Quick thoughts as I’m reading over what’s been released so far:
On the plus side this report is not a recommendation to move out of Iraq; it’s explicitly a a recommendation for “moving forward” in Iraq.
On the negative side: It’s very mushy. Consider:
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.
On what basis can anyone conclude that Iran and Syria see it as “in their interest” to avoid chaos in Iraq?
If the US “has disincentives and incentives available” what are they?
Of course “Iran should stem the flow of arms” and Syria “should control its border with Iraq.” They have not done so, aren’t inclined to do so and this report appears to have no ideas how to make them do so – except to say it’s “in their interest.”
Bill Bennett is of course right re Israel. The report is mushy there, too. The report suggests direct talks with Palestinians “who accept Israel’s right to exist.” Well, that eliminates Hamas which was elected as the Palestinian government.
And why include Syria at this point? Syria, beyond facilitating the killing of Americans in Iraq, is supporting Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that does not accept Israel’s right to exist and also is actively undermining Lebanon’s freedom and independence.