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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Baker ignored panel's advisors by putting recommendation on Israel in final ISG report

It's been about eight weeks now since the Iraq Study Group headed by James "F&^%$ the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway" Baker and Lee Hamilton issued its recommendation that “the United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.” the way for the US to solve its problems in Iraq is for Israel to cede Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. Since then, Baker has been trying to convince anyone who will listen to adopt his 'solution.'

Now, according to the Forward, it turns out that Baker hit on that 'solution' himself, and that the 'solution was written into the report for him by Edward Djerejian, the former US ambassador to Syria and a close pal of Baker's. Most the Iraq Study Group's advisors were not privy to it:
In interviews with the Forward, several of the experts who advised the panel said they were shocked that the Israeli-Palestinian issue was included in the final report, since they had been told not to address the matter in their recommendations. “They kept on telling us it is a sensitive issue and that it has too many political implications,” one of the experts said.

The objections went beyond process, with some advisers arguing to the Forward that progress in Israeli-Palestinian talks is desirable but would have little impact on the situation in Iraq. “Desirable as it may be, we cannot obtain progress in the Israeli-Palestinian front right now, and even if we could, it would take years and the impact on Iraq would be less significant than some think,” said Wayne White, a former State Department official and one of the expert advisers.

The study group’s expert advisers were divided among four different working groups based on their areas of expertise and offered up recommendations to the panel. The panel’s professional staffers then took these suggestions and used them to produce the final report that was eventually approved by Baker, Hamilton and the other eight members of the Iraq Study Group.

According to several advisers, the staffers who wrote the chapter in question were Edward Djerejian, a former ambassador to Syria and Israel with close ties to Baker, and Christopher Kojm, a former aide to Hamilton who held senior positions in the State Department and the 9/11 Commission.

One staff member argued that insisting on making a clear linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Iraq was “stupid” and “exposed the report to criticism.” That staff member pointed to Djerejian as the person who inserted the language regarding Israel.

Through a spokesman, Djerejian declined to comment on this issue.
Baker continues to draw a tenuous connection between what happens in Israel and what happens in Iraq:
At the Senate committee hearing this past Tuesday, Baker defended the decision to link progress in the Israeli-Arab conflict and progress in Iraq.

The former secretary of state said: “Some have asked us: What does the Arab-Israeli conflict have to do with the war in Iraq? Why make one problem harder by taking on two? The answer is simple. It is difficult to establish regional stability in the Middle East without addressing the Arab-Israeli issue. We want other countries, especially the Sunni Arab countries, to help us. When we go to talk to them about Iraq, they will want to talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
The next thing Baker will probably say is that the Saudis carried out the 9/11 attacks out of frustration over the lack of progress on the 'Palestinian question.' And if you believe that....

Read the whole thing.


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