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Council on Foreign Relations Press
February 2007 (updated September 2007)
Council Special Report No. 23
Iraq has come to dominate U.S. foreign policy—and the controversy over Iraq has come to dominate the debate over U.S. foreign policy.
This report by Steven N. Simon, the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, makes a major contribution to that debate.
After the Surge: The Case for U.S. Military Disengagement from Iraq is premised on the judgment that the United States is not succeeding in Iraq and that Iraq itself is more divided and violent than ever. It concludes that the administration’s decision to increase U.S. force levels will fail to prevent further deterioration in the situation—and that there is no alternative policy with the potential to turn things around.
As a result, Simon urges the United States to disengage militarily from Iraq, a disengagement that in his view should involve a negotiated accord with Iraq’s government, a dialogue with Iraq’s neighbors, and new diplomatic initiatives throughout the region. Simon argues that if the United States does all this, it can minimize the strategic costs of its failure in Iraq and even offset these losses in whole or in part.
“[O]ne of the best diagnoses of the problem.”
—Matthew Yglesias, Atlantic.com
“The most cogent appraisal of the current situation that we have on the public record.”
“A thoughtful new report.”
—New York Times
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Steven N. Simon is the Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to joining the Council, Simon specialized in Middle Eastern affairs at the RAND Corporation and was the deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. From 1994 until 1999, Simon served as director for global issues and senior director for transnational threats on the National Security Council staff. He has published widely in leading foreign policy journals and newspapers and is a frequent commentator on radio and television. He has a BA from Columbia University in Classics and Near Eastern languages, an MTS from the Harvard Divinity School, and an MPA from Princeton University. In addition to teaching at Georgetown University, he has been a university fellow at Brown University and Oxford University. Simon is the coauthor of The Age of Sacred Terror, The Next Attack, Building a Successful Palestinian State, The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State, and coeditor of Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change with Toby Dodge.