Congress to get report detailing limited progress in Iraq
TheU.S. government will release a report on Thursday that points to the limited progress being madeby the Iraqi leadership inBaghdad, American officials told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The 23-page interim assessment, which will be presented to Congress on Thursday, finds the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has failed to pass long-promised lawsconsidered key to national cohesion and economic recovery.
The laws cover a broad-range of issues, including the fair division Iraq's oil resources.
However, the report will also be positive, emphasizing that the Iraqi government is making some progress in about half of the areas identified as important earlier this year by Congress.
The report will point toward signs of hope throughout Iraq, such as a drop in sectarian killings in Baghdad and growing opposition to al-Qaeda in the Anbar province.
The primarythrust of the reportwill be that lawmakers should wait until September to judge the U.S. strategy in Iraq.
One senior administration official, who has read the report, described it as giving the Iraqi government a grade of "incomplete."
Two administration officials separately confirmed that the report concludes Iraq has not met or made substantial progress toward about half the targets set by Congress.
Neither official would provide examples and spoke on condition of anonymity because the unclassified version had not been released.
Earlier this year, Congress passed a war spending bill that identified 18 benchmarks for political, security and economic reforms. The list was based on promises made by the Iraqi government.
Based on that list, thegovernmentis likely to argue some progress has been made in reducing the level of sectarian violence and militia control.
But at the U.S. State Department Tuesday, spokesman Sean McCormack agreed that none of the key benchmarks had been met, including enacting Iraqi laws to allocate oil and gas resources andaddressing amnesty for former Baath Party members.
McCormack stressed "very promising" progress the Iraqis have made in other areas not covered by the requirements, including news that Sunni chiefs have allied themselves against insurgents in the Anbar and Diyala provinces.
"There's been a lot of progress in areas that aren't necessarily measurable or measured by the benchmarks that the Congress has put out," he said. "Unless you have a set of benchmarks that looks like the New York City telephone book, it's very difficult to measure," McCormack said.