Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq:

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

GAO-07-1222T: Published: Sep 5, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2007.

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Joseph A. Christoff
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Office of Public Affairs
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This testimony is intended to discuss our report on whether or not the government of Iraq has met 18 benchmarks contained in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 20072 (the Act). The Act requires GAO to report on the status of the achievement of these benchmarks. Consistent with GAO's core values and our desire to be fair and balanced, we also considered and used a "partially met" rating for some benchmarks. In comparison, the Act requires the administration to report on whether satisfactory progress is being made toward meeting the benchmarks. The benchmarks cover Iraqi government actions needed to advance reconciliation within Iraqi society, improve the security of the Iraqi population, provide essential services to the population, and promote economic well-being. To complete this work, we reviewed U.S. agency and Iraqi documents and interviewed officials from the Departments of Defense, State, and the Treasury; the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and its subordinate commands; the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Central Intelligence Agency; the National Intelligence Council; and the United Nations. These officials included Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and General David H. Petraeus, Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq. We made multiple visits to Iraq during 2006 and 2007, most recently from July 22 to August 1, 2007. Our analyses were enhanced by approximately 100 Iraq-related reports and testimonies that we have completed since May 2003. We conducted our review in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

The benchmarks were derived from commitments first articulated by the Iraqi government in June 2006. 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 and progress that has been made in several areas, including Anbar Province. The Iraqi government met one of eight legislative benchmarks: the rights of minority political parties in Iraq's legislature are protected. The government has not enacted legislation on de-Ba'athification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, amnesty, and militia disarmament. It is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased--a key security benchmark--since it is difficult to measure whether the perpetrators' intents were sectarian in nature, and other measures of population security show differing trends. As the Congress considers the way forward in Iraq, it should balance the achievement of the 18 Iraqi benchmarks with military progress and with homeland security goals, foreign policy goals, and other goals of the United States.

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