View Full Version : Departing U.S. Commander Reports Progress in Baghdad

12-31-2005, 08:41 AM
31 Dec. Washngton Post - Departing U.S. Commander Reports Progress in Baghdad (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/30/AR2005123001279.html).

U.S. troops and an expanded Iraqi force have blunted insurgent attacks in Baghdad, the senior American commander in the capital said yesterday, but he predicted the contested city of 6 million people would continue to face "some chaos," making it one of the last from which U.S. forces can fully withdraw.

A growing focus for the U.S. military in 2006 will be to train Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated security forces to operate "within the rule of law" and prevent detainee abuse, while promoting a greater ethnic and sectarian balance within those forces, the commander said.

Speaking at the end of a year-long Iraq tour, Maj. Gen. William G. Webster Jr., commander of the 30,000-strong U.S.-led military coalition overseeing Baghdad, offered a cautiously upbeat assessment of progress against an insurgency that he said remains adaptive and complex.

"The number of attacks is greater, but the number of successful attacks is down to 10 percent" of the total, compared with 25 to 30 percent a year ago, Webster told Pentagon reporters in a briefing from Iraq. "The insurgency has weakened since the elections," with attacks down since the Dec. 15 vote to elect a new legislature, he added...