What would our American friends lose if they agree to temporary truce (on any terms)? Nothing. But at least some lives of American servicemen would be saved.For the first time, one of Iraq's principal insurgent groups has set out the terms of a ceasefire that would allow American and British forces to leave the country they invaded almost four years ago.
The present terms would be impossible for any US administration to meet - but the words of Abu Salih Al-Jeelani, one of the military leaders of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Resistance Movement show that the groups which have taken more than 3,000 American lives are actively discussing the opening of contacts with the occupation army.
Al-Jeelani's group, which also calls itself the "20th Revolution Brigades'', is the military wing of the original insurgent organisation that began its fierce attacks on US forces shortly after the invasion of 2003. The statement is, therefore, of potentially great importance, although it clearly represents only the views of Sunni Muslim fighters.
I also think that there would not be any negotiations. It is too late. Our American friends have lost the war. No one American president would negotiate about capitulation.The release of 5,000 detainees held in Iraqi prisons as "proof of goodwill".
* Recognition "of the legitimacy of the resistance and the legitimacy of its role in representing the will of the Iraqi people".
* An internationally guaranteed timetable for all agreements.
* The negotiations to take place in public.
* The resistance "must be represented by a committee comprising the representatives of all the jihadist brigades".
* The US to be represented by its ambassador in Iraq and the most senior commander.
It is not difficult to see why the Americans would object to those terms. They will not want to talk to men they have been describing as "terrorists" for the past four years. And if they were ever to concede that the "resistance" represented "the will of the Iraqi people" then their support for the elected Iraqi government would have been worthless.