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Iraq Study Group Says Iraq Policy A "Failure"

December 6th, 2006

Washington, D.C. - A bipartisan "Iraq Study Group", headed by James Baker, has suggested the United States withdraw its forces from combat in Iraq and launch a diplomatic effort, including Iran and Syria, to prevent "a slide toward chaos" in the country.

A bipartisan Iraq Study Group, headed by James Baker, has suggested the United States withdraw its forces from combat in Iraq and launch a diplomatic effort, including Iran and Syria, to prevent a slide toward chaos in the country.

It also called for the Bush administration to try diplomacy with Iran and Syria and to press for a "comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace" to settle the disasterous conflict.

U.S. President George Bush claimed he would take the much-anticipated report "very seriously" after he met the group but he has made it clear he will not be bound by its ideas and said he has begun his own review of Iraq policy.

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," ... "There is no magic formula to solve the problems."

"Our most important recommendations call for new and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts in Iraq and the region and a change in the primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq that will enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly," the report said.

"The primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army, which would take over primary responsibility for combat operations," the also report said.

"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 ... al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory," the report said. "This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq," Bush said after meeting with the group. "I told the members that this report, called 'The Way Forward,' will be taken very seriously by this administration."

"This could provoke an earthquake and leave the president very isolated if he refuses to change course," said Jon Alterman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Reuters quoted. Meanwhile in Baghdad, another 21 American soldiers have been killed in the past 6 days which pushes the total to over 2,900.

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