Insurgent representative Abu Mohammed says the nationalists would even tolerate U.S. bases on Iraqi soil. "We don't mind if the invader becomes a guest," he says, suggesting a situation akin to the U.S. military presence in Germany and Japan.Heh. I dare anyone to tell me they saw that coming. Odds are, though, Abu Mohammed doesn't speak for most insurgents. Anyway, even the slightest prospect of negotiating is encouraging, though I'm still unconvinced that the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS)—the strident religious council now entering into talks with the Americans—has absolute sway over all of the nationalist Sunnis out there. In addition to the "hard-core Baathists" and the "hard-core Islamists" like Zarqawi who won't ever surrender, there may well be a sizeable number of "hard-core separatists" among many of the tribal-based insurgents out there, who refuse to join any sort of new government. Many of the more virulent Sunni clerics, too, may break with the AMS if they feel they're being "sold out". But I'm still working on this theory and trying to get in touch with scholars who can help me out (or swat me down).