Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Head of Islamic Army of Iraq offers to open peace talks with U.S. forces

(Al Jazeera) - The head of the Islamic Army of Iraq has for the first time offered to open peace talks with US forces in the country, his spokesman has told Al Jazeera. Ibrahim al Shimary, the lead spokesman for one of the most significant Sunni armed groups, said the talks could take place if the US commits to a timetable for the withdrawal of its soldiers.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, al Shimary also said that although Sunni groups are turning away from al-Qaeda, it is not because of any deal with the US as claimed in Washington. He said: "Al-Qaeda's agenda started to reveal itself clearly in October last year... they started to consider themselves as a state and started to target other Iraqi resistance factions including prominent Sunni personnel in our community and this affected our relations with them. "These killings started the media war between them and us so we decided to break away quickly in order not to give our enemies the chance to benefit from it."
The Islamic Army in Iraq is thought to be the largest armed group and was established during the summer of 2003 to fight coalition forces. When first formed, the group appeared to have the same ideologies as al-Qaeda the group has said its primary focus was the expulsion of foreign troops from Iraq. The group claims it is composed primarily of Iraqis (Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds) as well as Arabs.

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