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U.S. Iraq policy changes foreseen

Nov. 8, 2006 at 10:35 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The reduction of Republican influence in Washington will see a change in U.S. policy on Iraq, the Christian Science Monitor said Wednesday.

James Dobbins, a Rand Corp. national security expert, told the newspaper on Election Day, that change would come regardless of the outcome.

"Our elections have artificially polarized the debate and left us with a false choice between 'stay the course' and 'cut and run.' But there are a number of options between keeping 160,000 troops on the ground and just pulling out," Dobbins said.

Various sources told the newspaper the options include a diplomatic push to get Iraq's neighbors more actively involved in preventing a sectarian civil war, more diplomacy to encourage Iraq to share oil revenue more equitably among its regions and even some U.S. troop reductions.

Michael O'Hanlon, a military affairs specialist at the Brookings Institution in Washington said even a gradual reduction of troops "would focus the minds of Iraqi political leaders that they don't have forever and it reduces the perception of an occupying power that drives the insurgency."