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Defense Department Report, August 11: Iraq Update

11 August 2005

Foreign fighters, supporters are a significant threat to Iraqis

A U.S. military official told reporters in Baghdad August 11 that coalition operations are focused on eliminating foreign fighters and their local supporters because they represent “the most significant threat today to the people of Iraq.”

At the same time, Army Major General Rick Lynch says the Iraqi insurgency is neither growing more active nor expanding.  He said 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces are experiencing an average of three attacks daily.  He also said there has been a decline in the number of suicide and car bombs in recent months.

Lynch is the deputy chief of staff for the Multinational Force in Iraq.  He said the military analyzes data collected on the numbers of attacks in Iraq to determine how many were actually effective.  Effective is defined as an attack that results in a coalition, Iraqi security or civilian casualty.  “And less than 25 percent of those attacks are effective and have resulted in a casualty,” the general said.

While the Iraqi insurgency has shown itself to be adaptive, Lynch said it is not well led and its leaders display no evidence of a common vision.

Lynch also reported on what he described as significant progress on the political front in Iraq.  For example, he predicted that as many as 80 percent of the Sunni Arabs who did not participate in the January elections will participate in the December elections for a new government.

Lynch also focused his comments on broad efforts to strengthen Iraqi security, saying: “we are amazed on a daily basis with the capabilities and improvements of the Iraqi security forces.”

Coalition forces are looking across the country to identify locations where a transition can be made to cede control to Iraqi security forces.  He indicated that such a transition could not occur countrywide all at once.

Lynch also answered questions about reconstruction efforts in Iraq.  While there is still much work to be done, he said, 1,300 of the 3,100 funded reconstruction projects have already been completed.  He pointed out that construction of a maternity and children’s hospital in Sadr City is 40 percent complete.

Originally planned as a two-story hospital with 250 beds, the $17 million project has expanded to accommodate 300 beds and is designed to serve between 500 and 700 maternity, pediatric and blood-disorder patients daily.

Electrical projects are another priority.  Lynch said $13 million is being spent on an electrical distribution project in Sadr City to help provide a more reliable source of power.

For addition information, see Iraq Update.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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