Sometimes you see a story and you can’t believe what you are reading. I have been watching Google News pretty carefully on this and, unless my search terms are not up to snuff, I think The Christian Science Monitor is way out in front on a major story in Iraq.
Of the many dark fears about the U.S. presence there, none has been darker than the spectre of outright civil war involving the Shiites, Kurds and the old ruling elite in the Sunni Triangle. Now, reporter Jill Carroll has this Baghdad-datelined story. The lead? Key Sunni leaders have met to work on plans to participate in the government that, as Carroll puts it, was “formed by elections they boycotted.”
The meeting was a reversal for Sunni leaders who have supported insurgents and urged US troops to leave Iraq immediately.
The new effort, observers say, appears to be an admission that their strategy — to stop Iraq’s election and denounce the formation of a new government — has failed. Bringing the former ruling class into Iraq’s emerging power structure, they add, could help quell the insurgency.
“Participation of the Sunnis is both religiously important and politically important,” says John Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University who specializes in Islam and international affairs. “It can establish a precedent for other Sunni leaders to become involved.”
Who took part in this breakthrough meeting? Members of the Muslim Scholars Association were there, representing religious groups close to the insurgency. There were leaders from the so-called Sunni Triangle. Clearly this is just the first hint of a longer process, if the story is solid.
The question for me at this point is simple: Where are the other major media on this? Does the Monitor really have this on its own?
Again, there is no bigger story in Iraq — short of a stash of nuclear weapons showing up in a suburban storage facility — than the possibility that the Sunni led insurgency might be weakening or splintering.
Help me out here, people. Who else has this story?