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Continued Progress In Iraq Allows "Return On Success"
President Bush Calls On Congress To Provide Our Troops On The Ground With The Funding They Need To Succeed
Tonight, President Bush will call on Congress to show continued support for our troops as they make significant gains in Iraq. The President's strategy in Iraq has put us on the path to success. While much work remains, U.S. and Iraqi troops working together have achieved significant results, violence is down dramatically, and some political progress is being made.
Violence In Iraq Has Decreased Dramatically In The Past Year
The surge is achieving its primary aims of improving population security in Baghdad and reversing the cycle of sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006. Although there is much more work to be done, security has improved considerably since General Petraeus began implementing the strategy that became fully operational in mid-June. According to the U.S. military:
Iraqi Security Forces and Concerned Local Citizens groups continue to grow, develop capabilities, and provide more security for their country.
Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) continue to play a key role in the decreasing trends of violence and improving stability across Iraq.
The U.S. Will Continue Working With Iraqi Leaders As They Build On Progress Toward Political Reconciliation
The government in Baghdad has not made progress as quickly as we would like on legislative issues, but the Council of Representatives has passed de-Baathification legislation and a pension law, and is sharing oil revenues with the provinces.
On November 26, Prime Minister Maliki and President Bush signed a shared statement of intent called the "Declaration of Principles" to enumerate common principles to frame our future relationship as two fully sovereign and independent states.
Significant bottom-up political progress is occurring at the local level in Iraq, where provincial governments continue to spend national revenue on reconstruction and many people are engaging in local politics. For example, the Mosul Airport recently reopened for commercial flights for the first time in 14 years after the Ninewa Provincial Council, Iraqi Ministries of Transportation and Finance, and the U.S. Department of State partnered to renovate the passenger terminal.
With improvements in security, we are also seeing improvements in important economic indicators.
Over the past year, we have doubled the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq – there are now 24 of these teams active in all 18 Iraqi provinces. Many of these teams are "embedded" PRTs, created as part of the President's new strategy. These civilian-led teams are working together with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) or Marine regiments to support the military surge in Anbar Province and the greater Baghdad area.
PRTs are making significant gains working with the Iraqi people to achieve economic progress. In 2007, achievements by embedded PRTs (ePRTs) established after the beginning of the troop surge include a regional security summit in Taji sponsored by an ePRT located in Baghdad and facilitated by a Brigade from the 1st Cavalry Division, and the opening of the Fallujah Business Development Center in Anbar with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Community Stabilization Program (CSP).
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