Tuesday, August 14, 2007

U.K. Parliament Report Says 'Surge' Will Fail

This might be good to throw in the faces of some U.S. lawmakers in September when they inevitably swear that the "surge" is working.

The U.S. military "surge" in Iraq, which added 30,000 troops to quell an insurgency, probably will fail, a panel of lawmakers in the U.K. Parliament said.

"It is too early to provide a definitive assessment of the U.S. 'surge' but it does not look likely to succeed," the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in a report. Success "will ultimately ride on whether Iraq's politicians are able to reach agreement on a number of key issues."

The cross-party panel of lawmakers called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to set out a policy to promote reconciliation between rival political factions in Iraq.

The U.S. force in Iraq reached 162,000 soldiers last week, the most since the war begin in 2003. President George W. Bush faces a deadline to show progress made from his surge strategy by September, when General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, will give Congress an assessment.

The U.K. has been lowering its troop levels in the south of Iraq, from 46,000 at the peak of combat operations four years ago to 5,500 at the end of May.

The committee also attacked the international boycott of the Palestinian unity government between Fatah and the militant Hamas movement when it was formed in March. President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the unity government after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, effectively splitting Palestinian territories.

"All the boycott of the National Unity government did was to strengthen the extremists and undermine the moderates," committee chairman Mike Gapes said in an interview.

Russia is the only member of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators that maintains ties with Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union.

The panel also criticized the government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair for refusing to call for an immediate cease-fire when Israel launched retaliatory attacks on Lebanon last year.


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