The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Amnesty for insurgents

Charles Krauthammer is probably one of the vilest public intellectuals on the American landscape, but I have to agree with this column endorsing amnesty for Iraqi Sunni insurgents:

In Iraq, amnesty will necessarily be part of any co-optation strategy in which insurgents lay down their arms. And it would not apply to the foreign jihadists, who, unlike the Sunni insurgents who would join the new Iraq, dream of an Islamic state built on the ruins of the current order. There is nothing to discuss with such people. The only way to defeat them is to kill them, as we did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

But killing them requires depriving them of their sanctuary. Reconciliation-cum-amnesty gets disaffected Iraqi Sunni tribes to come over to the government's side, drying up the sea in which the jihadists swim. After all, we found Zarqawi in heavily Sunni territory by means of intelligence given to us by local Iraqis.
If you ignore the routine attacks on Democrats, the column makes a decent argument -- the only solution to an ugly situation, really.