USA verhandeln mit irakischen Rebellen

--- Gestern meldete die britsche Sunday Times, dass die USA geheime Verhandlungen mit den irakischen Rebellen führen:
After weeks of delicate negotiation involving a former Iraqi minister and senior tribal leaders, a small group of insurgent commanders apparently came face to face with four American officials seeking to establish a dialogue with the men they regard as their enemies. The talks on June 3 were followed by a second encounter 10 days later, according to an Iraqi who said that he had attended both meetings. Details provided to The Sunday Times by two Iraqi sources whose groups were involved indicate that further talks are planned in the hope of negotiating an eventual breakthrough that might reduce the violence in Iraq. Despite months of American military assaults on supposed insurgent bases, General John Abizaid, the regional US commander, admitted to Congress last week that opposition strength was “about the same” as six months ago and that “there’s a lot of work to be done against the insurgency”. That work now includes secret negotiations with rebel leaders, according to the Iraqi sources. Washington seems to be gingerly probing for ways of defusing home-grown Iraqi opposition and of isolating the foreign Islamic militants who have flooded into Iraq to wage holy war against America under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The talks appear to represent the first serious effort by Americans and Iraqi insurgents to find common ground since violence intensified in the spring. Earlier informal contacts were reported but produced no perceptible progress. Zarqawi’s group, which has been blamed for many suicide bombings and beheadings, has not taken part.
Die entsprechenden Meldungen finden sich inzwischen auch in US-Medien wie der LA Times -- zusammen mit Reaktionen aus dem Pentagon und dem Weißen Haus. Demnach ist eigentlich alles gut und schön im Irak:
Rumsfeld told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "meetings take place all the time." The Iraqi government is "not going to try to bring in the people with blood on their hands, for sure, but they're certainly reaching out continuously and we help to facilitate those from time to time," he said. Rumsfeld's remarks were part of a media offensive by the Bush administration Sunday aimed at reversing growing doubts among Americans that the war in Iraq can be won. President Bush is scheduled to address the nation Tuesday on the issue. Rumsfeld appeared on three different Sunday talk shows, Abizaid on two, and Vice President Dick Cheney on one. Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, who is on his first visit to the United States since he was chosen to head the interim government, also joined those arguing that the U.S. should maintain its policies in Iraq. They delivered a similar message: that despite the insurgency's ability to sustain its deadly attacks, progress was being made in Iraq and those trying to create chaos would eventually be defeated.
Und sonst: Bombing Attacks on Iraqi Forces Kill 38 in North. The attacks came as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld echoed remarks by his advisers in recent months suggesting that the insurgency could last as long as a dozen years and that Iraq would become more violent before elections later this year, New York Times.

Letzte Salve aus "Gottes Maschinengewehr". Der greise Massenprediger Billy Graham, der Führer der US-Evangelisten, rief zu seinem "letzten Kreuzzug" nach New York. Abertausende kamen zur Mega-Messe unter freiem Himmel, bei der die Herzen glühten und die Kasse klingelte, Spiegel Online.

Der Countdown zur Vertrauensfrage. Morgen wird Gerhard Schröder im Weißen Haus noch mit US-Präsident George W. Bush über Iran, den Irak und andere weltpolitische Themen reden. Danach dreht sich für den Kanzler fast alles nur noch um die Vorbereitung der Abstimmung über die Vertrauensfrage am Freitag, Spiegel Online.

U.S. Plans New Tool to Halt Spread Of Weapons. The Bush administration is planning new measures that would target the U.S. assets of anyone conducting business with a handful of Iranian, North Korean and Syrian companies believed by Washington to be involved in weapons programs, U.S. officials said yesterday, Washington Post.

U.S. Has Plans to Again Make Own Plutonium. The Bush administration is planning the government's first production of plutonium 238 since the cold war, stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material. The substance, valued as a power source, is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer, New York Times.