ISG Report

Posted by on December 7, 2006

***UPDATE*** I’m changing the link to point to TLB’s HTML version. One thing TLB found while creating the HTML version of the report was the keywords included in the original PDF. Quite interesting:

As most folks are aware by now, I’ve posted a HTML version of the Iraq Study Group Report here. Why? Because a monolithic PDF document is rather unwieldy, and makes it difficult for bloggers to comment on particular sections of the document and refer their readers to that exact section.

So there you go. But in creating the HTML version, I also spent some time with the PDF file published by the ISG itself. And I found something interesting — if depressing — buried inside the file.

Adobe’s PDF format allows the author of a document to save keywords in the Properties of the file. These should be words that capture the sense of the document, and words that people might use to search for the document.

So here are the keywords defined by the Iraq Study Group for their report:

iraq study group report james baker lee hamilton co chairs middle east congress bipartisan strategies president bush america abroad military withdrawal troops civil war iraqi government sunni shia kurds christian sectarian violence conflict post-conflict

Yes, that’s right. If you’re looking for “withdrawal”, this is the document for you. If you happen to be looking for “victory”, however — you are out of luck.

I haven’t read the entire report as yet(no…not even Slate’s version of it)…I have it but haven’t finished reading it. From the snippets I’ve heard about I can say that I’m not at all surprised in general…with a slight bit of concern that Larry Eagleburger would be in agreement on the matter.

One thing does concern me, and that I have both heard about(Right Wing Radio is going nuts on this) and have read in the report is the suggestion that we bring Syria and Iran to the table to help “build Iraq”.

The Executive Summary of the report says:

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. In
seeking to influence the behavior of both countries, the United
States has disincentives and incentives available. Iran should
stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraq’s sovereignty
and territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi
Shia groups to encourage national reconciliation. The issue of
Iran’s nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the
five permanent members of the United Nations Security
Council plus Germany. Syria should control its border with
Iraq to stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in
and out of Iraq.

“their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq”???? HUH? Did I REALLY READ THAT? Yep…there it is in black and white…wow…MUST BE a clerical error. Typo…something. A buddy of mine brought back (and committed a SERIOUS crime in the process) syrian military IDs from Iraq. Anbar Province well into the interior of the country. I don’t think these guys were delivering humanitarian supplies.

“engage them constructively”? To what end exactly? They are already “engaged constructively” by building the world’s largest guerrilla movement! These guys have obviously not heard the President’s September 13th speech(I think it was the 13th) where he laid out the new rules for the American Diplomacy which is, put simply, Choose terrorism or not and act accordingly.

Recommendation 9 of the ISG:

RECOMMENDATION 9: Under the aegis of the New Diplomatic
Offensive and the Support Group, the United States
should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to
obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq
and other regional issues. In engaging Syria and Iran, the
United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives,
in seeking constructive results.

I love the “commitment to constructive policies” bit. Syria and Iran HAVE a commitment to constructive policies in Iraq…they are seriously committed to their own “constructive policies” which includes keeping ANY democratic government on it’s heels. Until a Syrian puppet government is installed Aasad will not be happy.

So…just from the bit I have read I have to agree with Mr. Fernandez of Belmont Club and PJM fame.

In sum, the ISG makes an attempt to reduce tensions in Iraq by engaging the parties responsible for the problem, but not in a way that obviously reduces their incentives to compete. The study reiterates the need for a stable and defensible Iraq while inviting regional “involvement” and undertaking to move American strength elsewhere. The effort might succeed, though it is not obvious why anyone should expect it to.

Last modified on December 7, 2006

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