EXCERPTS

Iraq Study Group Report

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006; 1:30 PM

The following are excerpts from the Iraq Study Group report released Dec. 6, 2006:

Facts on the Ground

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating . . . [the government] is not adequately advancing national reconciliation, providing basic security, or delivering essential services." (p. xiv)

"There is no guarantee for success in Iraq . . . There is great suffering, and the daily lives of many Iraqis show little or no improvement. Pessimism is pervasive . . . the ability of the United States to influence events . . . is diminishing." (p.1)

"The Iraqi government cannot now govern, sustain, and defend itself without the support of the United States. Iraqis have not been convinced that they must take responsibility for their own future. Iraq's neighbors and much of the international community have not been persuaded to play an active and constructive role." (p.32)

"U.S. forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end." (p.12)

"A collapse of Iraq's government and economy would further cripple a country already unable to meet its people's needs. Iraq's security forces could split along sectarian lines. A humanitarian catastrophe could follow . . . Ethnic cleansing could escalate. The Iraqi people could be subjected to another strongman who flexes the political and military muscle required to impose order amid anarchy." (p.33)

"The United Nations estimates that 1.6 million are displaced within Iraq, and up to 1.8 million Iraqis have fled the country." (p.4)

"Iraqis may become so sobered by the prospect of an unfolding civil war and intervention by their regional neighbors that they take the steps necessary to avert catastrophe. But at the moment, such a scenario seems implausible because the Iraqi people and their leaders have been slow to demonstrate the capacity or will to act." (p.36)

The Need for Diplomacy

"The United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries in the region. This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq's neighbors--Iran and Syria among them. Despite the well-known differences between many of these countries, they all share an interest in avoiding the horrific consequences that would flow from a chaotic Iraq, particularly a humanitarian catastrophe and regional destabilization." (page 43)

"Iraq's neighbors and key states in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and national reconciliation within Iraq, neither of which Iraq can achieve on its own." (p. xiv)

The U.S. Role

"There is no action the American military can take that, by itself, can bring about success in Iraq." (page 70)

"Because events in Iraq have been set in motion by American decisions and actions, the United States has both a national and a moral interest in doing what it can to give Iraqis an opportunity to avert anarchy." (p.2)


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