Daily Revolt

October 31, 2007

GAO: Progress Not Being Made in Iraq

If it weren't bad enough that Iraqis face a horrible civil war, cholera, little electricity and water, now they have to worry about a potential dam bust:
Iraq's largest dam is in danger of collapse and hundreds of thousands of people are at risk from a massive flood in Mosul and Baghdad, according to US documents released Tuesday.

And the reason--incompetence and corruption:
The report said SIGIR's most recent inspection concludes that the project has made no headway in improving grout injection operations, and said that poor oversight had allowed millions of dollars in construction and equipment to go to waste.

Speaking of incompetence. Guess who they intend on putting in charge of rebuilding Iraq? Chalabi, of course:
Chalabi, in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 , provided White House and Pentagon officials and journalists with a stream of bogus or exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs and ties to terrorism. He also suggested that he'd lead Iraq to make peace with Israel and welcome permanent U.S. military bases, which could apply pressure to Iran and Syria .

[...]Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki named Chalabi as head of the services committee, a consortium of eight service ministries and two Baghdad municipal posts, that is tasked with bringing services to Baghdad , the heart of the surge plan.

Chalabi "is an important part of the process," said Col. Steven Boylan , Petraeus' spokesman. "He has a lot of energy."

The hiring Chalabi was one example of why the GAO thinks that, despite the decline in violence, enough isn't being done to improve the lives of the Iraq people:
The U.S. and Iraqi governments have failed to take advantage of a dramatic drop in violence in Iraq, according to a report issued Tuesday by a U.S. watchdog agency, which warned that prospects were waning "for achieving current U.S. security, political and economic goals in Iraq."

Iraqi leaders have not passed legislation to foster reconciliation among Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, and sectarian groups still retain control of ministries and divide Iraqi security forces, according to the Government Accountability Office report.

[...]"While U.S. troops have performed courageously under difficult and dangerous circumstances, the continued violence and polarization of Iraqi society as well as the Iraqi government's continued difficulties . . . diminishes the prospects for achieving the current U.S. security, political and economic goals in Iraq," the report said.

In fact, the surge might've benefitted a new enemy in Iraq:
The threat from al Qaeda in several former strongholds in Baghdad has been significantly reduced, but criminals who have established "almost mafia-like presence" in some areas pose a new threat, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday.

Gen. David Petraeus stressed, however, the terror organization remained "a very dangerous and very lethal enemy" - a comment underscored by the abduction Sunday in Baghdad of 10 Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders who joined forces against al Qaeda

[...]"As the terrible extremist threat of al Qaeda has been reduced somewhat, there is in some Iraqi neighborhoods actually a focus on crime and on extortion that has been ongoing and kidnapping cells and what is almost a mafia-like presence in certain areas," he said.

It certainly still isn't safe to even to be a reporter:
The editor of a Baghdad weekly newspaper was murdered at the weekend, Iraq's Journalistic Freedoms Observatory said on Tuesday.

In their defense, the Iraqi government has to deal with issues created not by them but by politicians from another country:
The Iraqi Cabinet today approved and sent on to parliament a proposed law repealing the immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts that has been extended to foreign security contractors operating in the country.

A government statement said foreign security companies, their employees and contractors would be subject to Iraqi laws and the judicial system, and "all immunities they have are canceled." It also said the law would require them to cooperate with Iraqi rules governing visas, weapons possession, vehicle licensing and taxation.

[...]The Cabinet approval came as reports emerged from Washington that State Department officials had offered immunity from prosecution to guards from Blackwater USA if they cooperated with an investigation into a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square that left 17 dead and 24 wounded. The offer, if confirmed, could complicate an FBI investigation into the matter that could lead to Blackwater guards being prosecuted if they were found to have broken the law.

They also to worry about another invasion from another power:
TURKEY'S prime minister has said that intensified military action against separatist Kurdish rebels was unavoidable and pressed the United States to crack down on guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.

Turkish helicopters, meanwhile, pounded rebel positions near the border with rockets for a second day on Tuesday, and Turkey brought in troops by the truckload in an operation against mountainside emplacements.

Amid the fighting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party in Parliament, 'It is now unavoidable that Turkey will have to go through a more intensive military process.'

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