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Iraq's Benchmarks

Who's Moving the goalposts now?

12:00 AM, Apr 3, 2008 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
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Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.
Not done
Done. Attacks against Sadrist positions in Basra are the start of an assault on the last bastions of militia control of local security in Iraq.

Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.
Done. Iraqi forces operating in Mosul have adopted this technique on their own as well, planning and establishing JSSs similar to those developed in Baghdad.

Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.
Done. Forty new ISF battalions will come on line this year. The Government of Iraq concentrated 30,000 ISF troops in Basra recently and launched a major offensive operation with virtually no Coalition ground support. Iraqi military units in the Najaf-Hillah-Karbala-Diwaniyah-Kut area repelled Special Groups attacks during this fight with little or no Coalition Forces ground support in many cases.

Government Performance Benchmarks (1 accomplished; 3 underway)

January 2007
March 2008

Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.
Hard to measure
Hard to measure--but the minority parties seem to think so, judging by the unanimous passage of key benchmark legislation recently.

Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenue for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.
Not done
The government has achieved equity on this point: all groups think they are being discriminated against. Progress in spending the budget has been significant, and the government is working actively to improve it.

Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing evenhanded enforcement of the law.
Not done
It is hard to give a definitive "red light" or "green light" to this--some Americans do not think that American law enforcement does this. But enormous progress has been made since January 2007.

Ensuring that Iraq's political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi security forces.
Not done
There has been progress here, but significant challenges remain.

Benchmarks accomplished:

Progress being made:

No progress:

Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801-1805.