Dec. 18, 2005 (UPI delivered by Newstex) -- Sunni Muslim leaders in Iraq's violent Anbar province say they are ready to cooperate with the United States.
They are seeking to extend a temporary truce honored by most insurgent groups for last week's elections but say they want the United States to reduce military raids and increase development projects for their vast desert province, The Washington Times reports.
Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of a prominent Sunni bloc, said insurgent groups had prevented violence from interfering with Thursday's elections, the newspaper said.
The truce resulted from weeks of negotiations between U.S. officials and insurgents.
Sunni religious leader Sheik Abed al-Latif Hemaiym told The Times in an interview in Amman that Sunnis were prepared to work with the United States.
"We now believe we must get on good terms with the Americans," Hemaiym said. "As Arab Sunnis, we believe that within this hot area of Iraq, facing challenges from neighboring nations who want to swallow us, especially the Iranians, we feel we have no alternative."
It was a mistake when the Sunni boycotted the election in January. At least now they realize their best means for political power is not through force of arms. As a minority in Iraq, without the presence and moderation of the Americans, they would have been victim of revenge by the Kurds and the Shia. Rather, by participating in the December 15 election, they have ensured both a voice in the politics of Iraq, and protection as part of a democratic Iraq.
Naturally the real losers are the defeatist members of the Democratic Party.