Iraq Panel Warns of Looming "Catastrophe" in Iraq
By Peter Baker, Dafna Linzer and William Branigin
The Washington Post
Wednesday 06 December 2006
Circumstances in Iraq are "grave and deteriorating," with a potential government collapse and a "humanitarian catastrophe" if the U.S. does not change course and seek a broader diplomatic solution to the problems that have wracked the country since the U.S. invaded, according to a bipartisan panel that sent its findings to President Bush and Congress today.
In what amounts to the most extensive independent assessment of the nearly four-year-old conflict that has claimed the lives of 2,800 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the Iraq Study Group painted a bleak picture of a nation that risks a "slide toward chaos" without new efforts to reconcile its feuding religious and ethnic minorities.
Despite a laundry list of recommendations meant to encourage regional diplomacy and lead to a draw down of U.S. forces over the next year, the panel acknowledged that stability in the country may be impossible to achieve any time soon.