December 07, 2006


A way out of the Iraq mess

As I write, the Iraq Study Group is unveiling its report and recommendations for a way out of the mess that's gripped Iraq since the United States, the UK and other international partners invaded and occupied the country.

Not every option has been tried but, critically, there are two broad fronts: it calls on the United States to launch an immediate diplomatic offensive across the region. Specifically, that should involve talking to Syria and Iran.

We await with interest how the President responds to that, as it would seem pretty hard for him to stomach.

Further, it makes the point that America's objectives in the Middle East and Gulf cannot be achieved without a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement. But does the USA, Israel's sponsor-in-chief, actually have the capacity to deliver on that?

Back in Iraq - as the civil wars (both civil and resistance to foreign occupation) continue, co-author James Baker and his team are clearly pointing to what the Americans would call a draw-down of forces to a largely training and containing role before they get up and leave for good: combat troops out by early 2008 is their proposal.

The stakes couldn't be higher. The situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating" says the Report, painting a picture of terrifying prospects should the slide continue: a collapse of Government in Iraq and a humanitarian catastrophe, intervention by neighbouring countries sparking a wider regional conflagration between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and a resurgent al-Qaeda.

Much for the newly-led Pentagon and incumbent-led White House to chew on - but are they solutions they can swallow and stomach?

We'll hear from Jon in Baghdad, and Lindsey Hilsum in Washington.



BigDog said...

The Baker report is a muddled reiteration of what most democrats, some republicans and even Rumsfeld and the pentagon have been saying for years.

Some people don't seem to grasp that Rumsfeld's strategy was to minimize the US presence in Iraq and make the Iraqies deal with insurgents. When they get knocked down, they pick themselves back up and try again, having learned from their defeat. Its messy and takes a long time but minimizes US casualties while creating a government that can stand on its own.

This commission and report is hardly a saving godsend for those opposed to the war as much as they would love to think so.

DAVE BONES said...

I think it is in line with the opinion of most, who whilst not being against the removal of Saddam Hussain have never the less been opposed to the way Rumsfeld was carrying it out.

As you know, this includes a lot of people in the military.

I don't think its insurgents who are particularly the problem for Iraqis anymore as Bahgdad goes further the way of Yougoslavia every day.

DAVE BONES said...

Sorry, that sounded really combative.

Nice to hear from you again, hope all is OK.

I hope this is an opportunity for us all to try and involve ourselves in some sort of solution.

I think we should just throw money at poor people. Inject morphine into a few economies. Give Palestinians something they want which is worth doing.

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