Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq:

Iraqi Government Has Not Met Most Legislative, Security, and Economic Benchmarks

GAO-07-1195: Published: Sep 4, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2007.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Joseph A. Christoff
(202) 512-8979
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Public Law 110-28 requires GAO to report to Congress by September 1, 2007, on whether or not the government of Iraq has met 18 benchmarks contained in the Act, and the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. The benchmarks stem from commitments first articulated by the Iraqi government in June 2006. In comparison, the Act requires the administration to report in July and September 2007 on whether satisfactory progress is being made toward meeting the benchmarks, not whether the benchmarks have been met. To complete our work, we reviewed government documents and interviewed officials from U.S. agencies; the UN; and the government of Iraq. We also made multiple visits to Iraq during 2006 and 2007. Our analyses were enhanced by approximately 100 Iraq-related audits we have completed since May 2003.

The January 2007 U.S. strategy seeks to provide the Iraqi government with the time and space needed to help Iraqi society reconcile. Our analysis of the 18 legislative, security and economic benchmarks shows that as of August 30, 2007, the Iraqi government met 3, partially met 4, and did not meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks. Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds. These results do not diminish the courageous efforts of coalition forces. The Iraqi government has met one of eight legislative benchmarks: the rights of minority political parties in Iraq's legislature are protected. The government also partially met one other benchmark to enact and implement legislation on the formation of regions; this law was enacted in October 2006 but will not be implemented until April 2008. Six other legislative benchmarks have not been met. Specifically, a review committee has not completed work on important revisions to Iraq's constitution. Further, the government has not enacted legislation on de-Ba'athification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, amnesty, or militia disarmament. The Administration's July 2007 report cited progress in achieving some of these benchmarks but provided little information on what step in the legislative process each benchmark had reached. Two of nine security benchmarks have been met. Specifically, Iraq's government has established various committees in support of the Baghdad security plan and established almost all of the planned Joint Security Stations in Baghdad. The government has partially met the benchmarks of providing three trained and ready brigades for Baghdad operations and eliminating safe havens for outlawed groups. Five other benchmarks have not been met. The government has not eliminated militia control of local security, eliminated political intervention in military operations, ensured even-handed enforcement of the law, increased army units capable of independent operations, or ensured that political authorities made no false accusations against security forces. It is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased--a key security benchmark--since it is difficult to measure the perpetrator's intent and other measures of population security show differing trends. Finally, the Iraqi government has partially met the economic benchmark of allocating and spending $10 billion on reconstruction. Preliminary data indicates that about $1.5 billion of central ministry funds had been spent, as of July 15, 2007. As the Congress considers the way forward in Iraq, it must balance the achievement of the 18 Iraqi benchmarks with the military progress, homeland security, foreign policy, and other goals of the United States. Future administration reporting to assist the Congress would be enhanced with adoption of the recommendations we make in this report.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Public Law 110-28 required GAO to report to Congress by September 1, 2007, on whether the government of Iraq had met 18 benchmarks contained in the Act, and the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. In comparison, the Act required the administration to report in July and September 2007 on whether satisfactory progress had been made toward meeting the benchmarks. Regarding the legislative benchmarks, in September 2007, we reported (Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq:Iraq Government Has Not Met Most Legislative, Security, and Economic Benchmarks, 09/04/2007,GAO-07-1195) that the Administration's July 2007 report cited progress, but provided little information on what step in the legislative process each benchmark had reached. Therefore, we recommended that, in preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks, the Secretary of State provide information to the President that clearly specifies the status in drafting, enacting, and implementing Iraqi legislation. State agreed with this recommendation. Beginning on January 3, 2008, State restructured its Iraq Weekly Status Report to highlight information on governance and legislation issues.

    Recommendation: In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks, the Secretary of State should provide information to the President that clearly specifies the status in drafting, enacting, and implementing Iraqi legislation.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligence Community have included information in classified reports that satisfy GAO's recommendation. In addition, unclassified DOD reporting in accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252) also satisfied this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, should provide information to the President on trends in sectarian violence with appropriate caveats, as well as broader quantitative and qualitative measures of population security.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Intelligence Community have prepared classified reports that satisfy GAO's recommendation. In addition, unclassified DOD reports in accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252) also satisfied this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In preparing future reports to Congress and to help increase transparency on progress made toward achieving the benchmarks the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, should provide additional information on the operational readiness of Iraqi security forces supporting the Baghdad security plan, particularly information on their loyalty and willingness to help secure Baghdad.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 10, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Aug 28, 2014

Jul 24, 2014

Jul 21, 2014

Jul 9, 2014

Jul 8, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here