"Grave and deteriorating"

The Iraq Study Group warns of chaos, collapse and catastrophe.

By Tim Grieve
Published December 6, 2006 2:44PM (EST)

From the Washington Post and the Associated Press, excerpts from the Iraq Study Group's report:

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. Violence is increasing in scope and lethality. It is fed by a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shiite militias, death squads, al-Qaida and widespread criminality. Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability."

"If current trends continue, the potential consequences are severe." Conditions in Iraq could "slide toward chaos (that) could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe ... Neighboring countries could intervene ... The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized."

"There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved."

The AP says that the group calls for the Bush administration to reach out to Iran and Syria for help in stabilizing Iraq while simultaneously increasing the number of combat troops embedded with Iraqi army units. "As these actions proceed, U.S. combat forces could begin to move out of Iraq," the report says. "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."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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