After nearly eight months of deliberations, the Iraq Study Group reached a consensus and released its recommendations on December 6. Led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former representative Lee H. Hamilton, the bipartisan panel is recommended a gradual withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq. The report also called for direct talks with Iran and Syria as part of a broader diplomatic effort in the Middle East. Following a meeting in Amman, Jordan, President George W. Bush rejected calls for a withdrawal of troops, saying American troops would stay in Iraq “until the job is complete.”
On December 7, leading Brookings experts examined the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and its impact on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Participants included Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow, the Brookings Institution; Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow and director of research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy; and Bruce Riedel, senior fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies, moderated the panel discussion.
PanelistsMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy