Dec 21 2012
By Ali Shattab
Azzaman, December 21, 2012
Several Iraqi rebel groups who fought U.S. occupation have expressed their willingness to lay down their arms and join government ranks, according to a senior Iraqi deputy.
The deputy, Hussein Kadhem, who heads the transparency and integrity commission at the Iraqi parliament, said the government will soon announce the names of these groups and the terms under which they have agreed to join national ranks.
There were numerous Iraqi insurgent groups fighting U.S. occupation troops, which withdrew from Iraq a year ago.
Kadhem said the government was pleased to learn about the groups’ decision to join national reconciliation, adding that there were no obstacles for all Iraqis to work together for a prosperous and secure Iraq.
“The only condition is that there should not be any judicial proceedings against these groups or any of their members. We in the government feel there is no need for armed resistance as the occupation has ended and foreign troops have left the country,” Kadhem said.
Iraq does not prosecute groups or individuals for raising arms against U.S. occupation troops. Rebels, even if found involved in killing U.S. troops, are pardoned.
Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki has set up a special office led by one of his immediate advisers to oversee reconciliation and integration of the rebel and insurgent groups in national ranks.
Amer al-Khuzai is the official who advises Maliki on national reconciliation and leads talks with the rebel and insurgent groups.
Khuzai confirmed remarks by Kadhem and said the insurgent groups with whom he has been negotiating will soon announce their decision to dump resistance.
“These men (insurgents) are ready to come to Baghdad and publicly announce their willingness to join the project of national reconciliation,” he said.
Khuzai gave no figures or names of the groups he has been negotiating with.
But he said many of their men had left Iraq to Syria and Lebanon but now they have made up their mind to settle down and lay down their arms.
With the surrender of these groups, Iraq will have only al-Qaeda offshoots to worry about.
But Khuzai said Iraq’s al-Qaeda branch has been weakened.
However, observers say the terror group is still active in many parts of Iraq and recently it has mounted a series of bomb attacks across the country that killed and wounded hundreds of people.
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