News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraq Study Group to unveil report on December 6

Iraq Study Group to unveil report on December 6

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Reuters: The Iraq Study Group, an independent, bipartisan panel charged with evaluating U.S. policy in Iraq, will release its much-anticipated report on December 6, a source close to the group said on Wednesday. By Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Iraq Study Group, an independent, bipartisan panel charged with evaluating U.S. policy in Iraq, will release its much-anticipated report on December 6, a source close to the group said on Wednesday.

“On December 6 the Iraq Study Group will present its report to President George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress and the American people,” said the source, who spoke on condition that he not be named.

Bush, whose Republicans lost control of the U.S. Congress last month due largely to the president’s handling of the Iraq war, is under strong pressure for a major shift in course, and many in Washington hope the report will provide an impetus for change.

The source declined comment on what recommendations may be offered by the 10-member group, which is led by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, or on whether the group had achieved consensus.

The recommendations put forward by the group are likely to carry considerable weight with the White House, and the public, if the five Republicans and five Democrats can come up with a unanimous view of a way forward for the United States in Iraq.

The group has considered a number of options, including the possibility of the United States holding talks with Iran and Syria about influencing the warring groups in Iraq. The White House is reluctant to hold such talks with either government.

The group has also been discussing a gradual drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq. Some Democrats have urged a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq beginning in four to six months.

Bush has been adamantly opposed to a phased withdrawal, and reiterated his position again on Tuesday in a speech at the University of Latvia. “There is one thing I’m not going to do. I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete,” he said.

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