The Baathists who until recently had joined forces with Al Qaeda have now switched and offered to join the Coalition forces in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda:
The leader of Iraq's banned Baath party, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, has decided to join efforts by the Iraqi authorities to fight al-Qaeda, one of the party's former top officials, Abu Wisam al-Jashaami, told pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.
"Al Douri has decided to sever ties with al-Qaeda and sign up to the programme of the national resistance, which includes routing Islamist terrorists and opening up dialogue with the Baghdad government and foreign forces," al-Jashaami said.
Al-Douri has decided to deal directly with US forces in Iraq, according to al-Jashaami. He figures in the 55-card deck of "most wanted" officials from the former Iraqi regime issued by the US government.
Recent weeks have seen a first step in this direction, when Baathist fighters cooperated with Iraqi government forces in hunting down al-Qaeda operatives in the volatile Diyala province and in several districts of the capital, Baghdad.
Hat tip: Laurie Mylroie
Update: John B. Dwyer writes:
While news of Baathists deciding to help coalition & Iraqi forces fight Al Qaeda is certainly encouraging, the offer by Al-Douri has a problematic proviso. I clicked on the link, 1st sentence, and read the referenced article. In it Al Douri says that he'll cooperate IF his men's safety is guaranteed and that the Iraqi army ceases attacks on his militias. I don't see how the Iraqi and US militaries, or Iraqi gov't, can satisfy these requirements.