I see his point. Drudge leads with a story about the Zarqawi “treasure trove”, some of which is surely true and some of which is probably Maliki trying to put the fear of god into the jihadis to get them to come to the table before they get pinched. The safehouse document Drudge highlights is especially interesting as it calls explicitly for driving a wedge between America and the Shiites to generate broad-based popular support for “the resistance.” Which, let’s note, is straight out of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s playbook:
(1) If we are in agreement that the victory of Islam and the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet will not be achieved except through jihad against the apostate rulers and their removal, then this goal will not be accomplished by the mujahed movement while it is cut off from public support, even if the Jihadist movement pursues the method of sudden overthrow. This is because such an overthrow would not take place without some minimum of popular support and some condition of public discontent which offers the mujahed movement what it needs in terms of capabilities in the quickest fashion. Additionally, if the Jihadist movement were obliged to pursue other methods, such as a popular war of jihad or a popular intifadah, then popular support would be a decisive factor between victory and defeat.
(2) In the absence of this popular support, the Islamic mujahed movement would be crushed in the shadows, far from the masses who are distracted or fearful, and the struggle between the Jihadist elite and the arrogant authorities would be confined to prison dungeons far from the public and the light of day. This is precisely what the secular, apostate forces that are controlling our countries are striving for. These forces don’t desire to wipe out the mujahed Islamic movement, rather they are stealthily striving to separate it from the misguided or frightened Muslim masses. Therefore, our planning must strive to involve the Muslim masses in the battle, and to bring the mujahed movement to the masses and not conduct the struggle far from them.
Maliki’s strategy is to unify Iraqis against the jihad by reconciling with the Sunnis before AQ can unify them against the the new government by reconciling with the Shiites. Coupled with the tough talk today at the “treasure trove” presser and the wave of raids this past week by U.S. and Iraqi troops, offering an amnesty to jihadis is standard stick-and-carrot. If it works and the insurgency falters, our guys come home and out of harm’s way sooner than expected, with things over there in pretty good shape.
Worth a shot. Particularly considering that the new guy sounds just dumb enough to start targeting Sunnis, too.
Update: Re: the raids, forgot to mention this. The heat is most definitely on. Thanks to WordWarp for the link.
Update: The Commissar notes that there have been no coalition casualties for five days.
Update: Captain Ed and I are on the same page:
This [amnesty sounds] appalling, but it probably reflects the reality of Iraq today, and will be the only realistic way to bring an end to the infighting. We can demand that Mailiki rescind the offer, but a refusal would only burnish his credentials as an independent leader. In fact, we should protest to give him that chance. I would like nothing more that to see the cowards hand [sic] from the nearest gallows, but insisting on that point would likely make almost everyone ineligible for the amnesty. Maliki has already narrowed down eligibility to those who have not attacked civilians, which will prove problematic enough to enforce.
At some point, Iraq needs a national reconciliation if it is to avoid a civil war. The Shi’a and Kurds will have to find ways to connect to the Sunni minority on a rational political basis, and the best way to get to that stage is to combine a crackdown on insurgents and a ban on militias with a general amnesty for those who wish to return home and live normal lives.
Update: Too much good news lately for Reuters’s taste, so they adjusted the lede on their own “treasure trove” story accordingly.
Update: To follow up on Captain Ed’s post, Debka says that Bush knew about the amnesty offer — and agreed to it during his meeting with Maliki.
Update: Here’s a photo of the new man without a plan:
Worth noting: despite the caption, CNN says “U.S. intelligence was split Wednesday over whether al-Masri was the same person as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, who was named as al-Zarqawi’s successor in a Web message last week.”