"Operation Iraqi Freedom overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime, but much of Iraq remains violent because of Sunni Arab resentment and a related insurgency, compounded by Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence and increased violent competition among Shiite groups as well. Compounding the internal violence is growing tension on Iraq's northern border with Turkey; the north has been the one area of Iraq to experience peace and relative prosperity since the U.S. intervention in 2004. Mounting U.S. casualties and financial costs -- without clear movement toward national political reconciliation among Iraq's major communities -- have intensified a debate within the United States over whether to reduce U.S. involvement without completely accomplishing initial U.S. goals. In order to halt the apparent deterioration in conditions in Iraq in 2006 and to try to facilitate more unity and reconciliation in the central government, President Bush announced a new strategy on January 10, 2007 ('New Way Forward') consisting of deployment of an additional 28,500 U.S. forces ('troop surge') to help stabilize Baghdad and to take advantage of growing tribal support in Anbar Province for U.S. policy. The strategy was to create security conditions conducive to Iraqi government action on a series of key reconciliation initiatives that are viewed as 'benchmarks' of political progress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31339
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