Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security [Updated August 2, 2006]   [open pdf - 286KB]

"Operation Iraqi Freedom succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but Iraq remains unstable because of Sunni Arab resentment and a related insurgency, compounded by burgeoning Sunni-Shiite violence. According to its November 30, 2005, 'Strategy for Victory,' the Bush Administration indicates that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq until the country is able to provide for its own security. President Bush has said he believes that, over the longer term, Iraq will become a model for reform throughout the Middle East and a partner in the global war on terrorism. However, mounting U.S. casualties and financial costs- without clear signs of security progress- have intensified a debate within the United States over the wisdom of the invasion and whether to wind down U.S. involvement without completely accomplishing U.S. goals. President Bush, particularly after a visit to Baghdad on June 13, 2006, has asserted that U.S. policy in Iraq is showing important successes, demonstrated by two elections (January and December 2005) that chose an interim and then a fullterm parliament and government, a referendum that adopted a permanent constitution (October 15, 2005), progress in building Iraq's security forces, and economic growth. While continuing to build, equip, and train Iraqi security units, the Administration has been working to include more Sunni Arabs in the power structure, particularly the security institutions; Sunnis were dominant during the regime of Saddam Hussein but now feel marginalized by the newly dominant Shiite Arabs and Kurds. The Administration believes that it has largely healed a rift with some European countries over the decision to invade Iraq, and it points to NATO and other nations' contributions of training for Iraqi security forces and government personnel."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31339
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