Iraqi firefighters put out a blaze started when a roadside bomb exploded in the predominantly Shi'ite area of Kazimiyah, sparking a fire in two discount clothing stores in Baghdad, Iraq, today. (AP Photo) Boston Globe
Here's a quick interruption of my series of reports on conversations with Iraqis to comment on breaking news:
Newsweek reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will unveil a new master national reconciliation plan tomorrow. Expected points include:
- A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq;
- Amnesty for all insurgents who attacked U.S. and Iraqi military targets;
- Release of all security detainees from U.S. and Iraqi prisons;
- Compensation for victims of coalition military operations.
In particular, this plan fits very well with one observation I should make from our trip to the area: no Iraqi we talked with even mentioned Abu Musa Zarqawi and his band of Al Qaeda wannabees as elements in the deteriorating situation. Zarqawi's outfit seems to be a Washington bugaboo, not a percieved factor in Iraq for those who are living there or even nearby.
I'll be posting more stories from the region over the next few days...