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David Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress'

From Cameron Barr:

Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress': 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. Petraeus... said... 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....

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.... Petraeus insisted that Iraqi leaders still have an opportunity to act. "We're going to fight like the dickens" to maintain the gains in security and "where we can to try and build on it," he said....

The additional forces sent to Iraq last year have begun to depart and will be gone by midsummer, leaving in place a baseline U.S. presence of about 130,000 troops. Petraeus said it would increasingly fall to Iraqi security forces and neighborhood patrols funded by the United States to help keep violence down.... Petraeus credited both the mainly Sunni neighborhood patrols known as the Awakening and a cease-fire called by Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr with helping to bring down violence. The Awakening fighters include former insurgents who say they have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq, a largely homegrown Sunni group that Petraeus said is in communication with al-Qaeda leaders abroad. The United States is now paying 88,000 members of the Awakening $300 a month to take part in the neighborhood patrols...

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