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The Conflict in Iraq

Iraqi Forms Group for Insurgents

June 30, 2005|From Associated Press

BAGHDAD — A Sunni Arab politician who brokered secret talks between insurgents and American officials said Wednesday that he had formed a group to give political voice to Iraqi fighters and demanded a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal.

Former Cabinet member Ayham Sameraei, who holds Iraqi and U.S. citizenship, is thought to have strong tribal links throughout Iraq's so-called Sunni Triangle region.

Sunni Muslims are thought to be the backbone of an insurgency that has killed about 1,370 people -- mostly civilians and Iraqi security forces -- since Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari announced his Shiite-led government April 28.

At a news conference in a Baghdad home, Sameraei said the new political front, the National Council for Unity and Construction of Iraq, was representing what he called resistance fighters who had not carried out attacks against civilians.

One prominent Shiite Muslim legislator dismissed Sameraei's effort.

"The general terrorist program is to attack electricity plants, water and oil pipelines, mosques, churches and to target the innocents, police and the army. These are terrorist acts," Saad Jawad Qandil said.

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