A report citing the (ISG) Iraq study group and the (USIP) US Institute for Peace, calls for a 50% reduction in troop levels over the next 3 years. More importantly though, it calls for a HARD-LINE stance on Iran.
With some recent security improvements, the biggest problem facing the Bush administration and Iraq is the failure of politicians in Baghdad to reconcile Sunni and Shiite factions and pass critical laws to secure the fledgling new democracy. “The situation remains fluid, but a window has opened, fleetingly, for Iraq to proceed with political reconciliation. Iraq’s national politicians have been unable to take full advantage of this opportunity,” says the report, authored by USIP vice president Daniel Serwer.
The Baker-Hamilton report was most contentious because of its recommendations on diplomatic outreach to Iran and Syria. The new report says the United States should block Iranian attempts to control Iraqi politics and interdict its arms supplies to Iraqi militias, while also continuing to talk to Tehran directly and accommodating some Iranian interests in a neighboring state. “As long as the U.S. and Iran engage in a zero sum context for influence, Iraq will remain in turmoil and the U.S. will be bogged down,” the report warns.