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Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq


November 2006
Report to Congress
In accordance with the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2007
(Section 9010, Public Law 109-289)

 


Executive Summary

This report to Congress, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, is submitted pursuant to Section 9010 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2007, Public Law 109-289.1 The report includes specific performance indicators and measures of progress toward political, economic, and security stability in Iraq, as directed in that legislation. This is the sixth in a series of reports on this subject. The most recent report was submitted in August 2006. The report complements other reports and information about Iraq provided to Congress, and is not intended as a single source of all information about the combined efforts or the future strategy of the United States, its Coalition partners, or Iraq.

The goal of U.S. engagement in Iraq is a united, stable, democratic, and secure nation, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves and to provide security for their country. The metrics discussed in this report measure progress toward-and setbacks from-this goal and help illuminate the challenges. Although the U.S. goal remains constant, the ways and means used to achieve the goal have changed and will continue to change to adapt to a shifting situation. The United States and its Coalition partners remain committed to assist the Iraqi people to take over full responsibility for their country. Ultimately, success in these efforts lies with the Iraqi people.

The period covered in this report (August 12, 2006 to November 10, 2006) saw incremental progress in the Government of Iraq's willingness and ability to take over responsibility, to build institutions, and to deliver essential services. This progress is notable given the escalating violence in some of Iraq's more populous regions and the tragic loss of civilian life at the hands of terrorists and other extremists. To counter this violence, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have assumed more leadership in counter-insurgency and law enforcement operations as they approach completion of the programmed goals for training and equipping. The Government of Iraq has identified future security requirements and is working, both independently and with the United States, to program additional security resources. The international community is also responding to its role in Iraq's peaceful development, as evidenced by recent United Nations Security Council resolutions and regional engagement initiatives.

Political Stability

Iraq's Council of Representatives has passed key legislation to initiate the constitutional review process, to facilitate foreign investment, and to outline a process for region formation. Most important for long-term political stability is the success of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's National Reconciliation and Dialogue Project. This project initiated a series of meetings among political, religious, tribal, and sectarian leaders, and could, under the right circumstances, over the long run, serve as a basis for effective legislation for civil society and a national compact resolving the divisive issues in Iraq.

However, so far, this project has shown little progress. Sectarian violence has steadily increased despite meetings among religious and tribal leaders. The proposed meeting between political leaders has been repeatedly delayed. Concrete actions by the Government of Iraq to implement national reconciliation have not been successful.

Some Iraqis now express a lack of confidence in the government's ability to equitably solve fundamental issues.

The U.S. government should continue to press the Iraqi government to act on the Presidency Council's October 2006 legislative and political agenda. This document included a timeline for key issues that directly impact Iraqi reconciliation efforts.

The international community continued to show support for long-term peace and stability in Iraq and the region. In August 2006, the United Nations extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq and, in November 2006, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the multi-national force in Iraq.

Within the region, the Organization of the Islamic Conference held a meeting in Mecca during which Iraqi religious leaders of both Sunni and Shi'a communities publicly declared suicide bombings and other attacks on Iraqi Muslims a sin.

Critical domestic issues, including hydrocarbon legislation, de-Ba'athification reform, provincial elections, and demobilization of militias, must still be addressed. The failure of the government to implement concrete actions in these areas has contributed to a situation in which, as of October 2006, there were more Iraqis who expressed a lack of confidence in their government's ability to improve the situation than there were in July 2006. It remains an urgent responsibility of the Government of Iraq to resolve the outstanding issues that inhibit political progress and to demonstrate a resolve to contain and terminate sectarian violence.

Economic Activity

The Iraqi economy continued to show progress, but still faces serious challenges. High unemployment continued to feed sectarian, insurgent, and criminal violence. Although definitive data are not available on the actual unemployment rate, it has been an issue that has had a significant effect on the security environment. The Iraqi government, along with Coalition and international help, must create an effective strategy to provide jobs. This program must be seen as fair and non-sectarian by common Iraqis. It must produce tangible results for a plurality of Iraqis or it may decrease the legitimacy of the Government of Iraq and have little effect on the level of violence.

Oil production and electricity generation have improved since August 2006, but the security situation, maintenance deficiencies, and management issues have adversely affected distribution and delivery of these essential services. As of the data cut-off date for this report, crude oil production was 2.3 million barrels per day (mbpd). This is 7.5% higher than the production reported in August 2006, but still short of the Government of Iraq's goal of 2.5 mbpd per day. Oil exports remained at 1.6 mbpd, short of the government's revised goal of 1.7 mbpd, but the financial impact of the shortfall was completely offset by higherthan- projected oil prices, resulting in higherthan- projected oil revenues.

The average peak generating output for electricity for the reporting period was 4,650 megawatts, 2% more than the previous quarter, and Iraq averaged 11 hours of power per day nationwide. In October 2006, the last month for which data were available, the national average increased to 12.2 hours, slightly exceeding program goals. Electrical distribution was affected by the same problems as the oil sector, leaving some areas, including Baghdad, with far fewer hours of government-supplied electricity.

New water projects have increased the supply of potable water by 35% since May 2006, but availability of fresh water remained far short of the need.

The Security Environment

In the past three months, the total number of attacks2 increased 22%. Some of this increase is attributable to a seasonal spike in violence during Ramadan. Coalition forces remained the target of the majority of attacks (68%), but the overwhelming majority of casualties were suffered by Iraqis. Total civilian casualties increased by 2% over the previous reporting period. Fiftyfour percent of all attacks occurred in only 2 of Iraq's 18 provinces (Baghdad and Anbar). Violence in Iraq was divided along ethnic, religious, and tribal lines, and political factions within these groups, and was often localized to specific communities. Outside of the Sunni Triangle, more than 90% of Iraqis reported feeling very safe in their neighborhoods. Still, concern regarding civil war ran high among the Iraqi populace.

The number of infrastructure attacks continued to decrease, but the lack of recovery from the cumulative effects of these attacks, combined with ineffective infrastructure repair and maintenance, impeded the delivery of essential services to Iraqis and undermined the legitimacy of the government among the Iraqi people. The U.S. Congress provided supplemental funds that the Departments of State and Defense plan to use to improve infrastructure security.

Iraqi Security Forces

More than 45,000 additional Iraqi soldiers and police have completed initial training and equipping since August 2006, bringing the total number of ISF that have been trained and equipped to 322,600. By the end of December 2006, the United States and its Coalition partners will have met the force generation targets while continuing the efforts to improve the ISF's capability to meet emergent requirements. However, the trained-and-equipped number should not be confused with present-for-duty strength. The number of present-for-duty soldiers and police is much lower, due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition.

The ISF increasingly took operational lead, assuming primary area security responsibility and demonstrating an increased capability to plan and execute counter-insurgency operations. As of November 13, 2006, there were 6 Division Headquarters, 30 Brigade Headquarters, and 91 Iraqi Army battalions that have been assigned their own areas for leading counter-insurgency operations. In September 2006, Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) transferred command and control of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC) to the Ministry of Defense Joint Headquarters. Joint Headquarters also assumed command and control of the Iraqi Air Force and Navy, and IGFC assumed command and control of two Iraqi Army divisions (4th and 8th). In total, 104 Iraqi Army combat battalions, 2 Special Operations Battalions, and 6 Strategic Infrastructure Battalions are now conducting operations at varying levels of assessed capability.

The most significant remaining challenges are the reformation of the Ministry of Interior police force and the development of ISF logistics and sustainment capabilities. The Government of Iraq, with U.S. assistance, is working to eliminate militia infiltration of the Ministry of Interior and the extensive reliance of Iraqi forces on U.S. support and sustainment.

Transferring Security Responsibility

On September 21, 2006, responsibility for the security of Dhi Qar Province was transferred from MNF-I to the Iraqi Provincial Governor and the civilian-controlled Iraqi police. Dhi Qar became the second of Iraq's 18 provinces to make the transition to Provincial Iraqi Control. Pending successful negotiations between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, MNF-I and the Government of Iraq intend to transfer security responsibility of Dahuk, Irbil, and Sulamaniyah Provinces to the Kurdistan Regional Government by the end of December 2006. The remaining provinces are expected to achieve Provincial Iraqi Control in 2007.

In consultation with the military commanders in Iraq, the Government of Iraq, and Coalition partners, the Department of Defense continued to advise the President on the appropriate level of U.S. forces in Iraq. As security conditions improve and the ISF become more capable of securing their own country, Coalition forces will move out of the cities, reduce the number of bases from which they operate, and conduct fewer visible missions.

 

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1 The information in this report has been made available with the assistance of many departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, and the Government of Iraq.



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