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March 14, 2008
Petreaus: Iraqi Government Not doing Enough for Peace
Top commander in Iraq General David Petreaus is dissatisfied with the progress being made by the Iraqi government toward reconciliation:
Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday. Petreaus's frustration is understandable. Despite the passage of the above mentioned laws, no enabling legislation has even been proposed nor have any plans been made to implement them. But the Iraqis have an excellent counter to Petreaus and the rest of the Americans who are chafing at the slow progress:
Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.
The general's comments appeared to be his sternest to date on Iraqis' failure to achieve political reconciliation. In February, following the passage of laws on the budget, provincial elections and an amnesty for certain detainees, Petraeus was more encouraging.
"The passage of the three laws today showed that the Iraqi leaders are now taking advantage of the opportunity that coalition and Iraqi troopers fought so hard to provide," he said at the time.
Many Iraqi parliament members and other officials acknowledge that the country's political system is often paralyzed by sectarian divisions, but they also say that American expectations are driven by considerations in Washington and do not reflect the complexity of Iraq's problems. This is largely true although I would interject that Prime Minister Maliki could be more forceful and demonstrate better leadership than he has. That being said, it is a valid point. We in the US seem to have our own timetable while the Iraqis are working on their own.
Petreaus is scheduled to testify before Congress next month.