"Under the plan, the first reductions would involve two combat brigades that would rotate out of Iraq in September without being replaced. Military officials do not typically characterize reductions by total troop numbers, but rather by brigades. Combat brigades, which generally have about 3,500 troops, do not make up the bulk of the 127,000-member American force in Iraq, and other kinds of units would not be pulled out as quickly.
American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq’s six central provinces. Even so, the projected troop withdrawals in 2007 are more significant than many experts had expected" Gordon
"NEWSWEEK has obtained a draft copy of the national reconciliation plan, and verified its contents with two Iraqi officials involved in the reconciliation process who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the plan’s contents. Prime Minister Maliki will present the document to the National Assembly when it convenes on Sunday, and it’s expected to be debated over the coming week. Maliki has made reconciliation and control of party militias the main emphasis of his new government. This plan follows a series of secret negotiations over the past two months between seven insurgent groups, President Jalal Talabani and officials of the U.S. embassy. The insurgent groups involved are Sunnis but do not include foreign jihadis like al Qaeda and other terrorist factions who deliberately target civilians; those groups have always denounced any negotiations.
The distinction between insurgents and terrorists is one of the key principles in the document, and is in response to Sunni politicians’ demands that the "national resistance" should not be punished for what they see as legitimate self-defense in attacks against a foreign occupying power. Principle No. 19 calls for "Recognizing the legitimacy of the national resistance and differentiating or separating it from terrorism" while "encouraging the national resistance to enroll in the political process and recognizing the necessity of the participation of the national resistance in the national reconciliation dialogue."" Newswek
A couple of things:
– This was a controlled leak to Gordon. So, the question is, why?
– The withdrawal plan is workable in the conditions described.
– There does not seem to be a "zero US troops in country" desired end state in this plan. IMO any long term US combat troops presence will result in the instability of the Iraqi government and continued hostile action against our forces in Iraq.
– Maliki’s reconciliation plan would reduce guerrilla activity to that carried on by the international jihadis if it were accepted by the seven resistance groups with whom he has been negotiating, This would isolate the jihadis and a wide variety of Iraqis would then concentrate on eliminating them as a nuisance.
-To obtain the agreement of the seven groups it will be necessary to 1- give the Sunni Arab and secular Shia a larger share of power and wealth than their numbers would justify if it were not necessary to get them to stop fighting. 2- accept the Iraqi notion that fighting our occupation was a legitimate form of national resistance.
– "2" above is clearly an American problem. The Iraqis are already "there." This is going to be difficult for a lot of Americans to accept. They have been taught to think of the "resistance" as criminals. It will be hard to get people to stop thinking of them that way.
– Why is this necessary? Well, folks, you can’t make peace with your friends. You have to make peace with the enemy, or at least some enemies.
– How does this post relate to the last one? The last one is what happens if al-Mailki fails.