"Staying the Course in Iraq Simply Will Not Work"
News Brief – December 5, 2006
Iraq Study Group’s Recommendations Likely to Worry Israel
Some of the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations are likely to irk the neocons and run counter to many of President Bush’s recent public pronouncements. The group’s proposal that the US hold direct talks with Iran and Syria in particular is likely to meet opposition from the neocons.
In addition the Group also proposed increasing the number of U.S. troops dedicated to training the Iraqi military and ending political divisions in Washington to prevent the conflict from disintegrating further, according to White House spokesman Tony Snow.
Quoting directly from the report, Snow said that the Iraq Study Group recommended that the US; ``engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues.''
How this will play with the neocons, whom until now have largely shaped US policy on Iraq, remains to be seen.
Entitled ``The Way Forward,'' the report contains 79 recommendations for Bush to consider. It outlines the ``consequences of continued decline'' in Iraq. ``Many Americans are dissatisfied, not just with the situation in Iraq, but with the state of our political debate regarding Iraq,'' the report states, according to Snow.
``There is not a recommendation for immediate withdrawal,'' Snow said. ``There is a recommendation that we do a surge in terms of increasing as rapidly as possible the number of forces working as embeds'' to help train Iraqi forces, Snow said.
Although the report did not call for an immediate pullout from Iraq, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the commission recommended withdrawing almost all combat troops from Iraq by 2008, leaving behind thousands of trainers and advisers to work with the Iraqi military.
It also remains to be seen how George Bush’s chief ally over Iraq, Tony Blair will react.
Until now Tony Blair has assiduously followed the US lead in the “War on Terror”. Asked earlier today by the Tory Party leader if he agreed with the assessment of the incoming US Defence Secretary that the war in Iraq is not being won, Tony Blair replied: “Of course”.
Last updated 07/12/2006