Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DOD's Releases Quarterly Iraq Report

The quarterly DOD report, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, June 2008, has been released. It contains some good news, some troubling, particularly as to Iran and the Kurdish north. The report is definitively at odds with the GAO report below. What follows is a brief summary of the DOD report:

1. Political Stability:

 "With recent improvements in security, the current political environment in Iraq is becoming more hospitable to compromises across sectarian and ethnic divides. In general, Prime Minister Maliki’s tough stand against the Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia and the criminal elements in Basrah, and his subsequent operations in Baghdad and Ninewa, seem to have generated an improved atmosphere of political unity."

2. National Reconciliation:

 Maliki's offensives against Sadr have "served to galvanize Iraq’s political parties, revealed strong support for a national response to these problems and demonstrated a willingness of most party officials to build upon the recent gains in security and reconciliation." The political parties are showing an increase in mutually beneficial cooperation.

 "Prime Minister Maliki’s willingness to confront criminal militias and protest Iranian involvement directly with the Iranian Government also generated a positive response from Sunni communities and was cited as one of the primary reasons the Tawafuq party has announced an intention to return to the Council of Ministers."

 Iraq's government has institutionalized power sharing.

3. Politics:

 A motion for a vote of no-confidence in PM Maliki was proposed by the Sadrist bloc in Parliament but received no support outside the block.

 The goals for the next three months are passage of an Elections Law, negotiating compromise legislation on a national hydrocarbon policy, pushing through an amendment to the recently passed Accountability and Justice Law and identifying funding requirements for a 2008 supplemental budget for the ministries and provinces.

 The Parliament recently passed a law updating civil service salaries and a law
on university services.

 The Accountability and Justice Law has been passed but is in the process of amendment to allow those individuals subject to de Ba’athification to apply for a pension, continue to work or return to work.

 The Elections law to set the framework for October provincial elections recently had its second reading.

 The UN is doing a good job of dealing with the highly divisive Kurdish problem and Article 140 - an agreement to allow a referendum in disputed provinces that the Kurds want to claim. They are recommending that the issue be resolved by political accomodation.

 Iraq approved the Amnesty Law on February, 2008. Amnesty review committees have considered nearly 65,000 amnesty applications and approved over 48,000. The bad news is that because of problems with coordination, only 1,700 people on the approved list have so far been released.

4. Government Reform:

 The various government ministries have somewhat increased their performance but still have significant short comings in the areas of technology development, strategic planning and human resource management. The Embassy is addressing these systemic shortcomings, but there are a myriad of challenges to overcome.

 The Iraqi judicial system also faces a myriad of challenges, not the least of which is a logjam of criminal cases. The "lack of timely and complete investigations, combined with poor court administration and intimidation of judges, hampers the ability of investigative courts to process cases in a timely manner." Work on reform in this area continues.

 Great effort is being placed on anti-corruption efforts, including institutional and legal reforms to detect corruption and increase transparency.

5. Transnational Issues:

 "Iran’s negative role in Iraq has emerged as a major security challenge. . . . Iran continues to fund, train, arm and guide JAM Special Groups and other Shi’a extremist organizations. In Basrah, Iraqi troops uncovered massive caches of Iranian-origin weapons and ammunition, including some items manufactured in Iran in 2008. The GoI has begun to directly engage the Iranians on this issue and recently confronted Iranian national leadership with evidence of Iran’s widespread efforts to destabilize Iraq. In response, Iran denied its involvement and sought to blame the Coalition for Iraq’s instability—a response that suggests Iran will continue to provide lethal support to Iraqi extremists."
. . . .
"Despite pledges from [Iran] . . . to stop providing weapons, training and funding to militias in Iraq, evidence indicates that Iran has not yet stopped the flow of lethal aid. Security operations by the ISF to end widespread criminal activity in Basrah in late March 2008 resulted in significant clashes with elements of JAM and SGs that revealed extensive evidence of Iran’s malign influence and ongoing efforts to destabilize the political and security environment in Iraq. Specifically, the discovery of weapons caches and information obtained through interrogation of detainees prove that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) has provided many of the weapons and explosives used by extremists, including rockets, mortars, bulk explosives and Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) components. The IRGC-QF has also provided weapons and tactics training and train-thetrainer programs for many Iraqi militia members. Continuing Iranian lethal aid enables criminal JAM elements and SGs to attack Coalition and Iraqi forces throughout Iraq and may well pose the greatest long-term threat to Iraqi security."

 Syria continues to be a destabilizing influence in Iraq. It remains a transit point for foreign terrorists into Iraq and harbors former Iraqi regime elements involved in supporting terrorism in Iraq.

 While Turkey continues operations against PKK terrorists on the Iraqi side of the border, the Kurds have opted to cooperate with Turkey. A series of agreements on terrorism and trade have defused some of the tension.

6. Economy:

 Oil production in May 2008 reached its highest level since September 2004, with an average daily production of 2.61 million barrels per day, with the increases largely due to security gains.

 The Iraqi economy grew 4.1%, after adjusting for inflation.

 Inflation was reduced two fold from 2006 and is now at 12%.

7. Security:

 Security has improved dramatically. Despite a spike of activity in late March and April 2008 in Basrah and Sadr City, overall violence levels have dropped to mid-to late-2005 levels.

 These improvements coincide with the growing willingness of Sunni and
Shi’a tribal leaders to cooperate with the Coalition in an effort to reduce violence in their neighborhoods and provinces.

 The overall security situation in Iraq is still reversible.

Part II of the report deals with the statistics governing the growth in training and operations of Iraqi military, police and other security forces.

You can find the entire DOD report here.

No comments: