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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 15, 2008
Fact Sheet: Success of the Surge Allows Political Improvements in Iraq
President Bush Receives An Update On U.S. Efforts To Help Improve Governance, Economic Development, And Budget Execution With Local And Provincial Governments In Iraq
Today, President Bush received an update from Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) leaders and Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Commanders on the important progress they are making in communities around Iraq. The President spoke to representatives from PRTs and BCTs in Ninewa, Maysan, and Sadr City. PRTs have been a key element of the surge strategy for Iraq announced by the President in January 2007. They are made up of hundreds of personnel from the State Department, USAID, the Departments of Justice and Agriculture, Coalition forces, and others. They are working to further secure military gains by helping Iraq achieve economic and political stabilization.
PRTs Have Seen Significant Success Working With Local Government Officials
The Government Of Iraq Has Taken Over Reconstruction And Is Working To Respond To The Needs Of The Iraqi People
Since 2003, the Government of Iraq has appropriated $85 billion for reconstruction and security costs, as compared to $50 billion by the United States. The United States has not appropriated any funds for major reconstruction since 2005.
The Iraqi Government continues to increase its budgets across the board – a base budget followed by a supplemental passed in August of this year brought the total to $72 billion, a substantial increase from 2007’s $41 billion.
The Iraqi Government’s budget execution has picked up in 2008 – the total government expenditure through June 2008 was $19 billion, compared to $10 billion through the same period last year.
The Government of Iraq recently took over responsibility for paying the salaries of approximately 51,000 Sons of Iraq serving in the Baghdad area. Iraq’s security ministries are paying for more than 80 percent of the annual cost of the Iraqi military and police under the 2008 budget.
Iraqi Leaders Are Working Together And Making Further Progress On Political Reconciliation
While security gains remain fragile, the Iraqi government is making political progress. The Council of Representatives has passed several major pieces of legislation, including a pension law, De-Ba’athification reform, an amnesty law, and a provincial powers law. Neighboring countries have begun restoring diplomatic relations with Iraq – a true sign of the country’s increasing reintegration into the region.
Iraq’s Parliament passed a Provincial Elections Law, enabling Iraq to hold provincial elections by January 31, 2009. Elections in Iraq can now be held under a new system that will give Iraqis more say in choosing their elected representatives.
The national government is sharing oil revenues with provinces despite the absence of a hydrocarbon and revenue-sharing law.
Iraq’s neighbors are reestablishing diplomatic relations – Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, and the League of Arab States have all named ambassadors to Iraq. The U.A.E. became the first Arab nation to post its ambassador to Baghdad and give Iraq 100 percent debt relief of approximately $7 billion.
Regional leaders are traveling to Iraq to pursue productive dialogue – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Abdullah of Jordan, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed have all visited Baghdad.
Iraqi Security Forces’ Capacity Continues To Improve As Security Incidents In Iraq Remain At Their Lowest Levels Since Early 2004
Successful operations led by Iraqi Security Forces in Basrah, Mosul, and Sadr City to take on Al Qaeda in Iraq have helped improve security in cities once plagued by insurgents.
High profile attacks have decreased by 70 percent in Iraq, ethno-sectarian violence across Iraq has gone down 96 percent, and civilian causalities have gone down 76 percent since this time last year.
Participants in today’s meeting included:
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