Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security

The Administration is claiming success in significantly reducing violence in Iraq to the point where additional U.S. troop reductions can be considered, attributing the gains to a “troop surge” announced by President Bush on January 10, 2007 (“New Way Forward”). With the 28,500 “surge” forces withdrawn as of July 2008, Defense Department reports assess that overall violence is down as much as 80% since early 2007, to levels not seen since 2004, but that progress can be “fragile and tenuous” if not accompanied by fundamental political reconciliation and economic development. The Administration believes that additional “conditions-based” reductions in U.S. forces, continued building of Iraq’s security forces, and likely further political progress in Iraq – is likely to produce a unified, democratic Iraq that can govern and defend itself and is an ally in the war on terror. The Administration argues that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is increasingly recognized as capable, and that Iraqi legislative action in Iraq since the beginning of 2008 represents a substantial measure of the progress on political reconciliation that was envisioned would be facilitated by the surge.

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