British MPs Urge Break With Bush On Iraq, Escalation ‘Not Likely To Succeed’

Today, the British Parliament’s Select Committee on Foreign Affairs published “Global Security: The Middle East,” an oversight report issuing 36 recommendations on how the British Government can improve its role in the Middle East region.

The committee had dire predictions for the future of the escalation in Iraq, emphasizing that the British Government should focus on “political reconciliation” instead of a military solution:

We conclude that it is too early to provide a definitive assessment of the US ‘surge’ but that it does not look likely to succeed. We believe that the success of this strategy will ultimately ride on whether Iraq’s politicians are able to reach agreement on a number of key issues.

We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the Government set out what actions it is taking to facilitate political reconciliation in Iraq.


The committee also noted the deteriorating reputation of Britain in the Middle East, in part due to its involvement in Iraq, and urged diplomatic measures to rekindle strategic relations in the region:

We are concerned that the damage done to the Government’s reputation in the Arab and Islamic world may affect its ability to influence the political situation in the Middle East.

In April, the British government decided it would no longer use the phrase “war on terror.” In this report, the Committee calls the phrase an “oversimplification” and again pressures the Government to cease using “war on terror” as well as stereotyping Islam as “extremist”:

We conclude that the use by Ministers of phrases such as ‘war on terror’ and ‘arc of extremism’ is unhelpful and that such oversimplifications may lead to dangerous policy implications. We agree with the Minister for the Middle East that these phrases cause unnecessary resentment. We recommend that the Government should not use this or similar language in future.

In October, after Gen. Petraeus gives his progress report, Brown is expected to announce his “future strategy” in Iraq. He should not make the same mistake as Tony Blair.