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December 20, 2006

‘Iraq on brink of disintegration’

 
December 20, 2006

BAGHDAD: Iraq faces “complete disintegration into failed state chaos” a respected think-tank warned Tuesday, urging the United States to adopt a radical change of strategy to end the crisis. The stark analysis from the International Crisis Group came as a Pentagon report confirmed that violence in Iraq has hit record levels and two weeks after a bipartisan US panel branded the situation “grave and deteriorating.” The ICG’s new report endorsed the Iraq Study Group’s criticisms of White House strategy, but warned the recommendations of former secretary of state James Baker’s panel would not be enough to stem the bloodshed.

In particular, the Crisis Group criticised the US insistence on supporting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s coalition government, and called instead for the international community to open talks with all Iraq’s warring parties. “The Iraqi government and security forces cannot be treated as privileged allies to be bolstered; they are simply one among many parties to the conflict,” the ICG said.

“The (Baker) report characterises the government as a ‘government of national unity’ that is ‘broadly representative of the Iraqi people’: it is nothing of the sort,” it said. The ICG said Baker’s report “calls for expanding forces that are complicit in the current dirty war and for speeding up the transfer of responsibility to a government that has done nothing to stop it.” Rather than blindly backing Maliki’s beleaguered regime, the ICG said, Washington and other international and regional actors should adopt “a new forceful multilateral approach that puts real pressure on all Iraqi parties.”