed suggesting they're eligible to benefit from the initiative. Al-Sinaid said it was possible that Maliki would meet representatives of these seven groups either directly or indirectly, because he's concerned about the success of the initiative and is keen to gather support for it. Al-Sinaid adds "al-Maliki believes in political measures now, and not only in military ones".
Mohammed has no illusions about it all being smooth sailing from here.
So far, everybody in Iraq feels good about Maliki's plan and expressed their hopes for it to meet success and ease the suffering of the Iraqi people; everybody except for the Sadrists and the association of Muslim scholars who both criticized the plan and said it wasn't acceptable and expected it to fail. The question is do they are expecting it to fail only because they think it is not framed in a workable way or because they wish for it to fail? I'm afraid the latter is the likely answer. Oh, and did I forget to mention the BBC?
ITM's reference to the BBC refers to an article talking down any prospects of success for Maliki's initiative.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says there are concerns that Mr Maliki's plan will not work as it does not seek reconciliation with those at the heart of the insurgency - the radical Islamists, many of them foreigners, who want Iraq to be the centre of a new Islamic empire.
But Maliki -- as ITM's post strongly suggests knows that the hardest core is unlikely to hop aboard just yet. Therefore he is probably working with the seven groups he is most likely to convince to lay down arms. The BBC will probably note that the initial intake will consist of groups peripheral to the real fighting, the weaker insurgent groups, the half-hearted Jihadis, and they will be right. However, Maliki is probably trying to get momentum going and the only way to do that is to work on the weakest links of the insurgency first.