Iraq Intelligence

August 2007's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq

A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the prospects for stability in Iraq concludes that while the security situation there has improved somewhat, the level of violence remains high, al Qaida in Iraq is still able to mount major attacks, Iraqi security forces are still unable to operate without American help and "to date, Iraq's political leaders remain unable to govern effectively".

A summary of the report by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, made public Thursday warns that "the Iraqi government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other members of the major Shia coalition . . . and other Sunni and Kurdish parties."

The report also suggests that the current U.S. tactic of recruiting local Sunni Muslim tribes to battle al Qaida in Iraq "could pose risks to the Iraqi Government". "Such initiatives, if not fully exploited by the Iraqi Government, could over time also shift greater power to the regions, undermine efforts to impose central authority, and reinvigorate armed opposition to the Baghdad government," the report says.

Related stories from McClatchy DC