Panel urges talks with Iran, Syria

Baker commission: US needs an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative.

baker, james 298 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
baker, james 298 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Iraq Study Group draft report recommends aggressive regional diplomacy, including direct talks with Iran and Syria, The New York Times has reported. The bipartisan 10-member commission is led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Democratic former Congressman Lee Hamilton, is working on a set of strategies for Iraq. According to anonymous officials who had seen the draft report said it does not specify any timetables for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, although the commissioners are expected to debate the feasibility of such timetables.
  • 'Israel should embrace, not fear, James Baker' Congressional leaders displayed eroding patience in the Iraqi government, adding pressure on President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to find a faster path to peace when they meet this week. Bush, after a NATO summit in Europe, plans to meet with al-Maliki on Wednesday and Thursday in Jordan. That summit, coupled with Vice President Dick Cheney's trip to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, is evidence of the administration's stepped-up effort to bring stability to the region.