Thursday, November 30, 2006


It is unclear if combat troops will remain in bases inside Iraq. An American cross-party group charged with reviewing policy on Iraq will recommend a US troop pullback and a new diplomatic offensive, reports say.
The report calls for US troops in Iraq to be switched from a combat to a support role, according to sources quoted by the New York Times newspaper.
It also recommends direct talks with Syria and Iran, the paper says.
The Iraq Study Group's chairman said it had reached a consensus and would announce its findings next Wednesday.
Lee Hamilton did not give further details.
Washington is considering radical options to find a way out of the growing crisis in Iraq, the BBC's Jon Leyne reports from Amman.
Details of the ISG report, which was compiled by both President George W Bush's Republicans and members of the Democratic Party, leaked out as the US leader was in the Jordanian capital to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
According to the New York Times website, the ISG is calling for the gradual withdrawal of 15 US combat brigades - each numbering between 3,000 and 5,000 troops - currently in Iraq, but stops short of setting a timetable.
Citing unnamed sources, it says the report does not say whether the brigades should be pulled back to bases in Iraq or in neighbouring countries.
Some 70,000 US troops would, the paper adds, stay in Iraq as trainers or in other roles.
"It's basically a redeployment," an unnamed source was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
"There is a kind of indication in the report as to when that ought to be completed... some time within the next year," the source added.
Just this week, Mr Bush promised troops would stay in Iraq until "the mission [was] complete".
The other main proposal of the ISG report is reportedly a proposal for a regional conference on Iraq which could lead to direct US talks with Iran and Syria - previously linked by US officials to violence in Iraq.



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