News

    Iraqi Government Still Shaky, Says New US Intelligence Estimate

    A new U.S. intelligence estimate says there have been some improvements in the security situation in Iraq. It also says, however, that the Iraqi government is still unable to govern effectively and will remain in a precarious state, at least for the near future. VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports.

    The new National Intelligence Estimate on stability in Iraq says there has been what it terms "measurable but uneven" improvement in Iraq's security situation since the beginning of the year, and that further modest improvements can be expected.

    But it also says that levels of insurgent and sectarian violence remain high, and that Iraqi forces cannot cope with the strife without the continuing presence of U.S. forces.

    On the political front, its says the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been unable to achieve political reconciliation necessary to stability. It says his situation is likely to remain precarious for at least the next six to 12 months.

    The new National Intelligence Estimate, which represents the highest collective judgment of the 16 U.S. agencies that deal in intelligence, is actually an update of one that was done on Iraqi security in January. As was done then, a summary of key judgments was released to the public, but the full estimate itself remains classified.

    Its release comes at a crucial time. The U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, are due to present a report next month on the success of the so-called "surge" strategy of temporarily increasing U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

    The intelligence estimate says that any drawdown of U.S. forces from a counterinsurgency role to one of just support for Iraqi forces would erode what modest security gains have been achieved.

    National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the new estimate shows that although challenges remain, the president's strategy is working and should continue.

    "Today's key [intelligence] judgments clearly show that the military's counterinsurgency strategy, fully operational since midsummer, has begun to slow the rapidly increasing violence and patterns of that violence that we have been seeing in Iraq," he said.

    On Wednesday, President Bush expressed his support for Prime Minister al-Maliki.

    "Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him," he said. "And it's not up to politicians in Washington, D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position - that is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy, and not a dictatorship."

    But, also citing the new estimate on lack of progress on the political front, Republican Senator John Warner, who has just returned from Iraq, called on President Bush Thursday to announce a token withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Iraq to spur Iraqi leaders toward political reconciliation.

    "Given the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate], which says 'Mr. President, it's up to 12 months before we can expect any particular degree of reconciliation,' we simply cannot as a nation stand and put our troops at continuous risk and the loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody's attention," he said.

    The estimate says Iran, concerned about growing Sunni power and U.S. efforts to contain Iran, has intensified funding, weaponry, and training to Iraqi Shi'ite militants. But senior intelligence officials say they have detected no active presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards or members of its elite al-Quds force inside Iraq. Any training, they say, seems to be conducted in camps on the Iranian side of the border.

    The report adds that Syria has cracked down on infiltration by Sunni extremist groups into Iraq, but that Damascus is providing support to insurgent groups other than al-Qaida.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora