Report: Surge brought few political gains

Sept. 10, 2008 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. troop surge in Iraq brought positive security gains but did not ease the underlying turmoil among rival camps in Iraqi politics, an analysis says.

An analysis released Wednesday by the research organization Center for American Progress, based in Washington, says the surge of U.S. troops failed in its primary goal of creating a representative Iraqi central government.

The report, "Iraq's Political Transition After the Surge," says the troop surge has "frozen" divisions in the Iraqi government by creating obstacles to national reconciliation.

"The common refrain that the surge has produced military success that has not been matched by political progress fundamentally misrepresents the nature of Iraq's political evolution," the report says.

The lower incidence of violence during the past year has made power-sharing among rival Iraqi factions "more elusive," the report says, by shifting the central functions of government to a Shiite-dominated system with allegiances to Iran in stark contrast to U.S. foreign policy objectives.

The report points to divisions among major Iraqi factions that have marked differences over the structure of the future state of Iraq as well as varying ethnic and religious groups that harbor either "latent tensions" or have yet to resolve lingering issues left over from the past regime.

In order for political progress to run parallel to security gains, the report says, U.S. strategists need to shift the burden of responsibility to their Iraqi counterparts.

"The United States needs to rebalance its overall national security approach by stepping outside of the trenches of intra-Iraqi disputes over power and putting the focus back on its core national security interests," the report concludes.

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