3 of 18 Iraq Benchmarks Met: Report

Iraq's Shiite-dominated government has failed to meet all but three of the 18 political and security benchmarks set by Congress to measure progress in the war-torn country, according to a draft report by Congress executive arm.

3 of 18 Iraq Benchmarks Met: Report
Iraq's Shiite-dominated government has failed to meet all but three of the 18 political and security benchmarks set by Congress to measure progress in the war-torn country, according to a draft report by Congress executive arm.

"Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds," concluded the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a draft report obtained Thursday, August 30, by the Washington Post.

The 69-page draft said the government only achieved one of eight political benchmarks -- the protection of the rights of minority political parties in the legislature.

It added that two security benchmarks have been achieved and another two -- the formation of governmental regions and the allocation and expenditure of $10 billion for reconstruction -- have been "partially met."

The remaining 13 benchmarks, including legislation on constitutional reform, new oil and de-Baathification laws, have been a failure.

"Prospects for additional progress in enacting legislative benchmarks have been complicated by the withdrawal of 15 of 37 members of the Iraqi cabinet," said the GAO.

The Sunni Accordance Front and Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr have pulled their ministers from the government over failure to deliver on reform promises.

"This boycott ends any claim by the Shiite-dominated coalition to be a government of national unity," maintained the GAO.

The report, to go to Congress next week, contradicted a July report by the National Security Council which said Iraq made satisfactory progress on half of the benchmarks.

Sectarian

The GAO draft report criticizes the US-trained Iraqi security forces, citing "performance problems.

"Some army units sent to Baghdad have mixed loyalties, and some have had ties to Shiite militias making it difficult to target Shiite extremist networks."

It said that the number of Iraqi army units capable of operating independently declined from 10 in March to six last month.

US officials have long bragged about progress of the US-trained Iraqi troops.

The GAO draft said that the government has intervened in military activities for political reasons "resulting in some operations being based on sectarian interests."

Since the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq has plunged into an abyss of overlapping civil conflicts that have divided its rival religious and ethnic communities, and left tens of thousands of civilians dead.

After forming his government, Nour al-Maliki vowed to dismantle Shiite militias to help restore security to the war-torn country.

No action has been taken since.

Failure

The GAO draft report also provides a stark assessment of the troop surge ordered by President George W. Bush.

"While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, US agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced."

It said although attacks against US troops have dropped, attacks against Iraqi civilians remain unchanged.

"The average number of daily attacks against civilians remained about the same over the last six months; 25 in February versus 26 in July."

The majority of 100 of America's most respected foreign-policy experts have agreed that Bush's troop surge in Iraq has proved futile and is having a negative impact on US national security.

A US military assessment concluded in May that American troops were only able to control fewer than one-third of Baghdad's neighborhoods despite the deployment of the additional troops.

A July Newsweek poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe the surge plan was useless.

Top US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to report to Congress by mid-September on the surge.

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Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2007, 14:54
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