Iraq Study Group Report: Iraq could be on a slide towards chaos

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Iraq Study Group presented its report at 12.00 GMT today. It warns No one can guarantee that any course of action in Iraq at this point will stop sectarian warfare, growing violence, or a slide toward chaos.

The Report opens with plea for open debate and the formation of a consensus in the United States about the policy towards the Middle East.

The Report is highly critical of almost every aspect of the present policy of the Executive towards Iraq and it urges an immediate change of direction. First among its 78 recommendations is that a new diplomatic initiative should be taken before the end of this year to secure Iraq’s borders against hostile interventions and to re-establish diplomatic relations with its neighbors.

The Group points out that it is in the interest of its neighbors, that there should be stability in Iraq. To this end, it proposes the formation of an Iraq International Support Group to include not only those countries, but also key states in the region, the member states of the UN Security Council and other countries such as Germany, Japan and South Korea. The US contribution should be led at least by the Secretary of State or even the President himself. Urgent attention should be directed to establishing Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts.

The Study Group recognizes that the establishment of permanent US military bases in Iraq would be a major impediment to establishing stability in the country. The role of the armed forces should be redefined and between 10,000 and 20,000 troops (compared with 3,000 to 4,000 now) should be deployed to the task of developing the combat capability of Iraq armed forces. The aim should be to withdraw all US combat forces early in 2008.

The Report is critical of the US intelligence services and urges that more resources should be devoted to training those about to serve in the theatre in the language and culture of the region. It asserted that government is still largely ignorant of the insurgency in Iraq or of the role of the militias.

The Group considered, but rejected, options involving the partitioning of Iraq and asserted the importance of creating and maintaining a democratically elected government of Iraq as an independent sovereign state.

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