View Full Version : Iraq: A Status Report

07-12-2006, 01:20 AM
Transcript of a speech (http://www.csis.org/images/stories/060711_khalilzad_transcript.pdf) given today by Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Iraq at CSIS:

I'll give my bottom line up-front: I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change, a tectonic shift has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community. A year ago, Sunni Arabs were outside of the political process and hostile to the United States. They boycotted the January 2005 elections, and were underrepresented in the Transitional National Assembly. Today, Sunni Arabs are full participants in the political process with their representation in the National Assembly now proportional to their share of the population. Also, they have largely come to see the United States as an honest broker in helping Iraq's communities come together around a process and a plan to stabilize the country.

Moreover, al Qaeda in Iraq have been significantly weakened during the past year. This resulted not only from the recent killing of Zarqawi, but also from the capture or killing of a number of other senior leaders, and the creation of an environment in which it is more difficult and dangerous for al Qaeda in Iraq.

These are fundamental and positive changes. Together they have made possible the inauguration of Iraq's first-ever government of national unity with non-sectarian security ministers, agreements on the rules for decision-making on critical issues, and on the structure of institutions of the executive branch and a broadly agreed-upon program. They have also enabled political progress that resulted in the recent announcement of Prime Minister Maliki of his government's national reconciliation and dialogue project.

However, at the same time, the terrorists have adapted to this success by exploiting Iraq's sectarian fault line. A year ago, terrorism and the insurgency against the coalition and the Iraqi security forces were the principal source of instability. Particularly since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in February, violent sectarianism is now the main challenge. This sectarianism is the source of frequent tragedies on the streets of Baghdad. It's imperative for the new Iraqi government to make major progress in dealing with this challenge in the next six months. The prime minister understands this fact.

Today I'll discuss the status of these efforts, noting the achievements we have obtained and the further steps we intend to take in partnership with the new government....

07-12-2006, 02:04 AM
This echoes my opinion on Iraq from what information I can glean from the mainstream media along with information from friends who are there. I think AQI is fast becoming a non-actor in the country, if they aren't already. They repeatedly failed to have any political effect.

While secterian violence still occurs between the armed miltias, this has yet to trigger an all-out civil war. Events like the destruction of the mosque and the current fighting between Sadr's Army and Sunnis are troubling, but if they haven't caused a complete collapse, then the Iraqi government may be stronger than many think.

If the US can go on a PR offensive, things will be looking good.