The Iraq Study Group Report
by United States Institute for Peace
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3. Dealing with Iran and Syria

Dealing with Iran and Syria is controversial. Nevertheless, it is our view that in diplomacy, a nation can and should engage its adversaries and enemies to try to resolve conflicts and differences consistent with its own interests. Accordingly, the Support Group should actively engage Iran and Syria in its diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions.

The Study Group recognizes that U.S. relationships with Iran and Syria involve difficult issues that must be resolved. Diplomatic talks should be extensive and substantive, and they will require a balancing of interests. The United States has diplomatic, economic, and military disincentives available in approaches to both Iran and Syria. However, the United States should also consider incentives to try to engage them constructively, much as it did successfully with Libya.

Some of the possible incentives to Iran, Syria, or both include:

i. An Iraq that does not disintegrate and destabilize its neighbors and the region.

ii. The continuing role of the United States in preventing the Taliban from destabilizing Afghanistan.

iii. Accession to international organizations, including the World Trade Organization.

iv. Prospects for enhanced diplomatic relations with the United States.

v. The prospect of a U.S. policy that emphasizes political and economic reforms instead of (as Iran now perceives it) advocating regime change.

vi. Prospects for a real, complete, and secure peace to be negotiated between Israel and Syria, with U.S. involvement as part of a broader initiative on Arab-Israeli peace as outlined below.

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.

IRAN. Engaging Iran is problematic, especially given the state of the U.S.-Iranian relationship. Yet the United States and Iran cooperated in Afghanistan, and both sides should explore whether this model can be replicated in the case of Iraq.

Although Iran sees it in its interest to have the United States bogged down in Iraq, Iran's interests would not be served by a failure of U.S. policy in Iraq that led to chaos and the territorial disintegration of the Iraqi state. Iran's population is slightly more than 50 percent Persian, but it has a large Azeri minority (24 percent of the population) as well as Kurdish and Arab minorities. Worst-case scenarios in Iraq could inflame sectarian tensions within Iran, with serious consequences for Iranian national security interests.

Our limited contacts with Iran's government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.

Nevertheless, as one of Iraq's neighbors Iran should be asked to assume its responsibility to participate in the Support Group. An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Iran's rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation. Further, Iran's refusal to cooperate on this matter would diminish its prospects of engaging with the United States in the broader dialogue it seeks.

RECOMMENDATION 10: The issue of Iran's nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members (i.e., the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany.

RECOMMENDATION 11: Diplomatic efforts within the Support Group should seek to persuade Iran that it should take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq.

Among steps Iran could usefully take are the following:

—Iran should stem the flow of equipment, technology, and training to any group resorting to violence in Iraq.

—Iran should make clear its support for the territorial integrity of Iraq as a unified state, as well as its respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and its government.

—Iran can use its influence, especially over Shia groups in Iraq, to encourage national reconciliation.

—Iran can also, in the right circumstances, help in the economic reconstruction of Iraq.

SYRIA. Although the U.S.-Syrian relationship is at a low point, both countries have important interests in the region that could be enhanced if they were able to establish some common ground on how to move forward. This approach worked effectively in the early 1990s. In this context, Syria's national interests in the Arab-Israeli dispute are important and can be brought into play.

Syria can make a major contribution to Iraq's stability in several ways. Accordingly, the Study Group recommends the following:

RECOMMENDATION 12: The United States and the Support Group should encourage and persuade Syria of the merit of such contributions as the following:

—Syria can control its border with Iraq to the maximum extent possible and work together with Iraqis on joint patrols on the border. Doing so will help stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.

—Syria can establish hotlines to exchange information with the Iraqis.

—Syria can increase its political and economic cooperation with Iraq.

4. The Wider Regional Context

The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and particularly Syria—which is the principal transit point for shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical Palestinian groups.

The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. For several reasons, we should act boldly:

—There is no military solution to this conflict.

—The vast majority of the Israeli body politic is tired of being a nation perpetually at war.

—No American administration—Democratic or Republican—will ever abandon Israel.

—Political engagement and dialogue are essential in the Arab-Israeli dispute because it is an axiom that when the political process breaks down there will be violence on the ground.

—The only basis on which peace can be achieved is that set forth in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and in the principle of "land for peace."

—The only lasting and secure peace will be a negotiated peace such as Israel has achieved with Egypt and Jordan.

This effort would strongly support moderate Arab governments in the region, especially the democratically elected government of Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas.

RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include—as soon as possible—the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel's right to exist) on the other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate tracks—one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be: be:

—Syria's full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.

—Syria's full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.

—A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel's problem with Hezbollah.)

—Syria's use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.

—A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

—A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.

—A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel's right to exist.

—Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.

RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include:

—Adherence to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and to the principle of land for peace, which are the only bases for achieving peace.

—Strong support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to take the lead in preparing the way for negotiations with Israel.

—A major effort to move from the current hostilities by consolidating the cease-fire reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis in November 2006.

—Support for a Palestinian national unity government.

—Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush's two-state solution, which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.


At the same time, we must not lose sight of the importance of the situation inside Afghanistan and the renewed threat posed by the Taliban. Afghanistan's borders are porous. If the Taliban were to control more of Afghanistan, it could provide al Qaeda the political space to conduct terrorist operations. This development would destabilize the region and have national security implications for the United States and other countries around the world. Also, the significant increase in poppy production in Afghanistan fuels the illegal drug trade and narco-terrorism.

The huge focus of U.S. political, military, and economic support on Iraq has necessarily diverted attention from Afghanistan. As the United States develops its approach toward Iraq and the Middle East, it must also give priority to the situation in Afghanistan. Doing so may require increased political, security, and military measures.

RECOMMENDATION 18: It is critical for the United States to provide additional political, economic, and military support for Afghanistan, including resources that might become available as combat forces are moved from Iraq.

B. The Internal Approach: Helping Iraqis Help Themselves

The New Diplomatic Offensive will provide the proper external environment and support for the difficult internal steps that the Iraqi government must take to promote national reconciliation, establish security, and make progress on governance.

The most important issues facing Iraq's future are now the responsibility of Iraq's elected leaders. Because of the security and assistance it provides, the United States has a significant role to play. Yet only the government and people of Iraq can make and sustain certain decisions critical to Iraq's future.

1. Performance on Milestones

The United States should work closely with Iraq's leaders to support the achievement of specific objectives—or milestones—on national reconciliation, security, and governance. Miracles cannot be expected, but the people of Iraq have the right to expect action and progress. The Iraqi government needs to show its own citizens—and the citizens of the United States and other countries—that it deserves continued support.

The U.S. government must make clear that it expects action by the Iraqi government to make substantial progress toward these milestones. Such a message can be sent only at the level of our national leaders, and only in person, during direct consultation.

As President Bush's meeting with Prime Minister Maliki in Amman, Jordan demonstrates, it is important for the President to remain in close and frequent contact with the Iraqi leadership. There is no substitute for sustained dialogue at the highest levels of government.

During these high-level exchanges, the United States should lay out an agenda for continued support to help Iraq achieve milestones, as well as underscoring the consequences if Iraq does not act. It should be unambiguous that continued U.S. political, military, and economic support for Iraq depends on the Iraqi government's demonstrating political will and making substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance. The transfer of command and control over Iraqi security forces units from the United States to Iraq should be influenced by Iraq's performance on milestones.

The United States should also signal that it is seeking broad international support for Iraq on behalf of achieving these milestones. The United States can begin to shape a positive climate for its diplomatic efforts, internationally and within Iraq, through public statements by President Bush that reject the notion that the United States seeks to control Iraq's oil, or seeks permanent military bases within Iraq. However, the United States could consider a request from Iraq for temporary bases.

RECOMMENDATION 19: The President and the leadership of his national security team should remain in close and frequent contact with the Iraqi leadership. These contacts must convey a clear message: there must be action by the Iraqi government to make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones. In public diplomacy, the President should convey as much detail as possible about the substance of these exchanges in order to keep the American people, the Iraqi people, and the countries in the region well informed.

RECOMMENDATION 20: If the Iraqi government demonstrates political will and makes substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should make clear its willingness to continue training, assistance, and support for Iraq's security forces, and to continue political, military, and economic support for the Iraqi government. As Iraq becomes more capable of governing, defending, and sustaining itself, the U.S. military and civilian presence in Iraq can be reduced.

RECOMMENDATION 21: If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.

RECOMMENDATION 23: The President should restate that the United States does not seek to control Iraq's oil.

Milestones for Iraq

The government of Iraq understands that dramatic steps are necessary to avert a downward spiral and make progress. Prime Minister Maliki has worked closely in consultation with the United States and has put forward the following milestones in the key areas of national reconciliation, security and governance:


By the end of 2006-early 2007:

Approval of the Provincial Election Law and setting an election date

Approval of the Petroleum Law

Approval of the De-Baathification Law

Approval of the Militia Law

By March 2007:

A referendum on constitutional amendments (if it is necessary)

By May 2007:

Completion of Militia Law implementation

Approval of amnesty agreement

Completion of reconciliation efforts

By June 2007:

Provincial elections

SECURITY (pending joint U.S.-Iraqi review)

By the end of 2006:

Iraqi increase of 2007 security spending over 2006 levels

By April 2007:

Iraqi control of the Army

By September 2007:

Iraqi control of provinces

By December 2007:

Iraqi security self-reliance (with U.S. support)


By the end of 2006:

The Central Bank of Iraq will raise interest rates to 20 percent and appreciate the Iraqi dinar by 10 percent to combat accelerating inflation.

Iraq will continue increasing domestic prices for refined petroleum products and sell imported fuel at market prices.

RECOMMENDATION 24: The contemplated completion dates of the end of 2006 or early 2007 for some milestones may not be realistic. These should be completed by the first quarter of 2007.

RECOMMENDATION 25: These milestones are a good start. The United States should consult closely with the Iraqi government and develop additional milestones in three areas: national reconciliation, security, and improving government services affecting the daily lives of Iraqis. As with the current milestones, these additional milestones should be tied to calendar dates to the fullest extent possible.

2. National Reconciliation

National reconciliation is essential to reduce further violence and maintain the unity of Iraq.

U.S. forces can help provide stability for a time to enable Iraqi leaders to negotiate political solutions, but they cannot stop the violence—or even contain it—if there is no underlying political agreement among Iraqis about the future of their country.

The Iraqi government must send a clear signal to Sunnis that there is a place for them in national life. The government needs to act now, to give a signal of hope. Unless Sunnis believe they can get a fair deal in Iraq through the political process, there is no prospect that the insurgency will end. To strike this fair deal, the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people must address several issues that are critical to the success of national reconciliation and thus to the future of Iraq.

Steps for Iraq to Take on Behalf of National Reconciliation

RECOMMENDATION 26: Constitution review. Review of the constitution is essential to national reconciliation and should be pursued on an urgent basis. The United Nations has expertise in this field, and should play a role in this process.

RECOMMENDATION 27: De-Baathification. Political reconciliation requires the reintegration of Baathists and Arab nationalists into national life, with the leading figures of Saddam Hussein's regime excluded. The United States should encourage the return of qualified Iraqi professionals—Sunni or Shia, nationalist or ex-Baathist, Kurd or Turkmen or Christian or Arab—into the government.

RECOMMENDATION 28: Oil revenue sharing. Oil revenues should accrue to the central government and be shared on the basis of population. No formula that gives control over revenues from future fields to the regions or gives control of oil fields to the regions is compatible with national reconciliation.

RECOMMENDATION 29: Provincial elections. Provincial elections should be held at the earliest possible date. Under the constitution, new provincial elections should have been held already. They are necessary to restore representative government.

RECOMMENDATION 30: Kirkuk. Given the very dangerous situation in Kirkuk, international arbitration is necessary to avert communal violence. Kirkuk's mix of Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen populations could make it a powder keg. A referendum on the future of Kirkuk (as required by the Iraqi Constitution before the end of 2007) would be explosive and should be delayed. This issue should be placed on the agenda of the International Iraq Support Group as part of the New Diplomatic Offensive.

RECOMMENDATION 31: Amnesty. Amnesty proposals must be far-reaching. Any successful effort at national reconciliation must involve those in the government finding ways and means to reconcile with former bitter enemies.

RECOMMENDATION 32: Minorities. The rights of women and the rights of all minority communities in Iraq, including Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Yazidis, Sabeans, and Armenians, must be protected.

RECOMMENDATION 33: Civil society. The Iraqi government should stop using the process of registering nongovernmental organizations as a tool for politicizing or stopping their activities. Registration should be solely an administrative act, not an occasion for government censorship and interference.

Steps for the United States to Take on Behalf of National Reconciliation

The United States can take several steps to assist in Iraq's reconciliation process.

The presence of U.S. forces in Iraq is a key topic of interest in a national reconciliation dialogue. The point is not for the United States to set timetables or deadlines for withdrawal, an approach that we oppose. The point is for the United States and Iraq to make clear their shared interest in the orderly departure of U.S. forces as Iraqi forces take on the security mission. A successful national reconciliation dialogue will advance that departure date.

RECOMMENDATION 34: The question of the future U.S. force presence must be on the table for discussion as the national reconciliation dialogue takes place. Its inclusion will increase the likelihood of participation by insurgents and militia leaders, and thereby increase the possibilities for success.

Violence cannot end unless dialogue begins, and the dialogue must involve those who wield power, not simply those who hold political office. The United States must try to talk directly to Grand Ayatollah Sistani and must consider appointing a high-level American Shia Muslim to serve as an emissary to him. The United States must also try to talk directly to Moqtada al-Sadr, to militia leaders, and to insurgent leaders. The United Nations can help facilitate contacts.

RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insurgent leaders.

The very focus on sectarian identity that endangers Iraq also presents opportunities to seek broader support for a national reconciliation dialogue. Working with Iraqi leaders, the international community and religious leaders can play an important role in fostering dialogue and reconciliation across the sectarian divide. The United States should actively encourage the constructive participation of all who can take part in advancing national reconciliation within Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 36: The United States should encourage dialogue between sectarian communities, as outlined in the New Diplomatic Offensive above. It should press religious leaders inside and outside Iraq to speak out on behalf of peace and reconciliation.

Finally, amnesty proposals from the Iraqi government are an important incentive in reconciliation talks and they need to be generous. Amnesty proposals to once-bitter enemies will be difficult for the United States to accept, just as they will be difficult for the Iraqis to make. Yet amnesty is an issue to be grappled with by the Iraqis, not by Americans. Despite being politically unpopular—in the United States as well as in Iraq—amnesty is essential if progress is to take place. Iraqi leaders need to be certain that they have U.S. support as they move forward with this critical element of national reconciliation.

RECOMMENDATION 37: Iraqi amnesty proposals must not be undercut in Washington by either the executive or the legislative branch.

Militias and National Reconciliation

The use of force by the government of Iraq is appropriate and necessary to stop militias that act as death squads or use violence against institutions of the state. However, solving the problem of militias requires national reconciliation.

Dealing with Iraq's militias will require long-term attention, and substantial funding will be needed to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate militia members into civilian society. Around the world, this process of transitioning members of irregular military forces from civil conflict to new lives once a peace settlement takes hold is familiar. The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of militias depends on national reconciliation and on confidence-building measures among the parties to that reconciliation.

Both the United Nations and expert and experienced nongovernmental organizations, especially the International Organization for Migration, must be on the ground with appropriate personnel months before any program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate militia members begins. Because the United States is a party to the conflict, the U.S. military should not be involved in implementing such a program. Yet U.S. financial and technical support is crucial.

RECOMMENDATION 38: The United States should support the presence of neutral international experts as advisors to the Iraqi government on the processes of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration.

RECOMMENDATION 39: The United States should provide financial and technical support and establish a single office in Iraq to coordinate assistance to the Iraqi government and its expert advisors to aid a program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate militia members.

3. Security and Military Forces

A Military Strategy for Iraq

There is no action the American military can take that, by itself, can bring about success in Iraq. But there are actions that the U.S. and Iraqi governments, working together, can and should take to increase the probability of avoiding disaster there, and increase the chance of success.

The Iraqi government should accelerate the urgently needed national reconciliation program to which it has already committed. And it should accelerate assuming responsibility for Iraqi security by increasing the number and quality of Iraqi Army brigades. As the Iraqi Army increases in size and capability, the Iraqi government should be able to take real responsibility for governance.

While this process is under way, and to facilitate it, the United States should significantly increase the number of U.S. military personnel, including combat troops, imbedded in and supporting Iraqi Army units. As these actions proceed, we could begin to move combat forces out of Iraq. The primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army, which would take over primary responsibility for combat operations. We should continue to maintain support forces, rapid-reaction forces, special operations forces, intelligence units, search-and-rescue units, and force protection units.

While the size and composition of the Iraqi Army is ultimately a matter for the Iraqi government to determine, we should be firm on the urgent near-term need for significant additional trained Army brigades, since this is the key to Iraqis taking over full responsibility for their own security, which they want to do and which we need them to do. It is clear that they will still need security assistance from the United States for some time to come as they work to achieve political and security changes.

One of the most important elements of our support would be the imbedding of substantially more U.S. military personnel in all Iraqi Army battalions and brigades, as well as within Iraqi companies. U.S. personnel would provide advice, combat assistance, and staff assistance. The training of Iraqi units by the United States has improved and should continue for the coming year. In addition to this training, Iraqi combat units need supervised on-the-job training as they move to field operations. This on-the-job training could be best done by imbedding more U.S. military personnel in Iraqi deployed units. The number of imbedded personnel would be based on the recommendation of our military commanders in Iraq, but it should be large enough to accelerate the development of a real combat capability in Iraqi Army units. Such a mission could involve 10,000 to 20,000 American troops instead of the 3,000 to 4,000 now in this role. This increase in imbedded troops could be carried out without an aggregate increase over time in the total number of troops in Iraq by making a corresponding decrease in troops assigned to U.S. combat brigades.

Another mission of the U.S. military would be to assist Iraqi deployed brigades with intelligence, transportation, air support, and logistics support, as well as providing some key equipment.

A vital mission of the U.S. military would be to maintain rapid-reaction teams and special operations teams. These teams would be available to undertake strike missions against al Qaeda in Iraq when the opportunity arises, as well as for other missions considered vital by the U.S. commander in Iraq.

The performance of the Iraqi Army could also be significantly improved if it had improved equipment. One source could be equipment left behind by departing U.S. units. The quickest and most effective way for the Iraqi Army to get the bulk of their equipment would be through our Foreign Military Sales program, which they have already begun to use.

While these efforts are building up, and as additional Iraqi brigades are being deployed, U.S. combat brigades could begin to move out of Iraq. By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq. At that time, U.S. combat forces in Iraq could be deployed only in units embedded with Iraqi forces, in rapid-reaction and special operations teams, and in training, equipping, advising, force protection, and search and rescue. Intelligence and support efforts would continue. Even after the United States has moved all combat brigades out of Iraq, we would maintain a considerable military presence in the region, with our still significant force in Iraq and with our powerful air, ground, and naval deployments in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, as well as an increased presence in Afghanistan. These forces would be sufficiently robust to permit the United States, working with the Iraqi government, to accomplish four missions:

—Provide political reassurance to the Iraqi government in order to avoid its collapse and the disintegration of the country.

—Fight al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Iraq using special operations teams.

—Train, equip, and support the Iraqi security forces.

—Deter even more destructive interference in Iraq by Syria and Iran.

Because of the importance of Iraq to our regional security goals and to our ongoing fight against al Qaeda, we considered proposals to make a substantial increase (100,000 to 200,000) in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. We rejected this course because we do not believe that the needed levels are available for a sustained deployment. Further, adding more American troops could conceivably worsen those aspects of the security problem that are fed by the view that the U.S. presence is intended to be a long-term "occupation." We could, however, support a short-term redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission, if the U.S. commander in Iraq determines that such steps would be effective.

We also rejected the immediate withdrawal of our troops, because we believe that so much is at stake.

We believe that our recommended actions will give the Iraqi Army the support it needs to have a reasonable chance to take responsibility for Iraq's security. Given the ongoing deterioration in the security situation, it is urgent to move as quickly as possible to have that security role taken over by Iraqi security forces.

The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq for three compelling reasons.

First, and most importantly, the United States faces other security dangers in the world, and a continuing Iraqi commitment of American ground forces at present levels will leave no reserve available to meet other contingencies. On September 7, 2006, General James Jones, our NATO commander, called for more troops in Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are fighting a resurgence of al Qaeda and Taliban forces. The United States should respond positively to that request, and be prepared for other security contingencies, including those in Iran and North Korea.

Second, the long-term commitment of American ground forces to Iraq at current levels is adversely affecting Army readiness, with less than a third of the Army units currently at high readiness levels. The Army is unlikely to be able to meet the next rotation of troops in Iraq without undesirable changes in its deployment practices. The Army is now considering breaking its compact with the National Guard and Reserves that limits the number of years that these citizen-soldiers can be deployed. Behind this short-term strain is the longer-term risk that the ground forces will be impaired in ways that will take years to reverse.

And finally, an open-ended commitment of American forces would not provide the Iraqi government the incentive it needs to take the political actions that give Iraq the best chance of quelling sectarian violence. In the absence of such an incentive, the Iraqi government might continue to delay taking those difficult actions.

While it is clear that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is moderating the violence, there is little evidence that the long-term deployment of U.S. troops by itself has led or will lead to fundamental improvements in the security situation. It is important to recognize that there are no risk-free alternatives available to the United States at this time. Reducing our combat troop commitments in Iraq, whenever that occurs, undeniably creates risks, but leaving those forces tied down in Iraq indefinitely creates its own set of security risks.

RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 41: The United States must make it clear to the Iraqi government that the United States could carry out its plans, including planned redeployments, even if Iraq does not implement its planned changes. America's other security needs and the future of our military cannot be made hostage to the actions or inactions of the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 42: We should seek to complete the training and equipping mission by the first quarter of 2008, as stated by General George Casey on October 24, 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 43: Military priorities in Iraq must change, with the highest priority given to the training, equipping, advising, and support mission and to counterterrorism operations.

RECOMMENDATION 44: The most highly qualified U.S. officers and military personnel should be assigned to the imbedded teams, and American teams should be present with Iraqi units down to the company level. The U.S. military should establish suitable career-enhancing incentives for these officers and personnel.

RECOMMENDATION 45: The United States should support more and better equipment for the Iraqi Army by encouraging the Iraqi government to accelerate its Foreign Military Sales requests and, as American combat brigades move out of Iraq, by leaving behind some American equipment for Iraqi forces.

Restoring the U.S. Military

We recognize that there are other results of the war in Iraq that have great consequence for our nation. One consequence has been the stress and uncertainty imposed on our military—the most professional and proficient military in history. The United States will need its military to protect U.S. security regardless of what happens in Iraq. We therefore considered how to limit the adverse consequences of the strain imposed on our military by the Iraq war.

U.S. military forces, especially our ground forces, have been stretched nearly to the breaking point by the repeated deployments in Iraq, with attendant casualties (almost 3,000 dead and more than 21,000 wounded), greater difficulty in recruiting, and accelerated wear on equipment.

Additionally, the defense budget as a whole is in danger of disarray, as supplemental funding winds down and reset costs become clear. It will be a major challenge to meet ongoing requirements for other current and future security threats that need to be accommodated together with spending for operations and maintenance, reset, personnel, and benefits for active duty and retired personnel. Restoring the capability of our military forces should be a high priority for the United States at this time.

The U.S. military has a long tradition of strong partnership between the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense and the uniformed services. Both have long benefited from a relationship in which the civilian leadership exercises control with the advantage of fully candid professional advice, and the military serves loyally with the understanding that its advice has been heard and valued. That tradition has frayed, and civil-military relations need to be repaired.

RECOMMENDATION 46: The new Secretary of Defense should make every effort to build healthy civil-military relations, by creating an environment in which the senior military feel free to offer independent advice not only to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President and the National Security Council, as envisioned in the Goldwater-Nichols legislation.

RECOMMENDATION 47: As redeployment proceeds, the Pentagon leadership should emphasize training and education programs for the forces that have returned to the continental United States in order to "reset" the force and restore the U.S. military to a high level of readiness for global contingencies.

RECOMMENDATION 48: As equipment returns to the United States, Congress should appropriate sufficient funds to restore the equipment to full functionality over the next five years.

RECOMMENDATION 49: The administration, in full consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full future budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed investments in procurement and in research and development, and the budgets of other U.S. government agencies involved in the stability and reconstruction effort.

4. Police and Criminal Justice

The problems in the Iraqi police and criminal justice system are profound.

The ethos and training of Iraqi police forces must support the mission to "protect and serve" all Iraqis. Today, far too many Iraqi police do not embrace that mission, in part because of problems in how reforms were organized and implemented by the Iraqi and U.S. governments.

Recommended Iraqi Actions

Within Iraq, the failure of the police to restore order and prevent militia infiltration is due, in part, to the poor organization of Iraq's component police forces: the Iraqi National Police, the Iraqi Border Police, and the Iraqi Police Service.

The Iraqi National Police pursue a mission that is more military than domestic in nature—involving commando-style operations—and is thus ill-suited to the Ministry of the Interior. The more natural home for the National Police is within the Ministry of Defense, which should be the authority for counterinsurgency operations and heavily armed forces. Though depriving the Ministry of the Interior of operational forces, this move will place the Iraqi National Police under better and more rigorous Iraqi and U.S. supervision and will enable these units to better perform their counterinsurgency mission.

RECOMMENDATION 50: The entire Iraqi National Police should be transferred to the Ministry of Defense, where the police commando units will become part of the new Iraqi Army.

Similarly, the Iraqi Border Police are charged with a role that bears little resemblance to ordinary policing, especially in light of the current flow of foreign fighters, insurgents, and weaponry across Iraq's borders and the need for joint patrols of the border with foreign militaries. Thus the natural home for the Border Police is within the Ministry of Defense, which should be the authority for controlling Iraq's borders.

RECOMMENDATION 51: The entire Iraqi Border Police should be transferred to the Ministry of Defense, which would have total responsibility for border control and external security.

The Iraqi Police Service, which operates in the provinces and provides local policing, needs to become a true police force. It needs legal authority, training, and equipment to control crime and protect Iraqi citizens. Accomplishing those goals will not be easy, and the presence of American advisors will be required to help the Iraqis determine a new role for the police.

RECOMMENDATION 52: The Iraqi Police Service should be given greater responsibility to conduct criminal investigations and should expand its cooperation with other elements in the Iraqi judicial system in order to better control crime and protect Iraqi civilians.

In order to more effectively administer the Iraqi Police Service, the Ministry of the Interior needs to undertake substantial reforms to purge bad elements and highlight best practices. Once the ministry begins to function effectively, it can exert a positive influence over the provinces and take back some of the authority that was lost to local governments through decentralization. To reduce corruption and militia infiltration, the Ministry of the Interior should take authority from the local governments for the handling of policing funds. Doing so will improve accountability and organizational discipline, limit the authority of provincial police officials, and identify police officers with the central government.

RECOMMENDATION 53: The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior should undergo a process of organizational transformation, including efforts to expand the capability and reach of the current major crime unit (or Criminal Investigation Division) and to exert more authority over local police forces. The sole authority to pay police salaries and disburse financial support to local police should be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.

Finally, there is no alternative to bringing the Facilities Protection Service under the control of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. Simply disbanding these units is not an option, as the members will take their weapons and become full-time militiamen or insurgents. All should be brought under the authority of a reformed Ministry of the Interior. They will need to be vetted, retrained, and closely supervised. Those who are no longer part of the Facilities Protection Service need to participate in a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program (outlined above).

RECOMMENDATION 54: The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior should proceed with current efforts to identify, register, and control the Facilities Protection Service.

U.S. Actions

The Iraqi criminal justice system is weak, and the U.S. training mission has been hindered by a lack of clarity and capacity. It has not always been clear who is in charge of the police training mission, and the U.S. military lacks expertise in certain areas pertaining to police and the rule of law. The United States has been more successful in training the Iraqi Army than it has the police. The U.S. Department of Justice has the expertise and capacity to carry out the police training mission. The U.S. Department of Defense is already bearing too much of the burden in Iraq. Meanwhile, the pool of expertise in the United States on policing and the rule of law has been underutilized.

The United States should adjust its training mission in Iraq to match the recommended changes in the Iraqi government—the movement of the National and Border Police to the Ministry of Defense and the new emphasis on the Iraqi Police Service within the Ministry of the Interior. To reflect the reorganization, the Department of Defense would continue to train the Iraqi National and Border Police, and the Department of Justice would become responsible for training the Iraqi Police Service.

RECOMMENDATION 55: The U.S. Department of Defense should continue its mission to train the Iraqi National Police and the Iraqi Border Police, which should be placed within the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

RECOMMENDATION 56: The U.S. Department of Justice should direct the training mission of the police forces remaining under the Ministry of the Interior.

RECOMMENDATION 57: Just as U.S. military training teams are imbedded within Iraqi Army units, the current practice of imbedding U.S. police trainers should be expanded and the numbers of civilian training officers increased so that teams can cover all levels of the Iraqi Police Service, including local police stations. These trainers should be obtained from among experienced civilian police executives and supervisors from around the world. These officers would replace the military police personnel currently assigned to training teams.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has provided personnel to train the Criminal Investigation Division in the Ministry of the Interior, which handles major crimes. The FBI has also fielded a large team within Iraq for counterterrorism activities.

Building on this experience, the training programs should be expanded and should include the development of forensic investigation training and facilities that could apply scientific and technical investigative methods to counterterrorism as well as to ordinary criminal activity.

RECOMMENDATION 58: The FBI should expand its investigative and forensic training and facilities within Iraq, to include coverage of terrorism as well as criminal activity.

One of the major deficiencies of the Iraqi Police Service is its lack of equipment, particularly in the area of communications and motor transport.

RECOMMENDATION 59: The Iraqi government should provide funds to expand and upgrade communications equipment and motor vehicles for the Iraqi Police Service.

The Department of Justice is also better suited than the Department of Defense to carry out the mission of reforming Iraq's Ministry of the Interior and Iraq's judicial system. Iraq needs more than training for cops on the beat: it needs courts, trained prosecutors and investigators, and the ability to protect Iraqi judicial officials.

RECOMMENDATION 60: The U.S. Department of Justice should lead the work of organizational transformation in the Ministry of the Interior. This approach must involve Iraqi officials, starting at senior levels and moving down, to create a strategic plan and work out standard administrative procedures, codes of conduct, and operational measures that Iraqis will accept and use. These plans must be drawn up in partnership.

RECOMMENDATION 61: Programs led by the U.S. Department of Justice to establish courts; to train judges, prosecutors, and investigators; and to create institutions and practices to fight corruption must be strongly supported and funded. New and refurbished courthouses with improved physical security, secure housing for judges and judicial staff, witness protection facilities, and a new Iraqi Marshals Service are essential parts of a secure and functioning system of justice.

5. The Oil Sector

Since the success of the oil sector is critical to the success of the Iraqi economy, the United States must do what it can to help Iraq maximize its capability.

Iraq, a country with promising oil potential, could restore oil production from existing fields to 3.0 to 3.5 million barrels a day over a three-to five-year period, depending on evolving conditions in key reservoirs. Even if Iraq were at peace tomorrow, oil production would decline unless current problems in the oil sector were addressed.

Short Term


—As soon as possible, the U.S. government should provide technical assistance to the Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law that defines the rights of regional and local governments and creates a fiscal and legal framework for investment. Legal clarity is essential to attract investment.

—The U.S. government should encourage the Iraqi government to accelerate contracting for the comprehensive well work-overs in the southern fields needed to increase production, but the United States should no longer fund such infrastructure projects.

—The U.S. military should work with the Iraqi military and with private security forces to protect oil infrastructure and contractors. Protective measures could include a program to improve pipeline security by paying local tribes solely on the basis of throughput (rather than fixed amounts).

—Metering should be implemented at both ends of the supply line. This step would immediately improve accountability in the oil sector.

—In conjunction with the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. government should press Iraq to continue reducing subsidies in the energy sector, instead of providing grant assistance. Until Iraqis pay market prices for oil products, drastic fuel shortages will remain.

Long Term

Expanding oil production in Iraq over the long term will require creating corporate structures, establishing management systems, and installing competent managers to plan and oversee an ambitious list of major oil-field investment projects.

To improve oil-sector performance, the Study Group puts forward the following recommendations.


—The United States should encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.

—The United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise, in order to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

—To combat corruption, the U.S. government should urge the Iraqi government to post all oil contracts, volumes, and prices on the Web so that Iraqis and outside observers can track exports and export revenues.

—The United States should support the World Bank's efforts to ensure that best practices are used in contracting. This support involves providing Iraqi officials with contracting templates and training them in contracting, auditing, and reviewing audits.

—The United States should provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Oil for enhancing maintenance, improving the payments process, managing cash flows, contracting and auditing, and updating professional training programs for management and technical personnel.

6. U.S. Economic and Reconstruction Assistance

Building the capacity of the Iraqi government should be at the heart of U.S. reconstruction efforts, and capacity building demands additional U.S. resources.

Progress in providing essential government services is necessary to sustain any progress on the political or security front. The period of large U.S.-funded reconstruction projects is over, yet the Iraqi government is still in great need of technical assistance and advice to build the capacity of its institutions. The Iraqi government needs help with all aspects of its operations, including improved procedures, greater delegation of authority, and better internal controls. The strong emphasis on building capable central ministries must be accompanied by efforts to develop functioning, effective provincial government institutions with local citizen participation.

Job creation is also essential. There is no substitute for private-sector job generation, but the Commander's Emergency Response Program is a necessary transitional mechanism until security and the economic climate improve. It provides immediate economic assistance for trash pickup, water, sewers, and electricity in conjunction with clear, hold, and build operations, and it should be funded generously. A total of $753 million was appropriated for this program in FY 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 64: U.S. economic assistance should be increased to a level of $5 billion per year rather than being permitted to decline. The President needs to ask for the necessary resources and must work hard to win the support of Congress. Capacity building and job creation, including reliance on the Commander's Emergency Response Program, should be U.S. priorities. Economic assistance should be provided on a nonsectarian basis.

The New Diplomatic Offensive can help draw in more international partners to assist with the reconstruction mission. The United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and some Arab League members need to become hands-on participants in Iraq's reconstruction.

RECOMMENDATION 65: An essential part of reconstruction efforts in Iraq should be greater involvement by and with international partners, who should do more than just contribute money. They should also actively participate in the design and construction of projects.

The number of refugees and internally displaced persons within Iraq is increasing dramatically. If this situation is not addressed, Iraq and the region could be further destabilized, and the humanitarian suffering could be severe. Funding for international relief efforts is insufficient, and should be increased.

RECOMMENDATION 66: The United States should take the lead in funding assistance requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and other humanitarian agencies.

Coordination of Economic and Reconstruction Assistance

A lack of coordination by senior management in Washington still hampers U.S. contributions to Iraq's reconstruction.

Focus, priority setting, and skillful implementation are in short supply. No single official is assigned responsibility or held accountable for the overall reconstruction effort. Representatives of key foreign partners involved in reconstruction have also spoken to us directly and specifically about the need for a point of contact that can coordinate their efforts with the U.S. government.

A failure to improve coordination will result in agencies continuing to follow conflicting strategies, wasting taxpayer dollars on duplicative and uncoordinated efforts. This waste will further undermine public confidence in U.S. policy in Iraq.

A Senior Advisor for Economic Reconstruction in Iraq is required. He or she should report to the President, be given a staff and funding, and chair a National Security Council interagency group consisting of senior principals at the undersecretary level from all relevant U.S. government departments and agencies. The Senior Advisor's responsibility must be to bring unity of effort to the policy, budget, and implementation of economic reconstruction programs in Iraq. The Senior Advisor must act as the principal point of contact with U.S. partners in the overall reconstruction effort.

He or she must have close and constant interaction with senior U.S. officials and military commanders in Iraq, especially the Director of the Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office, so that the realities on the ground are brought directly and fully into the policy-making process. In order to maximize the effectiveness of assistance, all involved must be on the same page at all times.

RECOMMENDATION 67: The President should create a Senior Advisor for Economic Reconstruction in Iraq. ATION 67: The President should create a Senior Advisor for Economic Reconstruction in Iraq.

Improving the Effectiveness of Assistance Programs

Congress should work with the administration to improve its ability to implement assistance programs in Iraq quickly, flexibly, and effectively.

As opportunities arise, the Chief of Mission in Iraq should have the authority to fund quick-disbursing projects to promote national reconciliation, as well as to rescind funding from programs and projects in which the government of Iraq is not demonstrating effective partnership. These are important tools to improve performance and accountability—as is the work of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

RECOMMENDATION 68: The Chief of Mission in Iraq should have the authority to spend significant funds through a program structured along the lines of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, and should have the authority to rescind funding from programs and projects in which the government of Iraq is not demonstrating effective partnership.

RECOMMENDATION 69: The authority of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction should be renewed for the duration of assistance programs in Iraq.

U.S. security assistance programs in Iraq are slowed considerably by the differing requirements of State and Defense Department programs and of their respective congressional oversight committees. Since Iraqi forces must be trained and equipped, streamlining the provision of training and equipment to Iraq is critical. Security assistance should be delivered promptly, within weeks of a decision to provide it.

RECOMMENDATION 70: A more flexible security assistance program for Iraq, breaking down the barriers to effective interagency cooperation, should be authorized and implemented.

The United States also needs to break down barriers that discourage U.S. partnerships with international donors and Iraqi participants to promote reconstruction. The ability of the United States to form such partnerships will encourage greater international participation in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 71: Authority to merge U.S. funds with those from international donors and Iraqi participants on behalf of assistance projects should be provided.

7. Budget Preparation, Presentation, and Review

The public interest is not well served by the government's preparation, presentation, and review of the budget for the war in Iraq.

First, most of the costs of the war show up not in the normal budget request but in requests for emergency supplemental appropriations. This means that funding requests are drawn up outside the normal budget process, are not offset by budgetary reductions elsewhere, and move quickly to the White House with minimal scrutiny. Bypassing the normal review erodes budget discipline and accountability.

Second, the executive branch presents budget requests in a confusing manner, making it difficult for both the general public and members of Congress to understand the request or to differentiate it from counterterrorism operations around the world or operations in Afghanistan. Detailed analyses by budget experts are needed to answer what should be a simple question: "How much money is the President requesting for the war in Iraq?"

Finally, circumvention of the budget process by the executive branch erodes oversight and review by Congress. The authorizing committees (including the House and Senate Armed Services committees) spend the better part of a year reviewing the President's annual budget request. When the President submits an emergency supplemental request, the authorizing committees are bypassed. The request goes directly to the appropriations committees, and they are pressured by the need to act quickly so that troops in the field do not run out of funds. The result is a spending bill that passes Congress with perfunctory review. Even worse, the must-pass appropriations bill becomes loaded with special spending projects that would not survive the normal review process.

RECOMMENDATION 72: Costs for the war in Iraq should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year, and the normal budget process should not be circumvented. Funding requests for the war in Iraq should be presented clearly to Congress and the American people. Congress must carry out its constitutional responsibility to review budget requests for the war in Iraq carefully and to conduct oversight.

8. U.S. Personnel

The United States can take several steps to ensure that it has personnel with the right skills serving in Iraq.

All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans' lack of language and cultural understanding. Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency. In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage. There are still far too few Arab language—proficient military and civilian officers in Iraq, to the detriment of the U.S. mission.

Civilian agencies also have little experience with complex overseas interventions to restore and maintain order—stability operations—outside of the normal embassy setting. The nature of the mission in Iraq is unfamiliar and dangerous, and the United States has had great difficulty filling civilian assignments in Iraq with sufficient numbers of properly trained personnel at the appropriate rank.

RECOMMENDATION 73: The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence should accord the highest possible priority to professional language proficiency and cultural training, in general and specifically for U.S. officers and personnel about to be assigned to Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 74: In the short term, if not enough civilians volunteer to fill key positions in Iraq, civilian agencies must fill those positions with directed assignments. Steps should be taken to mitigate familial or financial hardships posed by directed assignments, including tax exclusions similar to those authorized for U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 75: For the longer term, the United States government needs to improve how its constituent agencies—Defense, State, Agency for International Development, Treasury, Justice, the intelligence community, and others—respond to a complex stability operation like that represented by this decade's Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the previous decade's operations in the Balkans. They need to train for, and conduct, joint operations across agency boundaries, following the Goldwater-Nichols model that has proved so successful in the U.S. armed services.

RECOMMENDATION 76: The State Department should train personnel to carry out civilian tasks associated with a complex stability operation outside of the traditional embassy setting. It should establish a Foreign Service Reserve Corps with personnel and expertise to provide surge capacity for such an operation. Other key civilian agencies, including Treasury, Justice, and Agriculture, need to create similar technical assistance capabilities.

9. Intelligence

While the United States has been able to acquire good and sometimes superb tactical intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq, our government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias.

A senior commander told us that human intelligence in Iraq has improved from 10 percent to 30 percent. Clearly, U.S. intelligence agencies can and must do better. As mentioned above, an essential part of better intelligence must be improved language and cultural skills. As an intelligence analyst told us, "We rely too much on others to bring information to us, and too often don't understand what is reported back because we do not understand the context of what we are told."

The Defense Department and the intelligence community have not invested sufficient people and resources to understand the political and military threat to American men and women in the armed forces. Congress has appropriated almost $2 billion this year for countermeasures to protect our troops in Iraq against improvised explosive devices, but the administration has not put forward a request to invest comparable resources in trying to understand the people who fabricate, plant, and explode those devices.

We were told that there are fewer than 10 analysts on the job at the Defense Intelligence Agency who have more than two years' experience in analyzing the insurgency. Capable analysts are rotated to new assignments, and on-the-job training begins anew. Agencies must have a better personnel system to keep analytic expertise focused on the insurgency. They are not doing enough to map the insurgency, dissect it, and understand it on a national and provincial level. The analytic community's knowledge of the organization, leadership, financing, and operations of militias, as well as their relationship to government security forces, also falls far short of what policy makers need to know.

In addition, there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq. The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases. A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count. For example, on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.

RECOMMENDATION 77: The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense should devote significantly greater analytic resources to the task of understanding the threats and sources of violence in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 78: The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense should also institute immediate changes in the collection of data about violence and the sources of violence in Iraq to provide a more accurate picture of events on the ground.

Recommended Iraqi Actions

The Iraqi government must improve its intelligence capability, initially to work with the United States, and ultimately to take full responsibility for this intelligence function.

To facilitate enhanced Iraqi intelligence capabilities, the CIA should increase its personnel in Iraq to train Iraqi intelligence personnel. The CIA should also develop, with Iraqi officials, a counterterrorism intelligence center for the all-source fusion of information on the various sources of terrorism within Iraq. This center would analyze data concerning the individuals, organizations, networks, and support groups involved in terrorism within Iraq. It would also facilitate intelligence-led police and military actions against them.

RECOMMENDATION 79: The CIA should provide additional personnel in Iraq to develop and train an effective intelligence service and to build a counterterrorism intelligence center that will facilitate intelligence-led counterterrorism efforts.


Letter from the Sponsoring Organizations

The initiative for a bipartisan, independent, forward-looking "fresh-eyes" assessment of Iraq emerged from conversations U.S. House Appropriations Committee Member Frank Wolf had with us. In late 2005, Congressman Wolf asked the United States Institute of Peace, a bipartisan federal entity, to facilitate the assessment, in collaboration with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Interested members of Congress, in consultation with the sponsoring organizations and the administration, agreed that former Republican U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III and former Democratic Congressman Lee H. Hamilton had the breadth of knowledge of foreign affairs required to co-chair this bipartisan effort. The co-chairs subsequently selected the other members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, all senior individuals with distinguished records of public service. Democrats included former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Governor and U.S. Senator Charles S. Robb, former Congressman and White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta, and Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., advisor to President Bill Clinton. Republicans included former Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, and former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger. Former CIA Director Robert Gates was an active member for a period of months until his nomination as Secretary of Defense.

The Iraq Study Group was launched on March 15, 2006, in a Capitol Hill meeting hosted by U.S. Senator John Warner and attended by congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle.

To support the Study Group, the sponsoring organizations created four expert working groups consisting of 44 leading foreign policy analysts and specialists on Iraq. The working groups, led by staff of the United States Institute of Peace, focused on the Strategic Environment, Military and Security Issues, Political Development, and the Economy and Reconstruction. Every effort was made to ensure the participation of experts across a wide span of the political spectrum. Additionally, a panel of retired military officers was consulted.

We are grateful to all those who have assisted the Study Group, especially the supporting experts and staff. Our thanks go to Daniel P. Serwer of the Institute of Peace, who served as executive director; Christopher Kojm, advisor to the Study Group; John Williams, Policy Assistant to Mr. Baker; and Ben Rhodes, Special Assistant to Mr. Hamilton.

Richard H. Solomon, President United States Institute of Peace

Edward P. Djerejian, Founding Director James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

David M. Abshire, President Center for the Study of the Presidency

John J. Hamre, President Center for Strategic and International Studies

Iraq Study Group Plenary Sessions

March 15, 2006 April 11-12, 2006 May 18-19, 2005 June 13-14, 2006 August 2-3, 2006 August 30-September 4, 2006 (Trip to Baghdad) September 18-19, 2006 November 13-14, 2006 November 27-29, 2006

Iraq Study Group Consultations

(* denotes a meeting that took place in Iraq)

Iraqi Officials and Representatives

*Jalal Talabani—President *Tariq al-Hashimi—Vice President *Adil Abd al-Mahdi—Vice President *Nouri Kamal al-Maliki—Prime Minister *Salaam al-Zawbai—Deputy Prime Minister *Barham Salih—Deputy Prime Minister *Mahmoud al-Mashhadani—Speaker of the Parliament *Mowaffak al-Rubaie—National Security Advisor *Jawad Kadem al-Bolani—Minister of Interior *Abdul Qader Al-Obeidi—Minister of Defense *Hoshyar Zebari—Minister of Foreign Affairs *Bayan Jabr—Minister of Finance *Hussein al-Shahristani—Minister of Oil *Karim Waheed—Minister of Electricity *Akram al-Hakim—Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs *Mithal al-Alusi—Member, High Commission on National Reconciliation *Ayad Jamal al-Din—Member, High Commission on National Reconciliation *Ali Khalifa al-Duleimi—Member, High Commission on National Reconciliation *Sami al-Ma'ajoon—Member, High Commission on National Reconciliation *Muhammad Ahmed Mahmoud—Member, Commission on National Reconciliation *Wijdan Mikhael—Member, High Commission on National Reconciliation Lt. General Nasir Abadi—Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Joint Forces *Adnan al-Dulaimi—Head of the Tawafuq list Ali Allawi—Former Minister of Finance *Sheik Najeh al-Fetlawi—representative of Moqtada al-Sadr *Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim—Shia Coalition Leader *Sheik Maher al-Hamraa—Ayat Allah Said Sussein Al Sadar *Hajim al-Hassani—Member of the Parliament on the Iraqiya list *Hunain Mahmood Ahmed Al-Kaddo—President of the Iraqi Minorities Council *Abid al-Gufhoor Abid al-Razaq al-Kaisi—Dean of the Islamic University of the Imam Al-Atham *Ali Neema Mohammed Aifan al-Mahawili—Rafiday Al-Iraq Al-Jaded Foundation *Saleh al-Mutlaq—Leader of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue *Ayyad al-Sammara'l—Member of the Parliament *Yonadim Kenna—Member of the Parliament and Secretary General of Assyrian Movement *Shahla Wali Mohammed—Iraqi Counterpart International *Hamid Majid Musa—Secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party *Raid Khyutab Muhemeed—Humanitarian, Cultural, and Social Foundation Sinan Shabibi—Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq Samir Shakir M. Sumaidaie—Ambassador of Iraq to the United States

Current U.S. Administration Officials

Senior Administration Officials

George W. Bush—President Richard B. Cheney—Vice President Condoleezza Rice—Secretary of State Donald H. Rumsfeld—Secretary of Defense Stephen J. Hadley—National Security Advisor Joshua B. Bolten—White House Chief of Staff

Department of Defense/Military

CIVILIAN: Gordon England—Deputy Secretary of Defense Stephen Cambone—Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Eric Edelman—Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

MILITARY: General Peter Pace—Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Edmund Giambastiani—Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Abizaid—Commander, United States Central Command *General George W. Casey, Jr.—Commanding General, Multi-National Forces-Iraq Lt. General James T. Conway—Director of Operations, J-3, on the Joint Staff *Lt. General Peter Chiarelli—Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq Lt. General David H. Petraeus—Commanding General, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth *Lt. General Martin Dempsey—Commander Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq *Maj. General Joseph Peterson—Coalition Police Assistance Training Team *Maj. General Richard Zilmer—Commander, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Colonel Derek Harvey—Senior Intelligence Officer for Iraq, Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Colonel Richard Bowyer—National War College (recently served in Iraq) Lt. Colonel Justin Gubler—National War College (recently served in Iraq) Lt. Colonel David Haight—National War College (recently served in Iraq) Lt. Colonel Russell Smith—National War College (recently served in Iraq)

Department of State/Civilian Embassy Personnel

R. Nicholas Burns—Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Philip Zelikow—Counselor to the Department of State C. David Welch—Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs James Jeffrey—Senior Advisor to Secretary Rice and Coordinator for Iraq Policy David Satterfield—Senior Advisor to Secretary Rice and Coordinator for Iraq Policy Zalmay Khalilzad—U.S. Ambassador to Iraq *Dan Speckhard—Charge D'Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Iraq *Joseph Saloom—Director, Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office *Hilda Arellano—U.S. Agency for International Development Director in Iraq *Terrance Kelly—Director, Office of Strategic Plans and Assessments *Randall Bennett—Regional Security Officer of the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq

Intelligence Community

John D. Negroponte—Director of National Intelligence General Michael V. Hayden—Director, Central Intelligence Agency Thomas Fingar—Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council John Sherman—Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Military Issues Steve Ward—Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East Jeff Wickham—Iraq Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Other Senior Officials

David Walker—Comptroller General of the United States *Stuart Bowen—Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction

Members of Congress

United States Senate

Senator William Frist (R-TN)—Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)—Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—Majority Whip Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)—Minority Whip Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)—Chair, Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Warner (R-VA)—Chair, Armed Services Committee Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE)—Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)—Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)—Ranking Member, Energy and Resources Committee Senator Kit Bond (R-MO)—Member, Intelligence Committee Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)—Member, Armed Services Committee Senator John Kerry (D-MA)—Member, Foreign Relations Committee Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)—Member, Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain (R-AZ)—Member, Armed Services Committee Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)—Member, Armed Services Committee

United States House of Representatives

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)—Minority Leader Representative Tom Davis (R-VA)—Chair, Government Reform Committee Representative Jane Harman (D-CA)—Ranking Member, Intelligence Committee Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO)—Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee Representative John Murtha (D-PA)—Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN)—Member, Armed Services Committee Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX)—Member, International Relations Committee Representative Alan Mollohan (D-WV)—Member, Appropriations Committee Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT)—Member, Government Reform Committee Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA)—Member, Appropriations Committee

Foreign Officials

Sheikh Salem al-Abdullah al-Sabah—Ambassador of Kuwait to the United States Michael Ambuhl—Secretary of State of Switzerland Kofi Annan—Secretary-General of the United Nations *Dominic Asquith—British Ambassador to Iraq Tony Blair—Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Prince Turki al-Faisal—Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States Nabil Fahmy—Ambassador of Egypt to the United States Karim Kawar—Ambassador of Jordan to the United States Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa—Ambassador of Qatar to the United States *Mukhtar Lamani—Arab League envoy to Iraq Sir David Manning—British Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha—Ambassador of Syria to the United States Walid Muallem—Foreign Minister of Syria Romano Prodi—Prime Minister of Italy *Ashraf Qazi—Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Anders Fogh Rasmussen—Prime Minister of Denmark Nabi Sensoy—Ambassador of Turkey to the United States Ephraim Sneh—Deputy Minister of Defense of the State of Israel Javad Zarif—Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayad—Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates

Former Officials and Experts

William J. Clinton—former President of the United States Walter Mondale—former Vice President of the United States Madeleine K. Albright—former United States Secretary of State Warren Christopher—former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell—former United States Secretary of State George P. Schultz—former United States Secretary of State Samuel R. Berger—former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski—former United States National Security Advisor Anthony Lake—former United States National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft—former United States National Security Advisor General Eric Shinseki—former Chief of Staff of the United States Army General Anthony Zinni—former Commander, United States Central Command General John Keane—former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army Admiral Jim Ellis—former Commander of United States Strategic Command General Joe Ralston—former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Lt. General Roger C. Schultz—former Director of the United States Army National Guard Douglas Feith—former United States Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Mark Danner—The New York Review of Books Larry Diamond—Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University Thomas Friedman—New York Times Leslie Gelb—President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations Richard Hill—Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives and Analysis, CHF International Richard C. Holbrooke—former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations Martin S. Indyk—Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution Ronald Johnson—Executive Vice President for International Development, RTI International Frederick Kagan—The American Enterprise Institute Arthur Keys, Jr.—President and CEO, International Relief and Development William Kristol—The Weekly Standard *Guy Laboa—Kellogg, Brown & Root Nancy Lindborg—President, Mercy Corps Michael O'Hanlon—Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution George Packer—The New Yorker Carlos Pascual—Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution Robert Perito—Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace *Col. Jack Petri, USA (Ret.)—advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior Kenneth Pollack—Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution Thomas Ricks—The Washington Post Zainab Salbi—Founder and CEO, Women for Women International Matt Sherman—former Deputy Senior Advisor and Director of Policy, Iraqi Ministry of Interior Strobe Talbott—President, The Brookings Institution Rabih Torbay—Vice President for International Operations, International Medical Corps George Will—The Washington Post

Expert Working Groups and Military Senior Advisor Panel

Economy and Reconstruction

Gary Matthews, USIP Secretariat Director, Task Force on the United Nations and Special Projects, United States Institute of Peace

Raad Alkadiri Director, Country Strategies Group, PFC Energy

Frederick D. Barton Senior Adviser and Co-Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Jay Collins Chief Executive Officer, Public Sector Group, Citigroup, Inc.

Jock P. Covey Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Corporate Security and Sustainability Services, Bechtel Corporation

Keith Crane Senior Economist, RAND Corporation

Amy Myers Jaffe Associate Director for Energy Studies, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

K. Riva Levinson Managing Director, BKSH & Associates

David A. Lipton Managing Director and Head of Global Country Risk Management, Citigroup, Inc

Michael E. O'Hanlon Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution

James A. Placke Senior Associate, Cambridge Energy Research Associates

James A. Schear Director of Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Military and Security

Paul Hughes, USIP Secretariat Senior Program Officer, Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, United States Institute of Peace

Hans A. Binnendijk Director & Theodore Roosevelt Chair, Center for Technology & National Security Policy, National Defense University

James Carafano Senior Research Fellow, Defense and Homeland Security, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Michael Eisenstadt Director, Military & Security Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Michele A. Flournoy Senior Advisor, International Security Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Bruce Hoffman Professor, Security Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Clifford May President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Robert M. Perito Senior Program Officer, Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, United States Institute of Peace

Kalev I. Sepp Assistant Professor, Department of Defense Analysis, Center on Terrorism and Irregular Warfare, Naval Postgraduate School

John F. Sigler Adjunct Distinguished Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University

W. Andrew Terrill Research Professor, National Security Affairs, Strategic Studies Institute

Jeffrey A. White Berrie Defense Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Political Development

Daniel P. Serwer, USIP Secretariat Vice President, Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, United States Institute of Peace

Raymond H. Close Freelance Analyst and Commentator on Middle East Politics

Larry Diamond Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Sanford University, and Co-Editor, Journal of Democracy

Andrew P. N. Erdmann Former Director for Iran, Iraq and Strategic Planning, National Security Council

Reuel Marc Gerecht Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

David L. Mack Vice President, The Middle East Institute

Phebe A. Marr Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace

Hassan Mneimneh Director, Documentation Program, The Iraq Memory Foundation

Augustus Richard Norton Professor of International Relations and Anthropology, Department of International Relations, Boston University

Marina S. Ottaway Senior Associate, Democracy and Rule of Law Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Judy Van Rest Executive Vice President, International Republican Institute

Judith S. Yaphe Distinguished Research Fellow for the Middle East, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Strategic Environment

Paul Stares, USIP Secretariat Vice President, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, United States Institute of Peace

Jon B. Alterman Director, Middle East Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Steven A. Cook Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

James F. Dobbins Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation

Hillel Fradkin Director, Center for Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute

Chas W. Freeman Chairman, Projects International and President, Middle East Policy Council

Geoffrey Kemp Director, Regional Strategic Programs, The Nixon Center

Daniel C. Kurtzer S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor, Middle East Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Ellen Laipson President and CEO, The Henry L. Stimson Center

William B. Quandt Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution

Shibley Telhami Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, Department of Government & Politics, University of Maryland, and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution

Wayne White Adjunct Scholar, Public Policy Center, Middle East Institute

Military Senior Advisor Panel

Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr. United States Navy, Retired

General John M. Keane United States Army, Retired

General Edward C. Meyer United States Army, Retired

General Joseph W. Ralston United States Air Force, Retired

Lieutenant General Roger C. Schultz, Sr. United States Army, Retired

The Iraq Study Group

James A. Baker, III—Co-Chair

James A. Baker, III, has served in senior government positions under three United States presidents. He served as the nation's 61st Secretary of State from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George H. W. Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Mr. Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. Mr. Baker's reflections on those years of revolution, war, and peace—The Politics of Diplomacy—was published in 1995.

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