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June 6, 2007

Demo presidential candidate meets with Iraqi insurgent leader

Posted by David Postman at 9:46 AM

Peace activist, retired businessman and Democratic candidate for president Dal LaMagna is in Amman, Jordan, where he met Monday with an unnamed leader of the Iraqi insurgents who have been targeting American soliders. LaMagna plans to travel to Baghdad to officially kick off his campaign for president..

LaMagna met with a man he described as a leader of the Iraqi resistance. He says on his blog that the man was "the most important person I will meet during this trip."

This meeting required a suit and very good manners. ... I've been asked to hold off releasing his name until I have finished meeting some other people because they might not want to meet me if they knew. Thus, I will simply call him the Sheik and tell you he has influence over the Resistance.

LaMagna says he was the first American to meet with "the Sheik." He has a long report about this conversation, including this about al-Qaeda's role in Iraq.

The Sheik said that al-Qaeda does not represent the Iraqi National Resistance. Only 10% of the resistance is al-Qaeda. The Iraqi Resistance is temporary. Its only aim is to liberate Iraq. There is no aim to rule Iraq. As to the Americans, al-Qaeda exists to resist Americans anywhere in the world. If the occupation ends, al-Qaeda will leave. Al-Qaeda is refused by Iraqis.

LaMagna says he suggested that the insurgents do something unexpected, like call for a ceasefire against U.S. soldiers. He told the Sheik.

"Have a Gandhi moment for Iraq. The American people will surely notice this."

...

He explained that we had destroyed a complete country and occupied it, causing the death of over a million Iraqis and creating six million refugees who are now outside the country. He said, "You wasted our money and the oil revenues we lost while you were here. I cannot stop the Resistance. It is the Iraqi people rising up from the ground, not led from the top."

The Sheik's spokesperson who was with in the room said, "If the sun goes down the day ends. If the occupation is over, the violence will end."

Then the Sheik said, "We can only help call others to calm things down if the American Administration announces a schedule to withdraw."

It's certainly an unusual -- and I'm sure to be controversial -- way to launch a presidential campaign.

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