President Bush missed his opportunity to truly revise the course of the war in Iraq.

The Arab American Institute is deeply disappointed that the president’s revised strategy – which relies heavily on the weak and ineffective government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki – runs counter to the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and risks placing both the U.S. and the Middle East region in a precarious situation.

While President Bush incorporated some of the important ISG elements into his revised policy on Iraq, we are troubled by the obvious omission of several key recommendations that would have long-lasting impact on our standing not only in Iraq, but in the Middle East as a whole.

Bush’s new strategy is a myopic response, ignoring the strongly stated ISG recommendation that the problems of Iraq must be dealt with in context with the wider issues of the Middle East.  We believe the U.S. must aggressively pursue a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to secure peace in the region, as well as be willing to engage Iran and Syria in talks.

It has been nearly four years since the invasion of Iraq, and the situation is far worse now than in 2003.  It is time the Bush Administration and the U.S. approach important regional players and seek their support in helping us extricate ourselves from Iraq.