Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Iraqi situation remains difficult from the political, military and economic point of view, while the US House of Representatives has voted for the American troops by next April.
Yesterday shortly before the vote on withdrawal from Iraq, in an assessment required by Congress, the administration accused Syria of fostering a network that supplies as many as 50 to 80 suicide bombers per month for al-Qaeda in Iraq. It also said Iran continues to fund extremist groups.
The report said that despite progress on some fronts by the government of Nouri al-Maliki, "the security situation in Iraq remains complex and extremely challenging", the "economic picture is uneven" and political reconciliation is lagging.
The report forecasts “heavy combat” during the summer months, whiles the US and Iraqi forces “try to advance in the wake of their early successes, laying the foundations for a lasting peace”.
This is the third time the House has voted for an end to US involvement in Iraq. But President Bush has always threatened to veto the bill, which has also to be passed by the senate.
The report, based on a programme established months ago with the Iraqi government, credited the Baghdad with “satisfactory” progress on eight benchmarks, “unsatisfactory” progress on another eight and “mixed” results on the other two.
Among the satisfactory aspects are:
- Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support operations in Baghdad and setting up joint security stations in every city neighbourhood.
- Ensuring the Baghdad security plan does not provide a haven for outlaws.
- Allocating US billion in Iraqi revenue to ministries and provinces for reconstruction as well as establishing a panel to review Iraq's constitution and completing that process.
Unsatisfactory progress includes:
- Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units able to operate independently and ensuring they enforce the law evenly.
Completing a law to share Iraq's energy resources equitably with all citizens.
- Establishing a programme to grant amnesty for those who fought against the government of Iraq after Saddam Hussein was ousted, setting up a militia disarmament programme, passing a provincial elections law and setting a date for provincial elections.
While “mixed” progress notes a satisfactory improvement in reducing sectarian violence but a failure to eliminate militia control of local security.