The Iraq Study Group Report

James A. Baker, III, and Lee H. Hamilton, Co-Chairs

Recommendations Excerpted by

The New Diplomatic Offensive

RECOMMENDATION 1: The United States, working with the Iraqi government, should launch the comprehensive New Diplomatic Offensive to deal with the problems of Iraq and of the region. This new diplomatic offensive should be launched before December 31, 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 2: The goals of the diplomatic offensive as it relates to regional players should be to:

RECOMMENDATION 3: As a complement to the diplomatic offensive, and in addition to the Support Group discussed below, the United States and the Iraqi government should support the holding of a conference or meeting in Baghdad of the Organization of the Islamic Conference or the Arab League both to assist the Iraqi government in promoting national reconciliation in Iraq and to reestablish their diplomatic presence in Iraq.

The Iraq International Support Group

RECOMMENDATION 4: As an instrument of the New Diplomatic Offensive, an Iraq International Support Group should be organized immediately following the launch of the New Diplomatic Offensive.

RECOMMENDATION 5: The Support Group should consist of Iraq and all the states bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria; the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf States; the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; the European Union; and, of course, Iraq itself. Other countries—for instance, Germany, Japan and South Korea—that might be willing to contribute to resolving political, diplomatic, and security problems affecting Iraq could also become members.

RECOMMENDATION 6: The New Diplomatic Offensive and the work of the Support Group should be carried out with urgency, and should be conducted by and organized at the level of foreign minister or above. The Secretary of State, if not the President, should lead the U.S. effort. That effort should be both bilateral and multilateral, as circumstances require.

RECOMMENDATION 7: The Support Group should call on the participation of the office of the United Nations Secretary- General in its work. The United Nations Secretary-General should designate a Special Envoy as his representative.

RECOMMENDATION 8: The Support Group, as part of the New Diplomatic Offensive, should develop specific approaches to neighboring countries that take into account the interests, perspectives, and potential contributions as suggested above.

Dealing with Iran and Syria

RECOMMENDATION 9: Under the aegis of the New Diplomatic Offensive and the Support Group, the United States should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues. In engaging Syria and Iran, the United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives, in seeking constructive results.

RECOMMENDATION 10: The issue of Iran’s nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members (i.e., the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany.

RECOMMENDATION 11: Diplomatic efforts within the Support Group should seek to persuade Iran that it should take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 12: The United States and the Support Group should encourage and persuade Syria of the merit of such contributions as the following:

The Wider Regional Context

RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include—as soon as possible—the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel’s right to exist) on the other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate tracks— one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.

RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of that negotiated peace should include:


RECOMMENDATION 18: It is critical for the United States to provide additional political, economic, and military support for Afghanistan, including resources that might become available as combat forces are moved from Iraq.

The Internal Approach:Helping Iraqis Help Themselves

RECOMMENDATION 19: The President and the leadership of his national security team should remain in close and fre- quent contact with the Iraqi leadership. These contacts must convey a clear message: there must be action by the Iraqi government to make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones. In public diplomacy, the President should convey as much detail as possible about the substance of these exchanges in order to keep the American people, the Iraqi people, and the countries in the region well informed.

RECOMMENDATION 20: If the Iraqi government demonstrates political will and makes substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should make clear its willingness to continue training, assistance, and support for Iraq’s security forces, and to continue political, military, and economic support for the Iraqi government. As Iraq becomes more capable of governing, defending, and sustaining itself, the U.S. military and civilian presence in Iraq can be reduced.

RECOMMENDATION 21: If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.

RECOMMENDATION 23: The President should restate that the United States does not seek to control Iraq’s oil.

Milestones for Iraq

RECOMMENDATION 24: The contemplated completion dates of the end of 2006 or early 2007 for some milestones may not be realistic. These should be completed by the first quarter of 2007.

RECOMMENDATION 25: These milestones are a good start. The United States should consult closely with the Iraqi government and develop additional milestones in three areas: national reconciliation, security, and improving government services affecting the daily lives of Iraqis. As with the current milestones, these additional milestones should be tied to calendar dates to the fullest extent possible.

Steps for Iraq to Take on Behalf of National Reconciliation

RECOMMENDATION 26: Constitution review. Review of the constitution is essential to national reconciliation and should be pursued on an urgent basis. The United Nations has expertise in this field, and should play a role in this process.

RECOMMENDATION 27: De-Baathification. Political reconciliation requires the reintegration of Baathists and Arab nationalists into national life, with the leading figures of Saddam Hussein’s regime excluded. The United States should encourage the return of qualified Iraqi professionals—Sunni or Shia, nationalist or ex-Baathist, Kurd or Turkmen or Christian or Arab—into the government.

RECOMMENDATION 28: Oil revenue sharing. Oil revenues should accrue to the central government and be shared on the basis of population. No formula that gives control over revenues from future fields to the regions or gives control of oil fields to the regions is compatible with national reconciliation.

RECOMMENDATION 29: Provincial elections. Provincial elections should be held at the earliest possible date. Under the constitution, new provincial elections should have been held already. They are necessary to restore representative government.

RECOMMENDATION 30: Kirkuk. Given the very dangerous situation in Kirkuk, international arbitration is necessary to avert communal violence. Kirkuk’s mix of Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen populations could make it a powder keg. A referendum on the future of Kirkuk (as required by the Iraqi Constitution before the end of 2007) would be explosive and should be delayed. This issue should be placed on the agenda of the International Iraq Support Group as part of the New Diplomatic Offensive.

RECOMMENDATION 31: Amnesty. Amnesty proposals must be far-reaching. Any successful effort at national reconciliation must involve those in the government finding ways and means to reconcile with former bitter enemies.

RECOMMENDATION 32: Minorities. The rights of women and the rights of all minority communities in Iraq, including Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Yazidis, Sabeans, and Armenians, must be protected.

RECOMMENDATION 33: Civil society. The Iraqi government should stop using the process of registering nongovernmental organizations as a tool for politicizing or stopping their activities. Registration should be solely an administrative act, not an occasion for government censorship and interference.

Steps for the United States to Take on Behalf of National Reconciliation

RECOMMENDATION 34: The question of the future U.S. force presence must be on the table for discussion as the national reconciliation dialogue takes place. Its inclusion will increase the likelihood of participation by insurgents and militia leaders, and thereby increase the possibilities for success.

RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insurgent leaders.

RECOMMENDATION 36: The United States should encourage dialogue between sectarian communities, as outlined in the New Diplomatic Offensive above. It should press religious leaders inside and outside Iraq to speak out on behalf of peace and reconciliation.

RECOMMENDATION 37: Iraqi amnesty proposals must not be undercut in Washington by either the executive or the legislative branch.

Militias and National Reconciliation

RECOMMENDATION 38: The United States should support the presence of neutral international experts as advisors to the Iraqi government on the processes of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration.

RECOMMENDATION 39: The United States should provide financial and technical support and establish a single office in Iraq to coordinate assistance to the Iraqi government and its expert advisors to aid a program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate militia members.

Security and Military Forces A Military Strategy for Iraq

There is no action the American military can take that, by itself, can bring about success in Iraq. But there are actions that the U.S. and Iraqi governments, working together, can and should take to increase the probability of avoiding disaster there, and increase the chance of success.

RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 41: The United States must make it clear to the Iraqi government that the United States could carry out its plans, including planned redeployments, even if Iraq does not implement its planned changes. America’s other security needs and the future of our military cannot be made hostage to the actions or inactions of the Iraqi government.

RECOMMENDATION 42: We should seek to complete the training and equipping mission by the first quarter of 2008, as stated by General George Casey on October 24, 2006.

RECOMMENDATION 43: Military priorities in Iraq must change, with the highest priority given to the training, equipping, advising, and support mission and to counterterrorism operations.

RECOMMENDATION 44: The most highly qualified U.S. of- ficers and military personnel should be assigned to the imbedded teams, and American teams should be present with Iraqi units down to the company level. The U.S. military should establish suitable career-enhancing incentives for these officers and personnel.

RECOMMENDATION 45: The United States should support more and better equipment for the Iraqi Army by encouraging the Iraqi government to accelerate its Foreign Military Sales requests and, as American combat brigades move out of Iraq, by leaving behind some American equipment for Iraqi forces.

Restoring the U.S. Military

RECOMMENDATION 46: The new Secretary of Defense should make every effort to build healthy civil-military relations, by creating an environment in which the senior military feel free to offer independent advice not only to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President and the National Security Council, as envisioned in the Goldwater- Nichols legislation.

RECOMMENDATION 47: As redeployment proceeds, the Pentagon leadership should emphasize training and education programs for the forces that have returned to the continental United States in order to “reset” the force and restore the U.S. military to a high level of readiness for global contingencies.

RECOMMENDATION 48: As equipment returns to the United States, Congress should appropriate sufficient funds to restore the equipment to full functionality over the next five years.

RECOMMENDATION 49: The administration, in full consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full future budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed investments in procurement and in research and development, and the budgets of other U.S. government agencies involved in the stability and reconstruction effort.

Police and Criminal Justice

The problems in the Iraqi police and criminal justice system are profound. The ethos and training of Iraqi police forces must support the mission to “protect and serve” all Iraqis. Today, far too many Iraqi police do not embrace that mission, in part because of problems in how reforms were organized and implemented by the Iraqi and U.S. governments.

RECOMMENDATION 50: The entire Iraqi National Police should be transferred to the Ministry of Defense, where the police commando units will become part of the new Iraqi Army.

RECOMMENDATION 51: The entire Iraqi Border Police should be transferred to the Ministry of Defense, which would have total responsibility for border control and external security.

RECOMMENDATION 52: The Iraqi Police Service should be given greater responsibility to conduct criminal investigations and should expand its cooperation with other elements in the Iraqi judicial system in order to better control crime and protect Iraqi civilians.

RECOMMENDATION 53: The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior should undergo a process of organizational transformation, including efforts to expand the capability and reach of the current major crime unit (or Criminal Investigation Division) and to exert more authority over local police forces. The sole authority to pay police salaries and disburse financial support to local police should be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.

RECOMMENDATION 54: The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior should proceed with current efforts to identify, register, and control the Facilities Protection Service.

U.S. Actions

RECOMMENDATION 55: The U.S. Department of Defense should continue its mission to train the Iraqi National Police and the Iraqi Border Police, which should be placed within the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

RECOMMENDATION 56: The U.S. Department of Justice should direct the training mission of the police forces remaining under the Ministry of the Interior.

RECOMMENDATION 57: Just as U.S. military training teams are imbedded within Iraqi Army units, the current practice of imbedding U.S. police trainers should be expanded and the numbers of civilian training officers increased so that teams can cover all levels of the Iraqi Police Service, including local police stations. These trainers should be obtained from among experienced civilian police executives and supervisors from around the world. These officers would replace the military police personnel currently assigned to training teams.

RECOMMENDATION 58: The FBI should expand its investigative and forensic training and facilities within Iraq, to include coverage of terrorism as well as criminal activity.

RECOMMENDATION 59: The Iraqi government should provide funds to expand and upgrade communications equipment and motor vehicles for the Iraqi Police Service.

RECOMMENDATION 60: The U.S. Department of Justice should lead the work of organizational transformation in the Ministry of the Interior. This approach must involve Iraqi of- ficials, starting at senior levels and moving down, to create a strategic plan and work out standard administrative procedures, codes of conduct, and operational measures that Iraqis will accept and use. These plans must be drawn up in partnership.

RECOMMENDATION 61: Programs led by the U.S. Department of Justice to establish courts; to train judges, prosecutors, and investigators; and to create institutions and practices to fight corruption must be strongly supported and funded. New and refurbished courthouses with improved physical security, secure housing for judges and judicial staff, witness protection facilities, and a new Iraqi Marshals Service are essential parts of a secure and functioning system of justice.

The Oil Sector

Since the success of the oil sector is critical to the success of the Iraqi economy, the United States must do what it can to help Iraq maximize its capability. Iraq, a country with promising oil potential, could restore oil production from existing fields to 3.0 to 3.5 million barrels a day over a three- to five-year period, depending on evolving conditions in key reservoirs. Even if Iraq were at peace tomorrow, oil production would decline unless current problems in the oil sector were addressed.

Short Term


Long Term


U.S. Economic and Reconstruction Assistance

RECOMMENDATION 64: U.S. economic assistance should be increased to a level of $5 billion per year rather than being permitted to decline. The President needs to ask for the necessary resources and must work hard to win the support of Congress. Capacity building and job creation, including reliance on the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, should be U.S. priorities. Economic assistance should be provided on a nonsectarian basis.

RECOMMENDATION 65: An essential part of reconstruction efforts in Iraq should be greater involvement by and with international partners, who should do more than just contribute money. They should also actively participate in the design and construction of projects.

RECOMMENDATION 66: The United States should take the lead in funding assistance requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and other humanitarian agencies.

Coordination of Economic and Reconstruction Assistance

RECOMMENDATION 67: The President should create a Senior Advisor for Economic Reconstruction in Iraq.

Improving the Effectiveness of Assistance Programs

RECOMMENDATION 68: The Chief of Mission in Iraq should have the authority to spend significant funds through a program structured along the lines of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, and should have the authority to rescind funding from programs and projects in which the government of Iraq is not demonstrating effective partnership.

RECOMMENDATION 69: The authority of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction should be renewed for the duration of assistance programs in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 70: A more flexible security assistance program for Iraq, breaking down the barriers to effective interagency cooperation, should be authorized and implemented.

RECOMMENDATION 71: Authority to merge U.S. funds with those from international donors and Iraqi participants on behalf of assistance projects should be provided.

Budget Preparation, Presentation, and Review

RECOMMENDATION 72: Costs for the war in Iraq should be included in the President’s annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year, and the normal budget process should not be circumvented. Funding requests for the war in Iraq should be presented clearly to Congress and the American people. Congress must carry out its constitutional responsibility to review budget requests for the war in Iraq carefully and to conduct oversight.

U.S. Personnel

RECOMMENDATION 73: The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence should accord the highest possible priority to professional language proficiency and cultural training, in general and specifically for U.S. officers and personnel about to be assigned to Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 74: In the short term, if not enough civilians volunteer to fill key positions in Iraq, civilian agencies must fill those positions with directed assignments. Steps should be taken to mitigate familial or financial hardships posed by directed assignments, including tax exclusions similar to those authorized for U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 75: For the longer term, the United States government needs to improve how its constituent agencies—Defense, State, Agency for International Development, Treasury, Justice, the intelligence community, and others —respond to a complex stability operation like that represented by this decade’s Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the previous decade’s operations in the Balkans. They need to train for, and conduct, joint operations across agency boundaries, following the Goldwater-Nichols model that has proved so successful in the U.S. armed services.

RECOMMENDATION 76: The State Department should train personnel to carry out civilian tasks associated with a complex stability operation outside of the traditional embassy setting. It should establish a Foreign Service Reserve Corps with personnel and expertise to provide surge capacity for such an operation. Other key civilian agencies, including Treasury, Justice, and Agriculture, need to create similar technical assistance capabilities.


While the United States has been able to acquire good and sometimes superb tactical intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq, our government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias.

RECOMMENDATION 77: The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense should devote signifi- cantly greater analytic resources to the task of understanding the threats and sources of violence in Iraq.

RECOMMENDATION 78: The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense should also institute immediate changes in the collection of data about violence and the sources of violence in Iraq to provide a more accurate picture of events on the ground.

Recommended Iraqi Actions

RECOMMENDATION 79: The CIA should provide additional personnel in Iraq to develop and train an effective intelligence service and to build a counterterrorism intelligence center that will facilitate intelligence-led counterterrorism efforts.