Iraqi PM calls on Iraqis to embrace reconcilian

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 16 September 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appealed Saturday for
Iraqis to cast aside their sectarian, ethnic and political differences and
embrace his national reconciliation plan.

The appeal came as Iraqi security forces announced they will dig trenches
around Baghdad in an attempt to prevent insurgents and explosive-laden cars
from getting into the sprawling city of 6 million people.

The Baghdad anti-terror trench is intended to curb attacks such as the two
suicide car bombings Saturday morning that killed at least 11 people and
wounded 20 more.

"No one should be part of the national reconciliation plan unless they
recognize others, accept them partners and totally rejects any sectarian,
ethnic or political differences," al-Maliki told a gather of Iraqi
non-governmental organizations

Adressing groups that included associations taht included those repesenting
children orphaned by terrorism and those disabled by war, al-Maliki said it
was teh responsibility of all Iraqis to join the effort

"National reconciliation is a correct way of thinking and carries a high
feeling of responsibility," al-Maliki said. "To succeed in this today, we
have to embrace the culture of dialogue and reconciliation."

Al-Maliki unveiled a 24-point reconciliation plan last month that he hopes
will bridge the religious, ethnic and political divisions feeding Iraq's

The plan includes an offer of amnesty to members of the Sunni Arab-led
insurgency not involved in terrorist activities, and calls for disarming
primarily Shiite sectarian militias.

But no major Sunni Arab insurgent group has publicly agreed to join the
plan, and many Shiite militias are controlled by legislators themselves. Car
bombings, mortar attacks and shootings have killed hundreds of Iraqis the
past few weeks.

Al-Maliki said that once plan managed to create an "atmosphere of
reconciliation and dialogue," his government would take decisions based on
the views expressed both by NGO's and tribal leaders _ who last mont agreed
to back his effort.

"These decisions will be historic and they should be shouldered by all the
groups participating in the political process, because participation means
sharing responsibilities. There are no rights without a price. Those who do
not take the responsibly of defending the state and its laws will would no
longer be our partners in the political process."

In Saturday's violence, a suicide car bomb targeting Amerivan and Iraqi
vehicles in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora instead killed three
Iraqis who were shopping in a market and wounded 19 others, said police 1st.
Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq.

In another incident, a car bomb went off near Iraqi National Guard troops
who were conducting a patrol in downtown Baghdad near the Tigris River,
killing two soldiers and wounding another, according to police officer
Maytham Abdul Razzaq.

A car bomb killed three police officers and wounded five people _ inclding
three civilians _ when it detonated next to a passing patrol southeast
Baghdad's Zafaraniya, Police Capt. Ali Mahdi said.

Two civilians were also shot to death in separate incidents. The first was a
cell phone store owner killed in the Dora neighborhood, and the second was a
garbage collector who was attacked in the mostly-Sunni Yarmouk district in
western Baghdad. And a civilian was killed and four wounded after a roadside
bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol in a clothes market in downtown
Baghdad, police 1st. Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said.

Baghdad saw more than 160 people slain from Wednesday to Friday _ either
killed in bombings or tortured and shot before being dumped on city streets,
likely victims of the sectarian reprisals that have escalated in recent

Inspired by Islamic history, the plan for a ditch around Baghdad is the
newest twist in what has so far been a losing battle to prevent suicide car
bombs and other weapons from being smuggled into the capital.

"Trenches will be dug around Baghdad in the coming weeks," the Interior
Ministry spokesman, Brig. Abdul-Kareem Khalaf, told The Associated Press on
Friday. "They will surround Baghdad."

He provided no details of what distance the trenches would cover, nor how
deep or wide they would be. It is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) around the
edge of the city.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush also mentioned a new plan to
safeguard Baghdad _ but he spoke of using an earthen mound rather than a

Khalaf said the trench plan would restrict vehicle and pedestrian traffic to
just 28 entry points, all with guarded checkpoints. Similar checkpoints are
set up now on some central routes through Baghdad, including the highway to
the airport, but they need hundreds of soldiers to man them.

He said the plan was inspired by the Battle of Khandaq _ Arabic for Battle
of the Trench _ in 627, during which Prophet Muhammad protected the city of
Medina from an army by digging trenches.

Vehicle bombs have killed at least 960 Iraqis and wounded 2,763 in Baghdad
this year, according to an AP count. That's just over a fifth of the city's
deaths from war-related violence and nearly a half of its wounded.

Most of the car bombs are thought to be assembled in areas just south of
Baghdad, in the so-called Triangle of Death.

There have been past operations seeking to prevent bombs from being smuggled
into the capital.

The first such plan _ Operation Lightning _ was launched with much fanfare
in May 2005. More than 40,000 Iraqi police and soldiers, backed by U.S.
troops and air support. But they failed to cut down on bombings.

A year later, as killings in Baghdad surged, a joint U.S.-Iraqi security
offensive known as Operation Together Forward was launched June 15.

It too has made little headway, with the city's death toll surpassing 1,500
in July and triggering fears among U.S. commanders that civil war could
break out.