September 22, 2004

Not quite SALT II

Update on Fallujah negotiations, from Al-Sabah al-Jadeed:
Negotiators on behalf of Fallujah residents continued meetings with government officials aimed at ending the city's crisis. The delegation headed by Sheikh Khalid Mahmood al-Jumaili, imam of a mosque in Falluja, went to Baghdad to talk about the residents' requests. Fallujans want US forces barred from the city as a condition of handing over their weapons and ending military operations against the Americans. The Fallujans also asked for compensation to be paid to people affected by the recent US bombardment. The delegation expressed optimism over solving the crisis peacefully.
If I may interject a question, please. Can anyone think of an instance in Iraq when an agreement to disarm led to actual disarmament? I've been following the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan pretty darn closely over the past few years, and I can't think of a single example. Everyone in Iraq has guns. Everyone's brother has a gun. Rocket launchers and small arms aren't particularly difficult to hide in a basement. Plenty of agreements have been signed, but the al-Mahdi army has yet to disarm; most Iraqi militias have yet to disarm; the warlords in Afghanistan have yet to disarm. So what do we have here? The U.S. will withdraw its troops from Fallujah, end military operations, pay compensation, and the insurgents will turn over a few surplus rifles. Genuine truce, or mere stalling tactics?
-- Brad Plumer 3:27 PM || ||