View Full Version : From the Embassy, a Grim Report

06-18-2006, 12:28 AM
18 June Washington Post - From the Embassy, a Grim Report (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/16/AR2006061601768.html).

Hours before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees. This cable, marked "sensitive" and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government.

AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 121430Z JUN 06 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/graphics/iraqdocs_061606.pdf) (Posted to the 'Net by the Washington Post)

06-23-2006, 02:55 PM
CFR, 22 Jun 06: Measuring Progress in Iraq (http://www.cfr.org/publication/10972/measuring_progress_in_iraq.html)

As the war in Iraq is hotly debated in the halls of Congress (WashPost), a question continues to vex American foreign policymakers: Are we making any headway? A glance at various quality-of-life indicators and statistics on the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure—as explained in this new Backgrounder (http://www.cfr.org/publication/10971/)—indicate a decided lack of progress. Electricity output has flat-lined. Potable water remains scarce. And despite holding one of the largest crude reserves in the world, Iraq still produces less oil than Brazil, a nation known more for its black coffee than its black gold.

But these indicators, while important, do not paint a complete picture. More important, says CFR Senior Defense Fellow Stephen Biddle, is whether Iraq's main ethno-religious identities—the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds—are making progress (http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060301faessay85201/stephen-biddle/seeing-baghdad-thinking-saigon.html) toward reaching a communal power-sharing agreement. Only such an arrangement, he argues, can reduce the cycle of violence.

A recent poll (http://www.iri.org/04-27-06-IraqPoll.asp) backs up Biddle's claim. Security (http://www.cfr.org/publication/10778/), not jobs or round-the-clock electricity, is what ordinary Iraqis desire most. They have relied increasingly on alternative means—local militias, insurgents, organized criminals—to fill in the government's security void...