Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq
Report to Congress
In accordance with the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2008
(Section 9010, Public Law 109-289)
Report to Congress
In accordance with the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2008
(Section 9010, Public Law 109-289)
Section 1-Stability and Security
1.1 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. However, this environment is fragile and reversible. Following passage of the Provincial Powers Law, Amnesty Law and the 2008 Budget in an omnibus package in February 2008, the Iraqi Government has become more active and has placed a priority on the development of the Elections and Hydrocarbon Laws. The Council of Representatives (CoR) is currently working on a Provincial Elections Law, with the aim of conducting provincial elections as early as October 2008. Prime Minister Maliki and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Barzani have agreed to work from the February 2007 draft of the Hydrocarbon Law. Recent debates within the Government of Iraq (GoI) related to the Provincial Powers Law, ministerial appointments and corrupt or sectarian behavior suggest that the road ahead is unlikely to be smooth or predictable.
The GoI focused much of its recent political effort toward resolving the conflict between the GoI and Sadrists, which began as an attempt to restore order in Basrah and expanded into a broader struggle over political control in Baghdad and some southern provinces. While sectarian divisions persist, the Prime Minister’s leadership in tackling mostly Shi’a militias and criminal elements in Basrah and Sadr City 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. Generally speaking, Iraqi political parties are acting in ways that benefit rather than detract from each other. Most notably, Kurdish and Sunni leaders publicly condemned militias and gave declarations of support to the national government.
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. In addition, Iraqi leaders have demonstrated an increased willingness to institutionalize power sharing by reconstituting the Political Council for National Security (PCNS) and formalizing the 3+1 arrangement as the Executive Council.3 The PCNS has met several times as a forum for political leaders to discuss national issues. For example, the meeting on April 4, 2008, included several Sadrist Trend political leaders for the first time and called for the disbandment of militias affiliated with political parties as a pre-condition for participation in upcoming elections. Hydrocarbon legislation is also beginning to move forward as the KRG and the GoI negotiate on a mechanism for managing regional hydrocarbon resources that benefits all.
Developments among the major political blocs are encouraging. The CoR reconvened for the spring session on March 25, 2008. Although indirect fire attacks on the International Zone and the curfew imposed due to Iraqi Security Force (ISF) engagements with JAM and Special Groups (SGs) caused the Speaker to cancel sessions and hold informal meetings in lieu of regular sessions, when in session, Sadrist attempts to introduce a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Maliki failed to gain the support of other major parties. Events in Basrah introduced new concerns into the political debate, but these concerns were defused by an agreement to establish a commission to look into matters of controversy.
The CoR’s priorities during this period include passing 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. Most recently, the CoR passed a law updating civil service salaries and a law on university services. The University Services Law defines allowances paid to higher education teaching staff and contains regulations for services, promotions and yearly raises.
Accountability and Justice Law (De- Ba’athification Reform Law)
Implementation of the Accountability and Justice Law will allow those individuals subject to de Ba’athification to apply for a pension, continue to work or return to work. The GoI failed to implement the law before the expiration of the statutory window for these applications; however, the Presidency Council has proposed a set of amendments that would mitigate the effects of the law on the security services and those Iraqis eligible for pensions. These amendments have been forwarded to the Prime Minister for his consideration and submission to the Council of Ministers. There appears to be political agreement to ensure that the slow pace of implementation does not penalize those subject to de Ba’athification under the law.
Provincial Powers Law, Provincial Elections Law and Execution Planning
The GoI published the Provincial Powers Law in the Official Gazette on March 31, 2008, once Vice President Mehdi withdrew his constitutionally based objections to the statute. Prime Minister Maliki’s office presented a draft Elections Law to the CoR and parliament members are currently debating this draft. The second reading of the Elections Law took place on May 11, 2008. The law will establish the framework for the provincial elections targeted for October 2008. The United Nations Assistance Mission – Iraq (UNAMI) expects provincial elections to be delayed by two to three months since many election preparations are contingent upon passage of the Elections Law.
The Provincial Elections Law remains a high priority for Iraqi leaders. As the law is debated in Parliament, teams comprising members from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNAMI are meeting with GoI officials to gain an understanding of their political positions on this issue. In addition, they are advising GoI leaders on the technical aspects of elections legislation and are seeking a consensus among the political parties.
Plans for election security and voter registration are already underway. The GoI established a Supreme Committee for Elections Security, which is responsible for preparing comprehensive security and logistics plans for the voter registration process in June 2008 and for the subsequent provincial elections. Voter registration will occur during a 30-day period at 564 Voter Registration Centers throughout Iraq. An estimated 19 million Iraqi citizens will participate in the provincial elections at 6,200 polling centers. Iraq’s security forces will provide election security while Coalition forces will serve in an advisory and overwatch role.
UNAMI is using an incremental approach to support the GoI in resolving disputes and is hoping to achieve compromise on the less contentious boundaries first. The Special Representative for the Secretary General’s UNAMI staff has made initial visits to four disputed territories and has met with local government and tribal community members to listen to their concerns. UNAMI is developing a comprehensive proposal in an attempt to gain the support of members of the Executive Council and KRG President Barzani. Eventually, recommendations will be presented to the Iraqi Presidency Council to facilitate a complete political agreement. UNAMI believes that a political resolution, not a referendum, is the way to resolve the disputed boundaries.
The Presidency Council approved the Amnesty Law on February 26, 2008. This law allows amnesty for Iraqis accused or convicted of conflict-related crimes and focuses particularly on pre-trial detainees held for more than six months without a detention hearing or for more than 12 months without a trial.4 The Higher Juridical Council (HJC) reports that amnesty review committees have considered nearly 65,000 amnesty applications and approved over 48,000. This includes nearly 17,000 applications on individuals held in pre- or post-trial confinement. Release from custody for those granted amnesty has proceeded slowly due to inter-ministerial coordination, logistical and reintegration issues, however. To date, thus far, the Ministry of Justice has released approximately 1,700 Iraqis from custody.
A Package of Hydrocarbon Laws
Political differences between the KRG and the central government have prevented the framework Hydrocarbon Law and its three supporting laws from progressing apace with other legislation. However, following a mid- April meeting between Prime Minister Maliki and KRG Prime Minister Barzani, it appears that a preliminary agreement by them on hydrocarbon legislation could clear the path for progress in the next months. This meeting marked the first time in six months that GoI and KRG political leaders met to work toward a compromise on hydrocarbons. However, while there has been some progress in identifying which drafts will be used in further negotiation, the parties have yet to reach the political agreements necessary to proceed. The Chairman of the CoR’s Oil and Gas Committee has indicated there will not be a first reading until the KRG and the GoI have reached an agreement on the direction of the overall hydrocarbon legislation.
The Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) has achieved some limited success and secured consensus on a range of technical issues, including the role of the judiciary and independent institutions. It has also made some progress on human rights issues. The CRC did not achieve political consensus on issues relating to the disputed internal boundaries and has passed that issue on to the GoI’s leadership for resolution. The CRC continues to review almost 50 amendments addressing the authority of the federal government and governorates. These amendments include provisions regarding the extent of governorate powers under Article 115, individual rights, personal status and management of oil and gas.
Ministerial Capacity Development
Coalition efforts to enhance ministerial capacity have generated only marginal improvements in performance. In January 2008, the Embassy’s Ministerial Engagement Team concluded an informal assessment of the 11 civilian ministries participating in USAID’s national capacity development program, Tatweer, and other Embassy-sponsored, shortterm capacity development programs. This assessment covered the period from January 2006 through December 2007. Improvement in the areas of budget execution, contracting and procurement that led to increased national spending rates was noted. However, the ministerial assessment revealed continued weaknesses in technology development, strategic planning and human resource management. The Embassy is working with the GoI and international partners to address these shortcomings.
Efforts to improve ministerial performance face considerable challenges. The central government and provincial ministries lack a civil service cadre trained to manage the work within their ministries. Some senior managers have the requisite expertise to manage the activities within their ministries, but almost all that do are near retirement age. Mid-level managers have some experience, but most lack modern management training. Provincial civil servants have limited links to the central ministries, which exacerbates their lack of leadership and vision. Communication is poor within and between ministries. There is no common strategic plan to address these issues. Additionally, many civil servants continue to fear corruption charges, while intimidation and assassination remain threats, whether at the hand of criminal or sectarian elements.
Provincial Reconstruction Teams
Under State Department leadership, Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams (ePRTs) and Provincial Support Teams (PSTs) are essential elements in the U.S. strategy for success in Iraq. These 30 State Department-led teams draw on U.S. military and interagency expertise to build governance capacity at the local, municipal and provincial levels.
PRTs are instrumental in helping provincial development by strengthening local government capacity, promoting reconciliation, fostering economic development, supporting implementation of the rule of law and improving the capacity of local governments to execute their budgets and deliver essential services. PRTs work closely with State Department and USAID program implementers on a wide variety of activities designed to promote economic and political development programs and strengthen civil society. These programs are helping local economies generate jobs, which in turn improves stability. PRTs helped local governments in 17 of the 18 provinces recently complete their Provincial Development Strategies, which outline broad development objectives for the next three to five years. These strategies will help local governments plan and execute their budgets to meet the needs of area residents and provide the PRTs blueprints to support Iraq’s ongoing transition to self-reliance. The 13 ePRTs embedded with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) work on sub-provincial stability tasks in support of counterinsurgency operations. The PSTs also work at the provincial level, but operate remotely from established bases located in neighboring provinces. PST Qadisiyah team transitioned from a local PST to a full PRT in April 2008, and PSTs Najaf and Karbala converted to full PRTs in late May 2008, greatly enhancing their access and effectiveness.
Rule of Law and Criminal Justice Development
Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and United States Mission-Iraq (USM-I) rule of law efforts focus on improving Iraqis’ trust in their courts and legal institutions as a means for resolving disputes. A top priority is to increase the quantity and quality of criminal investigators needed to resolve the critical backlog of pending criminal cases. Advisors also mentor the judicial staff assigned to the Rusafa Rule of Law Complex (ROLC) in order to increase court productivity. Other efforts include improving the quality of the Iraqi juvenile justice system, supporting the GoI Ministerial Committee on the Rule of Law and Detention, advocating for provincial cross-ministerial criminal justice working groups and increasing Iraqi prison capacity and staff.
Threats to judges hinder administration of the criminal justice system. Since 2003, there have been 35 Iraqi judges assassinated. In response to these threats, the Coalition expanded the Rusafa ROLC concept and established secure judicial complexes throughout Iraq to provide safe locations for judges and their families. ROLC projects outside Baghdad are also underway. Contracts for the Ramadi ROLC were awarded in April 2008 and the GoI anticipates some center facilities will be operational by the fall of 2008. Planning for a ROLC to be built around the Major Crimes Court (MCC) in Mosul is underway with the Iraqis choosing the site and undertaking the facility planning process. Coalition forces and PRT planners are identifying site locations for a ROLC in Baqubah.
The Iraqi judicial system is overwhelmed by the number 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. Implementation of the 2008 Amnesty Law has exacerbated this problem and placed an additional burden on Iraq’s judiciary. Approximately 150 judges have been taken from their normal jobs to sit on amnesty panels and on the provincial amnesty appellate panels. On the one hand, this reallocation of resources has reduced the productivity of Iraq’s criminal courts; on the other hand, the panels’ work has yielded the release of over 11,000 Iraqis from pre-trial custody. The net effect has been a significant reduction in the courts’ backlog. In general, despite difficulties, the volume of cases handled in the past year is impressive. Between February 2007 and January 2008, investigative judges released 13,286 individuals, referred 5,363 individuals to trial and found 2,000 individuals not guilty at trial. The number of Iraqi judges (~1,200) remains steady since the last report. The HJC has hired hundreds of new judges and judicial investigators in the past two years and plans to hire and train more in 2008.
The Law and Order Task Force (LAOTF) is building Iraqi capacity to investigate and prosecute major crimes of sectarian violence, extra-judicial killings and complex high-level corruption. The LAOTF has added four additional senior Iraqi police investigators to its staff and is working with the Ministry of Interior to obtain additional investigators. The LAOTF, in coordination with the Baghdad PRT and the British Embassy, has created a legal clinic at the Rusafa ROLC. This clinic supports 28 defense lawyers who represent detainees held at the Rusafa Detention Facility. Although this is a new project, it is already proved valuable in presenting cases before investigative judges that have languished for months or years without any substantive judicial action.
The MCCs have been established in each non- KRG province to serve as branch courts of the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCC-I). The MCCs conduct investigative hearings and trials relating to acts of terrorism and corruption, thus freeing the normal provincial criminal courts to process ordinary criminal offenses. However, the success of the MCCs in disposing of terrorism and corruption cases has been inconsistent from province to province. To date, there have been 219 trials conducted in Mosul, 71 trials conducted in Ramadi, 34 trials conducted in Kirkuk, 20 trials conducted in Tikrit and 27 trials conducted in Baqubah.
Theater Internment Reintegration Facilities are under construction in Taji and Ramadi. The 8,280-bed Ramadi facility and the 5,200-bed Taji project are scheduled for completion in September 2008. These facilities will provide education and skills training to ease the transition of individuals back into Iraqi society.
While public corruption continues to plague Iraqi society, the GoI is working to strengthen its anti-corruption agencies and improve its transparency and accountability. In June 2007, Iraq established the Joint Anti-Corruption Committee that will allow the GoI’s three main anti-corruption agencies (Commission on Integrity (CoI – formerly known as the Commission on Public Integrity), Board of Supreme Audit (BSA), and Inspectors General) to formally coordinate among themselves, and with representatives from the CoR and the Prime Minister’s Office. On January 3, 2008, the GoI held its first anti-corruption conference, which focused on economic and legal reforms as key to combating corruption. Deputy Prime Minister Salih committed to having Iraq become a signatory to the UN Convention on Anti-Corruption—a benchmark under the International Compact with Iraq (ICI). The new Commissioner for the CoI intends to reinvigorate the Commission’s public education and transparency programs and to collaborate with local media to promote governmental transparency and engage with the Iraqi populace.
In April 2008, Ambassador Lawrence Benedict assumed the newly-created position of Anti- Corruption Coordinator at Embassy Baghdad to work with Iraqi officials to establish a robust system that allows for improvements in budget development, execution and monitoring, while providing technical assistance to the BSA, Inspectors General and the CoI. In addition, U.S. law enforcement agents in the Major Crimes Task Force, a joint U.S.-Iraqi effort, train and mentor their Iraqi counterparts on managing complex criminal investigations, including high-level anti-corruption cases. During this reporting period, Iraq re-started the Iraq Financial Management Information System, which will provide greater transparency and track GoI revenues and expenditures.
The Coalition’s international partners are also involved in the anti-corruption effort. As part of its portfolio of activities to support good governance, the United Nations Development Program, in coordination with the office of Deputy Prime Minister Salih, organized an international Anti-Corruption Conference in Baghdad on March 17-18, 2008. Funding for the conference was provided by the European Commission. The World Bank helped the GoI complete a comprehensive Public Expenditure and Institutions Assessment that focused on good governance and administrative practices to deter corruption. The European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have also provided anticorruption assistance to the GoI.
A continuing series of Expanded Neighbors Conferences and international visits has led to some progress in encouraging support for Iraq among its neighbors, the region and the international community across a range of security, energy and economic issues. Kuwait hosted the third and most recent Expanded Neighbors Ministerial on April 22, 2008. Participants included representatives from all of Iraq’s neighbors plus Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, G-8, UN, EU, Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The agenda focused on border security, energy and refugee issues affecting Iraq and improving Iraq’s relations with its Arab neighbors. The participants agreed to hold the next Ministerial in Baghdad and to bolster efforts to establish embassies in Iraq.
International Compact with Iraq
Iraq continues to work toward meeting its International Compact with Iraq (ICI) commitments. With financial and technical support from the European Commission (EC), the World Bank and the UN, the GoI formed the ICI Secretariat, which is responsible for coordinating ICI implementation within the Iraqi Government and helping to channel donor assistance in support of Iraq meeting ICI goals and benchmarks. The ICI contains mutual commitments between Iraq and the international community and represents a qualitative shift in the U.S. relationship with Iraq—from assistance to partnership. Since the Compact’s launch on May 3, 2007, the GoI enlarged its ICI Secretariat from two to seven Iraqis. The EC has provided advisors and convened working groups organized around the ICI’s six main themes of energy, governance, economic reform, agriculture, human development and resource management.
The ICI First Anniversary Conference was held at the ministerial level in Stockholm, Sweden on May 29, 2008. Iraq reported on its progress meeting ICI goals, while Iraq’s donor partners discussed support provided to Iraq. Nearly 100 individual countries and international organizations attended the meeting. Many positive developments emerged from the ICI conference.
Despite pledges from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Iranian President Ahmadinejad in August 2007 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 play a destabilizing role in Iraq. While the Syrian Government has established relations with the GoI and cooperates on a range of economic, diplomatic and security matters, Syria also remains a safe haven and transit point for the vast majority of foreign terrorist networks now operating in Iraq. Moreover, Syria continues to harbor elements of the former Iraqi regime that, in some cases, continue to oppose the GoI by supporting insurgents. While the Syrian Government takes action against those extremists that threaten its own internal security, it has not made a similar commitment to reduce and eliminate the flow of foreign fighters and lethal aid into Iraq. Syria has yet to take a strong stance against terrorism or to show its support to the GoI in its struggle to defeat AQI within its borders. This was clearly demonstrated at the recent Arab League Summit on March 29-30, 2008, in Damascus, when Syria failed to acknowledge GoI concerns about these issues in the final draft of the concluding Damascus Declaration.
Tensions on the Border with Turkey
During this reporting period, Turkey continued its campaign of air and artillery strikes against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq. Against this backdrop, President Talibani’s March 1, 2008, meeting in Turkey with President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan to discuss cooperation against the PKK terrorist threat and to discuss their growing economic and trade relationship was an important milestone in Iraq - Turkey relations. A subsequent meeting of the Iraq-Turkey Military Cooperation Technical Committee and adoption of a Declaration of Principles on security cooperation have provided a foundation for enhanced cooperation. The U.S. Embassies in Baghdad and Ankara continue to encourage greater political contacts between the GoI and the Turkish Government and between the Turkish Government and the KRG. Future talks between the Turkish and Iraqi Ministries of Interior to refine their 2007 Counter-Terrorism Agreement should define common procedures for dealing with the PKK and for coordinating military operations in the border regions of Iraq and Turkey. These talks are aimed to minimize threats to stability and demonstrate respect for each country’s territorial integrity.
Internally Displaced Persons
USAID is the lead agency for tracking and coordinating U.S. Government assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs). As security conditions improve, USAID, its partner Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and members of the international community are assisting the GoI in fulfilling its commitment to improve essential services for IDPs.
U.S. Government agencies use UN standard reports as sources for statistics on IDPs and returnees. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, between September 2007 and February 2008, approximately 60,000 displaced Iraqis (refugees and IDPs) returned to their homes, with the majority returning to Baghdad. The primary reasons for their return are depletion of savings, expiration of visas, insecurity about residency status and improved security in Iraq. The UN reports also indicate that the rate of displacement within Iraq is slowing from an average of 68,700 displaced Iraqis per month between June and July 2007, to an average of 34,200 per month between August and November 2007, to an average of 29,700 per month from December 2007 to March 2008. Many IDPs will seek to return to their neighborhoods of origin as stability and security throughout the country increases. Nonetheless, UN reports show that the total number of IDPs and refugees is growing, and the GoI should take stronger measures to address this issue.
United Nations Assistance Mission - Iraq
UNAMI continues to play a key role in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1770 mandate. At the request of the GoI, UNAMI is assisting in national dialogue and political reconciliation, addressing internal border issues, promoting regional dialogue and assisting IDPs and returnees, among other tasks. In order to better support this enhanced scope of activities, UNAMI has increased the size of its staff in Iraq.
UNAMI remains involved with Iraq’s neighbors and is particularly active in the Refugee Working Group, which held a successful second meeting in Amman, Jordan on March 18, 2008. Kuwait hosted the third Expanded Neighbors Ministerial on April 22, 2008. UNAMI supports the Expanded Neighbors Process by assisting the “ad hoc support mechanism” endorsed at the November 2007 Ministerial in Istanbul. This mechanism is located in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Baghdad headquarters. UNAMI is training ministry employees to develop the diplomatic agenda and milestones for the three Neighbors Working Groups (Border Security, Refugees and Energy) and is particularly active in the Refugee Working Group.
Other Regional Issues
The GoI continues to establish and assert itself among its neighbors. Iraq hosted the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in Irbil on March 11-13, 2008, bringing together parliamentary delegations from 18 Arab countries. Though willing to attend a conference in Iraq, Arab neighbors remain reluctant to reestablish embassies and send ambassadors to Baghdad. There are currently no ambassadors from Arab states in Baghdad.
Long-Term Strategic Relationship
Negotiations to normalize the bilateral U.S.- Iraq relationship upon the expiration of UNSCR 1790 continue. The goal remains to reach a Strategic Framework Agreement by the end of July 2008. As these negotiations continue, there remains more to be done to address Iraqi concerns on sovereignty and to ensure that U.S. and Coalition partners have the protections and authorities they need to remain in Iraq in 2009 and beyond. As for the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the SOFA will be a legally binding, bilateral Executive Agreement that defines the basic terms and conditions governing the presence and agreed activities of U.S. forces in the territory of Iraq after the expected expiration of the UN Security Council mandate for MNF-I at the end of 2008. However, neither document will commit or obligate the United States to any particular course of action.
Iraq has made considerable progress in the political and diplomatic arenas, but future progress may be slow and uneven. The GoI is working through political processes fraught with challenges related to lingering sectarianism, immature institutions and the complexity of constructing a democratic state from the remnants of a former dictatorship. Moreover, Iraq is pursuing this endeavor surrounded by neighbors that have not fully committed themselves to its success. The formalization of the Executive Council (3+1) indicates forward movement towards formalizing a powersharing mechanism within the GoI. The CoR has demonstrated an ability to compromise and pass critical legislation. Passage of the Accountability and Justice Law during the last reporting period represents significant progress in GoI legislative capability, but its benefit to long-term reconciliation is dependent upon carefully-crafted implementing regulations and the “spirit” in which they are implemented. Future effects of the Accountability and Justice Law on reconciliation are still unclear. The Provincial Powers Law is a significant achievement toward defining the authorities of provincial governments and their relationship to the national government. This law directs provincial elections by October 2008, and the GoI has tentatively committed to this timeline, energizing the Parliament to produce a Provincial Elections Law. The U.S. Government, the Coalition and the UN will continue to push for provincial elections to remain on track. In all these efforts, the Coalition is fully engaged to support Iraq and welcomes the growing acceptance of Iraq as a sovereign state in the international community.
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