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Comments on

II. The Way Forward -- A New Approach

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I see the design of this section as significant and generally well conceived. The ISG here prioritizes the tasks required in the broad regional (and international) scene over those required in the internal, inside-Iraq scene. I think that’s quite right for two main reasons:

(1) Let’s face it, there really is not much at all that the US can even hope to achieve inside Iraq these days. Anyway, it should not even really try. Everything iot’s done there over the past three years has made things worse, and nationwide Iraqi polls show that the large majority of Iraqis are now simply eager for the US troops to leave

(2) But what must– and perhaps can– be done is to try to “hold the ring” among all of Iraq’s six neighbors, to try to maximize the chances that (a) they don’t all escalate their interventions inside Iraq and turn the country into even more of an imbroglio than it now is, and (b) that the large inter-group conflicts there don’t spill out and en-”gulf” this whole region in a horrendous shooting war.