From Missing Links.
Ibrahim Izzat al-Douri, leader of the part of the Iraqi Baath party, says he is planning to call together Baathists and Iraqi islamist groups to consider forming a united front to “escalate the military resistance” to the occupation, on a common program of defeating not only the occupation itself, but everything that has been derived from it, including the government and the constitution, in order to make a clean start under occupation-free conditions. This was conveyed to Al-Quds al-Arabi by unnamed sources, who added that a rival Baath figure Ahmed al-Yunis, isn’t being invited, but that another big Baathist name is expected to attend, namely Fawzi al-Rawi, leader of a wing that is said to be close to the Syrian Baath party. It is hard to know what to make of the internal Baath comings and goings, and similarly it is hard to know what to make of the list of a half-dozen Iraqi islamist groups, none of which are familiar names. Overall, as Marc Lynch noted in his thumbnail tag on this item, it appears al-Douri is responding to the fact that he and the Baath party were left out of the group whose existence was announced yesterday in the Guardian piece. The program is identical: Defeat of the occupation and all that it brought with it, while at the same time being prepared to negotiate the withdrawal process.
Awni Qalamji, a resistance figure who writes regularly in Al-Quds al-Arabi, notes in his op-ed piece today (pdf, bottom of the page) that there has been a recent wave of meetings and conferences and common fronts, although he doesn’t specifically mention these latest two (the column may well have been already written when these last two common-front ideas were announced, but it applies just the same). He does mention a recent series of meetings held in various foreign capitals, for instance one Nuri al-Marsumi, organized a series of meetings with “[Iraqi] figures preaching nationalism and leftism, coming from London and other places”, and he refers in a similarly dismissive way to a recent series of meetings by the better-known Iyad Allawi, including a meeting in Cairo with the participation of a Kurdish figure opposed to Talabani, and with people from the Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian Mukhabarat. This whole meetings fad is based on expectations of an American withdrawal, Qalamji points out. This isn’t the first time rumors of an American withdrawal led to a flurry of this type of meetings, and he refers specifically to mid 2005 and a meeting in Beirut (which if I knew something about it I would insert it here). Qalamji’s point is that there isn’t going to be an American withdrawal, so this whole conference fad is based on a mistake.
Read all of it here.