US not to assess progress in Iraq until September
15 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States will reportedly
wait till September to make its first formal
assessment of whether a US troop "surge" now under way
Iraq is producing results.
Citing unnamed senior administration officials, The
New York Times said many top advisers of
President George W. Bush now anticipate that even by
then any gains will be limited.
In interviews over the past week, the officials made
clear that the White House is gradually scaling back
its expectations for the government of Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki, the report said.
The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the
White House may maintain the increased numbers of
American troops in Iraq well into next year, the paper
That prospect would entail a dramatically longer
commitment of frontline troops, patrolling the most
dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad, than the one
envisioned in legislation that passed the House and
Senate this week, The Times said.
The bill, which the president has promised to veto,
sets deadlines that would lead to the withdrawal of
combat troops by the end of March 2008.
Several US officials who have spoken recently with
Maliki say they believe that he would like to achieve
the kind of political reconciliation that Bush
outlined in January as the ultimate goal of the troop
increase, the report said.
But they say the Iraqi prime minister appears to have
little ability to manage the required legislation,
including bills requiring fair distribution of oil
revenues among Iraqs Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, and
reversing de-Baathification that has barred many
Sunnis from participation in the new government, The