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Progress In Iraq

Progress In Iraq
Progress In Iraq
The Iraqi government has met fifteen of eighteen benchmarks set by the United States Congress last year to gauge political, security and economic success, according to a report by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. That is a significant improvement from a year ago. Achievements include preparations for provincial elections, amnesty legislation, and demonstrated success by the Iraqi military in pursuing extremists in all provinces regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation.

Other signs of progress in Iraq include the announcement by the main Sunni parliamentary bloc that it will soon return to the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki after a boycott of almost a year. Violence in Iraq has also dramatically diminished, and Iraqi and American forces have had great success in driving al-Qaida from its strongholds in Iraq.

Another piece of good news was the recent announcement that the United Arab Emirates, the UAE, has forgiven four billion dollars of Iraqi debt and will soon send an ambassador to Baghdad. At a press briefing in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said this is part of a series of positive diplomatic developments concerning Iraq:

“You are seeing now the UAE announcing debt forgiveness, appointing an ambassador, opening an embassy there. You have the Jordanians ... appointing an ambassador and to open an embassy soon. You have Bahrain doing the same. These are all very positive developments, and developments that only two years ago, none of us in this room were talking about. And a lot of people doubted that they would actually occur.”

“Iraq is starting to take its place once again in the region,” said Mr. McCormack. “It’s important for the Iraqi people, it’s important for Iraq, and it’s important for the region.”