Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Iraq a helluva mess: Baker

FORMER US secretary of state James Baker was visibly shocked when he last visited Iraq, and said the country was in a "helluva mess", the BBC reported today.

Mr Baker is leading a review of the situation in Iraq by a bipartisan US committee of experts, and is expected to recommend a change in US strategy for rebuilding Iraq.

Citing a unnamed close friend and ally of Mr Baker's, himself a top politician, the BBC reported that Mr Baker said "there simply weren't any easy solutions".
Mr Baker was secretary of state to US President George W. Bush's father, president George Bush.

Citing unnamed members of Mr Baker's committee, The Los Angeles Times yesterday said that two options under consideration would represent reversals of US policy - withdrawing American troops in phases, and bringing neighbouring Iran and Syria into a joint effort to stop the fighting.
The BBC also reported that a third possibility was under consideration - to concentrate on getting stability in Iraq, and stop aiming to establish a democracy there.

The 10-member commission has agreed that change must be made, the Times report said.

"It's not going to be 'stay the course,'" the paper quoted one participant as saying. "The bottom line is, (current policy) isn't working. There's got to be another way."


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