Few Iraq benchmarks have been met, McClatchy analysis shows

McClatchy NewspapersJuly 11, 2007 

WASHINGTON — Here is the full list of 18 benchmarks set by Congress in May, with a short description by McClatchy of the status of each.

(1) Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review.

The Iraqi government has appointed a Constitutional Review Committee, but that group hasn't met yet or begun the constitutional review process.

(2) Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification.

In March, the Iraqi parliament considered a de-Baathification law, but Shiite legislators objected and the law died.

(3) Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki announced unanimous Cabinet approval of a draft hydrocarbon law. But on Wednesday, Kurdish politicians said they opposed the latest version of the law. The draft law hasn't been published.

(4) Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.

The Iraqi government has not acted on this benchmark. Kurds support enacting legislation to establish strong semi-autonomous regions, but Sunnis object and Shiite groups are split.

(5) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities and a date for provincial elections.

The Iraqi parliament has established an Independent High Electoral Commission, but the commission has not addressed provincial laws. The Iraqi government has said it would like to hold elections by the end of the year, but has not set a date.

(6) Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.

The Iraqi government has not discussed this benchmark.

(7) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the Constitution of Iraq.

Rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, still controls parts of the city, and some Iraqis believe it has expanded its hold since the surge began. Many members of the parliament are loyal to the Sadrist bloc.

(8) Establishing supporting political, media, economic and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.

The Iraqi government established those committees, but it is unclear what they accomplished.

(9) Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.

The Iraqi government has provided three brigades, but they are not fully manned.

(10) Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.

While Iraqi troops have gone after both Sunni and Shiite extremists, those groups still control large parts of the capital.

(11) Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing even-handed enforcement of the law.

The Iraqi Security Forces are largely Shiite, and Baghdad's Sunnis complain that they still operate along sectarian lines. There is considerable evidence that members of those forces participate in sectarian violence.

(12) Ensuring that ... (as) Prime Minister Maliki said, "the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of sectarian or political affiliation."

The Mahdi Army controls large parts of the capital.

(13) Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.

The number of bodies found in the streets of Baghdad has dropped since the surge began. The number of car bombings has fluctuated. But militias still control local security.

(14) Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.

The Iraqi security forces have established joint security stations across Baghdad.

(15) Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.

There is nothing to suggest that more Iraqi forces can operate independently since the surge. Indeed, as many as two-thirds of units do not show up at their posts. And this week the Iraqi government, frustrated by its security forces inability to prevail, encouraged residents to take up arms and defend their communities.

(16) Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.

The Iraqi government has done nothing on this benchmark.

(17) Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.

The Iraqi government has allocated some of the funds, but public services have not improved since the surge began.

(18) Ensuring that Iraq's political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Sunni and Shiite legislators have accused each other of supporting or backing armed factions.

McClatchy Newspapers 2007

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service