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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 7, 2006


Release of Report Required by the United States Policy in Iraq Act, Section 1227 (c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006

The Department of State has released the first Presidential report to the United States Congress pursuant to the United States Policy in Iraq Act, section 1227 (c) of the National Defense Authorization Act, Section 1227 (c).

The report covers current military, diplomatic, political, and economic measures that have been undertaken to successfully complete the mission in Iraq. The report offers an assessment of the current situation in Iraq - paralleling the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq released by the White House in November 2005 -- and outlines goals and measures on the political, economic and security progress.

These three tracks move forward simultaneously, and successes in each track are mutually reinforcing. Conclusions from the report include:

  • Progress on government formation continued despite an upsurge in sectarian violence that stemmed from the February 22, 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Those who attacked the Golden Mosque sought to exploit divisions among the Iraqi public and the political leadership to start a civil war. Iraqi government and religious leaders alike, in a demonstration of national unity, condemned the attacks and called for an end to sectarian unrest, and for security forces free from sectarian and militia loyalties.
  • Despite concerted efforts by terrorists and insurgents to derail assistance efforts, there was measurable progress along the economic track. Iraq's economy grew from $18.9 billion in 2002 to $33.1 billion in 2005. Reconstruction has faced security challenges on the ground, which have driven up the cost of doing business, both in terms of financial costs and human resources. Despite this and other unanticipated challenges, we have been successful in rehabilitating water and sewage services and immunizing children against childhood diseases.
  • Continued increases in the numbers of individuals trained, equipped, and formed into operational units: As of March 20, U.S. and coalition forces have trained and equipped more than 111,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen. More than 89,000 police have been trained and equipped. Police work alongside 41,700 other Ministry of Interior forces, such as the National Police (formerly the Special Police). Overall, over 240,000 Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior forces have been trained and equipped.
  • There is no specific threshold for the number of Iraqi Armed Forces battalions that must be judged capable of operating independently before the number of U.S. forces in Iraq can be reduced.
  • The Ministries of Defense and Interior continued to experience challenges with critical institutional functions, including administrative processes, programming and budgeting, finance, and sustaining operations in addition to ensuring that the security ministries and their respective subordinate chains of command are not undermined by militia or criminal influences. Iraq's local and provincial governments face significant challenges, a number of which stem from a long-standing history of a consolidated, centralized power structure in Baghdad and limited local authority.

The report is available at www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rpt/ .

2006/356

Released on April 7, 2006

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