Iraq Report Delivered

December 6, 2006

As was expected, the Iraq Study Group has advocated training more Iraqi forces and engaging in diplomacy with Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Syria. The report also favors gradually getting US combat troops out of Iraq. Its assessment of the situation in Iraq as “deteriorating” and says that Bush’ policy is “not working.”

It remains to be seen what the reaction of the US executive will be to the report it commissioned. Change in policy is likely, because of President Bush’s Secretary of State nominee Robert Gates. Gates’ discourse has differed from his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, and he has said that the US is “not winning” in Iraq. That seems to be in line with the Iraq Study Group’s report, which sees the situation in Iraq as “grave and deteriorating.”

Whether the US is in a stand-off with Iran and Syria or not, it will have to welcome some sort of dialogue with Iraq’s neighbors. After all, Iran has already initiated a process of dialogue within the region, with Iraqi President Talabani visiting Iran and meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad and spiritual leader Khamenei. Iraq and Syria have also taken a step towards regional diplomacy by resuming diplomatic relations, which were cut off when Syria supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. Iran and Syria also have influence over different factions in Iraq; Iran is an influential Shi’a voice, while Syria’s population is mostly Sunni (despite its Alawite leadership). Syria may also come to play a bigger regional role, if it is successful in acting with diplomacy in the current political stand-off in Lebanon.

One of the report’s contentious points is suggesting to cut off US aid and military support if the Iraqi government does not reach certain targets. While this may be effective as putting necessary pressure on Iraq, it would also contravene with Bush’s “stay the course” dogma.

President Bush has not said if he will act on the report’s suggestions, saying that he will take them into serious consideration.


6 Responses to “Iraq Report Delivered”

  1. J Says:

    It’s over for Bush. Look for him to return to drinking and coking, if he hasn’t already.

  2. unitedcats Says:

    Sadly it’s over for millions of people in the Middle East as well, it will take decades to fix the mess Bush has created in Iraq. This report is just re-arrnaging deck chairs on the Titanic, too little too late.


  3. lightcontrast Says:

    These are recommendations, only. Bush said today that he doesn’t have to follow all of them. He won’t talk with Iran and Syria, no surprise. He said again, “We will prevail.” Gosh, can he say anything else? He tries so hard to convince people that the US is winning, but nobody is buying it so he should just stop with the confident talk about victory and completing the mission.

  4. J Says:

    I suspect at least part of Bush’s bravado is aimed directly at troops on the ground over in Iraq. Keeping them somewhat motivated in that hellish environment has got to be an incredible challenge. I hope that’s what he’s trying to do, but only Bush knows for sure what goes on in his tiny mind. It’s so depressing, sad, sickening, horrific, you choose the word/emotion.

  5. lightcontrast Says:

    Bush also has to keep up morale so that more recruits will join the military and he has to try to pacify mothers who are concerned about their boys going to Iraq.

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