The just-released recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, whether they are taken or not, add momentum to the trend toward considering the Iraq War separately from the "war on terror." Although President Bush continues to identify the main issue vexing Iraq as terrorism, and the war there as one front in a global effort, he appears to be increasingly isolated in his views. The Iraq Study Group's framing of the situation in Iraq won't help him either. The executive summary to the report suggests that terrorism, and Al Qaeda, are a few among the many challenges now facing the country, including militias, crime and insurgency:
If they [the recommendations] are effectively implemented, and if the Iraqi government moves forward with national reconciliation, Iraqis will have an opportunity for a better future, terrorism will be dealt a blow, stability will be enhanced in an important part of the world, and America's credibility, interests, and values will be protected. The challenges in Iraq are complex. Violence is increasing in scope and lethality. It is fed by a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shiite militias and death squads, al Qaeda, and widespread criminality. Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability.
For more information about the ISG group, and the implications of the report, see: