Britain needs to redefine its strategy in Iraq by ending military operations and focusing more on training home-grown forces so it can then withdraw its own troops, a wide-ranging report recommends.
The Iraq Commission Report said a change of course was needed because it was clear that the ‘initial, over-ambitious vision’ of the US-led coalition could no longer be achieved.
‘There are no easy options left in Iraq, only painful ones... The UK government needs, therefore, to redefine its objectives,’ the 119-page study, which was published Saturday evening, concluded.
The report’s central recommendation was for Britain to ‘preserve and underpin’ the territorial integrity of Iraq, promote regional engagement in its reconstruction and prevent Iraq being used as a base for Al Qaeda.
‘If there was one view that was given in evidence to the commission time and again it was that ultimately: only Iraqis can make Iraq better -- but they need help,’ it stated.
Britain has 5,500 troops in southern Iraq.
‘The UK should refocus its military activity, progressively ceasing offensive military operations and bringing to completion its programme of training and building the capacity of the Iraqi security forces,’ it added.
‘As Iraqi forces complete their training, and are demonstrably capable, they will assume responsibility for security. This handover should not be dependent on the prevailing security situation.’
The report, commissioned by the Foreign Policy Centre think-tank and Channel 4 television with a remit similar in scope to the US Iraq Study Group, also favoured greater economic help and work to improve the humanitarian situation.
‘The Commission recognises that these recommendations are in some cases at variance with positions hitherto taken by the US administration,’ it said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Temmuz 2007, 15:56