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Iraqi Experts Urge Political Solution to Insurgency - 2004-10-04


There were two car bombings Monday in Baghdad and another in the northern town of Mosul, killing at least 17 people and injuring many others. The Iraqi interim government has been promising to crack down on the country's insurgency, and Iraqi and U.S. troops have been focusing on the town of Samara in recent days. VOA's Greg LaMotte spoke with several political and international relations experts at Baghdad University to find out what they would do to bring an end to Iraq's 17 months of deadly violence.

On Sunday, Iraqi interim government officials hailed the joint U.S.-Iraqi military effort to oust insurgents in the rebellious city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. The insurgents struck back with the deadly car bombings in Baghdad and Mosul.

Senior interim government officials have said the battle against Iraq's growing insurgency has entered a crucial period, as the country's emerging security forces attempt to suppress acts of militancy and clear the way for elections in January. But, during the past several weeks the insurgency has grown more widespread and more violent.

At the Strategic and Political Studies department at Baghdad University, Professor Abdel Kadir Mohammed Fahmy says the interim government must provide a political solution to the insurgency, which he says should address three key issues.

Professor Fahmy says the people of Iraq are suffering after 35 years of brutal dictatorship. He says the interim government should work to address the pain of the Iraqi people by promoting the establishment of a multi-party system that does not include, what he calls, the 'expatriates' currently in power. He says the government must provide job opportunities for the impoverished people of Iraq. And, he says the interim government must learn to listen to the views of all Iraqis, even those who have engaged in acts of resistance.

Many Iraqis consider their countrymen who were in exile during the Saddam Hussein regime 'expatriates.'

Several months ago, Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi offered amnesty to militants who were willing to lay down their weapons. But the violence has spread. The prime minister has since vowed to crush the insurgency.

But, Baghdad University professor of international studies Abjed Abah Abdullah says the more the government increases its military effort to quash the insurgency, the greater the insurgency seems to grow. He says Iraq's interim prime minister should engage in diplomacy with all Iraqis, except for known terrorist groups like the one headed by wanted militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"He must not shoot. He must negotiate with the others, whatever they are, except al-Zarqawi group because they are an outsider," Mr. Abdullah said. "They are a stranger, they have ties to al-Qaeda. But, I mean the Iraqi groups, maybe in Fallujah, maybe in Talafar, maybe in Najaf, maybe in Sadr, anyone, any citizen, they must negotiate."

Professor Abdullah says if the Iraqi insurgency is to be quelled, there must be social and economic solutions, not bullets and bombs.

The professor's colleague at the school of political science at Baghdad University, Amr Hassan Fayed, agrees.

Professor Fayed says in order to stop the insurgency the country needs a political solution, not a military one. He says the interim government is faced with three immediate problems that include the occupation, the aftermath of years of tyranny and a weakening of national unity. He says the government should engage in negotiations to unify the religious and political parties throughout Iraq, create jobs, hold elections, infuse real democracy in the society and, once elections are completed, ask coalition forces to leave.

All three political experts said they believe the interim-government, made up mostly of former exiles who fled the rule of Saddam Hussein, does not hold the trust of the average Iraqi citizen. And, they agreed, the insurgency in Iraq will likely continue until Iraqis are able elect their own leaders. However, the experts also say the insurgency could continue even after election, if the new Iraqi leaders are not able to adequately address the many critical economic and social issues facing the country.

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