The US knows it will have to talk to the Iraqi resistance: Even Lebanon was not as terrifying as the random menace of occupied Iraq. But the violence could be brought under control (Zaki Chehab, November 25, 2005, The Guardian)

Many Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq are convinced that Washington’s message to the Shia and Kurdish leaderships, after Condoleezza Rice’s first visit to Iraq in May, to allow Sunnis to participate in the political process, was an important US admission that mistakes had been made and needed to be corrected. But they also believe that the political process in Iraq has yet to put them on anything like the same footing as the Shia and Kurds. As a result, large numbers feel the attacks are the only way to ensure their interests are taken on board.

An end to violence in Iraq will not happen while the occupation continues. But against all expectations, it is not impossible for the situation to be brought under greater control if Sunnis are given a role similar to that of the Shia and Kurds. When they feel that their areas are beginning to benefit from reconstruction and their men are allowed to go back to their jobs in state institutions and the army, from which they were expelled as a result of de-Ba’athification, there is little doubt that the situation could improve.

It was, of course, the Sunni themselves who boycotted the process, but their recognition that it was a mistake–even if they feel it necessary to blame others–is all to the good. Even better if they’ve finally figured out that they’re the main beneficiaries of federalism in a state where they’re only 20% of the population.

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