President Receives Iraq Study Group Report

President Bush today received the long-awaited report of the Iraq Study Group at the White House. The report is not yet public, but it shouldn’t be long now, as the commission will deliver it to Congress next. (UDATE: Download the report here.)

The Washington Post reports some of the contents of the report, and also has video of the president’s remarks upon receiving it.

The delivery of the ISG report is one of several events this week that are bound to affect Iraq policy. Another is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s approval of Robert Gates as Donald Rumsfeld’s replacement as defense secretary after a hearing yesterday (the full Senate is expected to vote by Friday for confirmation).

Another significant event for Iraq in Washington this week, which was overshadowed by the Gates hearing and the ISG report in press coverage, was the meeting Monday at the White House between Bush and Iraqi Shiite politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.

Roland Flamini reports on that meeting today in our news section. Flamini sums up the significance of the meeting:

By meeting al-Hakim, observers said, Bush is involving himself directly in the Byzantine complexities of Iraqi politics. With the administration seemingly losing confidence in Nouri al-Maliki, the high level reception given to another powerful political leader could be seen as a signal to the prime minister to make a greater effort.

By holding talks with a senior Shiite theologian, Bush was also acknowledging the religious dynamic at work in Iraqi politics. . . .

It is also significant that al-Hakim, unlike his rival al-Sadr, does not support the immediate withdawal of American troops. Finally, Flamini’s article looks at the prospects for an Iraqi reconciliation conference and for a regional or international conference to address the country’s problems.

Flamini has followed Iraq in a number of WPR articles. In addition, in our commentary section WPR has published views on various aspects of the Iraq strategy debate. To browse all of our articles on Iraq, click here.

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