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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quarterly Iraq Progress Report Documents More Good News

Don't expect to hear about it on the "news!"

Here's a link to the entire report.

Full size image here or see page 20 of the report (PDF page 28).

Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq
Dept. of Defense
June 2008

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 as amended by Section 1308 of Public Law 110-28 and Section 1224 of Public Law 110-181.1 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 twelfth in a series of quarterly reports on this subject.

The strategic goal of the United States in Iraq remains a unified, democratic and federal Iraq that can govern, defend and sustain itself and is an ally in the war on terror. The United States is pursuing this goal along political, security, economic and diplomatic lines of operation. This report measures progress toward achieving this goal during the reporting period (March through May 2008) and highlights challenges to Iraqi and Coalition efforts to achieve their mutual objectives.

The security environment in Iraq continues to improve, with all major violence indicators reduced between 40 to 80% from pre-surge levels. Total security incidents have fallen to their lowest level in over four years. Coalition and Iraqi forces’ operations against al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) have degraded its ability to attack and terrorize the population. Although AQI remains a major threat and is still capable of high-profile attacks, the lack of violence linked to AQI in recent weeks demonstrates the effect these operations have had on its network.

Equally important, the government’s success in Basrah and Baghdad’s Sadr City against militias, particularly Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) and the Iranian-supported Special Groups, has reinforced a greater public rejection of militias. This rejection, while still developing, is potentially as significant for Iraq as the Sunni rejection of AQI’s indiscriminate violence and extremist ideology. Overall, the communal struggle for power and resources is becoming less violent. Many Iraqis are now settling their differences through debate and the political process rather than open conflict. Other factors that have contributed to a reduction in violence include the revitalization of sectors of the Iraqi economy and local reconciliation measures.

Although the number of civilian deaths in April 2008 increased slightly from February and March 2008, in May 2008 civilian deaths declined to levels not seen since January 2006, when the Coalition began tracking this data. Both Iraqi and Coalition forces reported that civilian deaths are 75% lower than July 2007 levels and 82% lower than the peak number of monthly deaths that occurred in November of 2006 at the height of sectarian violence. Periodic high-profile car and suicide vest bombings continued throughout the period and were largely responsible for the increased civilian deaths in April 2008. However, the trends of decreasing violence suggest the failure of these high-profile attacks to rekindle the self-reinforcing cycle of ethno-sectarian violence that began in 2006.

The emergence of Sons of Iraq (SoIs) to help secure local communities has been one of the most significant developments in the past 18 months in Iraq. These volunteers help protect their neighborhoods, secure key infrastructure and roads and locate extremists among the population. What began primarily as a Sunni effort, now appears to have taken hold in several Shi’a and mixed communities. Today there are 103,000 SoIs contributing to local security in partnership with Coalition and Iraqi forces. AQI’s continued targeting of SoIs demonstrates AQI’s recognition of the importance and effectiveness of SoI initiatives.
The Good News in Graphic Form:

Is the above what you would expect if Iraq was mired in a "civil war?" Have any of the media or defeatists who used that phrase issued a correction?

Notice the huge upward trend in discovery of weapons caches used by terrorists. Much of this improvement relies on tips from Iraqi citizens who are now confident enough to turn in the bad guys.


  • The majority of the remaining violence occurs in just a handful of provinces. These are the areas that the Iraqi forces are now concentrating their efforts and meeting with considerable success.
  • Progress in building Iraqi security forces is clearly evident. But, the graph also shows that much work needs to be done before U.S. combat forces can leave.

Is it time to say it?

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