Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report (Updated)

I am in the process of reading the Iraq Study Group Report and will try to dissect it as I go but just a perfunctory reading of the Executive Summary gives me more than just a pause. It seems to run a long gamut from Iraq itself to recommendations of a dialog with Iran and Syria as serious "partners" in Iraq. It also brings in the Israeli/Palestinian question and that does not bode well for US/Israeli relations. Of course knowing James Bakers past thoughts on Israel and Jews in general, I can't say that surprises me. Nowhere is terms such as victory to be found. Stay tuned and read it for yourself. I would be interested in any comments regarding your reading and interpretations.
Now this is earth shaking news...

The challenges in Iraq are complex. Violence is increasing
in scope and lethality. It is fed by a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shiite
militias and death squads, al Qaeda, and widespread criminality.
Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability....If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences
could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse
of Iraq’s government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring
countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could
spread. Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand
its base of operations. The global standing of the United States
could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.
Then we have this jaw dropper:

Given the ability of Iran and Syria to influence events
within Iraq and their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq, the
United States should try to engage them constructively.

I'm not even well into the 4th page of the Executive Summary. This is going to be a page turner for sure.
(Update) Ed at Captains Quarters has a couple of very good posts about the ISG Report here and here. And NZ Bear has the report converted to HTML format here.

So far it seems to be as advertised but does have some good ideas that will mostly be overlooked by the media and the casual reader. I'll come back to those in a later post but lets just look at this and digest it.
There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel’s right to exist), and particularly Syria—which is the principal transit point for shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical Palestinian groups. ...

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

• Syria’s full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for
Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.
• Syria’s full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik
Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel’s problem with Hezbollah.)
• Syria’s use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force
• A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

Baker and company have been called "realists" in the past but if this is their idea of realism, a proposal that has no chance of happening, I would venture to say that they are more of the Pollyanna school than the school of realism. I guess their idea of success is to cooperate with our enemies and hope for the best while calling a defeat a success and walking away claiming victory. More later. I'm reading this missive again and suggest you do the same. It is not as long as it seems, several blank pages, addendum and lists of members etc. and the meat is double spaced to make it look more impressive a tome than it is.