Assyria: Watershed US Report On Iraq Set for Release
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A high-level independent
The Iraq Study Group is expected to urge President George W. Bush on Wednesday, to engage both
The non-binding report by a bipartisan panel of 10 veteran Washington insiders co-led by former secretary of state James Baker comes more than three-and-a-half years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have since been killed in bloody sectarian fighting between factions of the Shiite majority and the once-dominant Sunnis.
Fighters from abroad, mostly with Al-Qaeda in
The panel recommends that
The report will also call on
Many of the panel members have concluded that the
Leaked news of the report in US media suggests there will be no rigid timetable for withdrawing US troops, but implies that their presence is not open-ended.
The report comes one day after the man nominated to be the next
A senator asked Gates, CIA director from 1991 through January 1993, whether he thought
Gates, set to replace the embattled Donald Rumsfeld in January, said he worried
"My greatest worry, if we mishandle the next year or two, and if we leave Iraq in chaos... a variety of regional powers will become involved in Iraq and we will have a regional conflict on our hands," he said.
Gates was a member of the Iraq Study Group until Bush picked him to succeed Rumsfeld in early November. He told the senators that he was willing to consider new strategies and tactics -- and also suggested that the Iraq Study Group report contains little new.
"It's my impression that, frankly, there are no new ideas on
"And the question is: Is there a way to put pieces of those different proposals together in a way that provides a path forward?"
Gates also rejected military action against
Despite the hype it is unclear how open the Bush administration will be to the panel's recommendations.
The president, who has commissioned other government reviews of Iraq policy, has rejected engaging Syria and Iran and insists that US troops will not leave Iraq until their "mission is complete."
The White House sought to play down expectations, stressing that the report is just one set of recommendations for the president as he considers possible course changes in
Baker gave Bush a personal preview of the report on Tuesday, and will formally hand the recommendations over at the White House at 1200 GMT.
The Congress-mandated Iraq Study Group was created in March to study the situation in
"We will agree on a charter of honor to end the shedding of Iraqi blood and the sectarian conflict," Maliki told reporters Tuesday.
And Major General William Caldwell, spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, unveiled the details of an "accelerated timetable" for Iraqis to take over security duties in their country, agreed last week by Bush and Maliki .
"We would expect to see the entire country having reached Iraqi provincial control by the fall of next year,"
Currently only two of
Sectarian and insurgent violence has continued unabated in