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Frustrated Iraqis Indifferent to US Panel Recommendations


Iraqis greeted a highly anticipated U.S. study on Iraq policy with little enthusiasm Wednesday. Among its recommendations, the report says the United States should do more to encourage the Iraqi people to take control of their own future. VOA's Margaret Besheer has more from northern Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group's report says the situation is grave and deteriorating and warns that the slide toward chaos must be stopped.

In Baghdad, where dozens more Iraqis were killed or wounded Wednesday in new sectarian attacks, and more than 20 bodies were recovered around the capital, residents expressed their opinions about the report from the bipartisan 10-member panel.

One man says he thinks the report is intended to change U.S. policy in Iraq, as the current policy has failed.

Maan al-Obeidi, a professor in Baghdad, says U.S. officials are defeated in Iraq, so they are trying to find a way to get out of their predicament. He worries that outlet will be at the expense of the Iraqi people.

A university student told VOA the United States should change its policy in Iraq, because American troops are at an impasse. He says if U.S. officials intend to fix Iraq's problems, America should alter its policy.

In northern Iraq's Kurdistan region, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani tells VOA he considers the report incomplete, because the commission reviewing Iraq strategy did not visit the Kurdistan Region and discuss the issues with officials there.

The non-binding report makes 79 specific recommendations, among them, calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. Iraq policy, including talks with Iran and Syria, a withdrawal of most American combat troops by early 2008, and intensified pressure on Iraq's leaders to quell violence.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that Iraq would hold a national reconciliation conference this month, and at a later date, would invite its neighbors to a regional conference on terrorism in Iraq.

The Iraqi government has already stepped up diplomatic efforts with its neighbors, resuming diplomatic relations with Syria and sending Iraq's president on a visit to Iran.

Mr. Maliki's office said he received a briefing on the contents of the Iraq Study Group report via videoconference with the commission co-chairs, James Baker and Lee Hamilton.

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