By Jim Lobe
"WASHINGTON - Despite a reduction in violence over the past 15 months, "The US risks getting bogged down in Iraq for a long time to come, with serious consequences for its interests in other parts of the world," according to a new assessment by the same group of experts who advised the bipartisan blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group (ISG) in 2006.
The assessment, which was released on the eve of a critical congressional testimony this week by Washington's ambassador and chief military officer in Iraq, concludes that the decline in violence has resulted in very little progress toward achieving national reconciliation and that gains in security remain "fragile and dependent on the presence of US forces"......
The report addresses the possible impact of each of the three scenarios on the five interests. Maintaining the current strategy, it concludes would have a "major negative impact" on Washington's capacity to act worldwide; a reduced, conditional commitment would, on the other hand, have a "positive" impact on that capacity, while an unconditional, near-total reduction of commitment would have a mixed impact by, on the one hand freeing up US military capacity, while, on the other, risking the "perception of US defeat". "