One Step Forward

Andrei Marks · August 24, 2007

This is from the 2007-8-25 print of the 新京报 (The Beijing Paper), on page A22 in the International News–Middle East, Americas, and Africa section. This one’s about the report on Iraq that came out recently in the States.

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American Report Says Political Resolution in Iraq is Uncertain

- Armed Iraqi forces still have the ability to wage war on a large scope; the Maliki administration cannot be replaced.

On August 23 the U.S. intelligence department released an assessment report on the the situation in Iraq which said that America has already made definite developments in military affairs, but political progress is still at a standstill, and the power of the Iraqi government’s leaders is worrying.

- The Iraqi Military Doesn’t Have Enough Power to Stand on It’s Own

This U.S. Intelligence Estimate, entitled “Iraq’s Prospects for Stability: Some Improvements but Political Resolution is Uncertain”, is formulated from 16 American intelligence organizations, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense intelligence organization, and the intelligence agencies of every branch of the U.S. military.

The report said the America has achieved definite progress in Iraqi military affairs. For example, the American military has encouraged the Iraqi government to incorporate Sunni armed personnel into their own forces, and the effort to achieve a ceasefire with armed Sunni forces has already achieved preliminary results, and in a few areas armed Sunni personal are already attacking “al-Qaeda” organizations. The report further points out that if the American military continues to maintain its strict policies, and at the same time continues to train Iraqi police forces, the the Iraqi security situation will make “moderate headway” within six to twelve months.

The report also says that al-Qaeda and other armed organizations still attempt to and have the ability to carry out large scale attacks, while the Iraqi security forces are clearly not strong enough to independently wage war. When they cooperate with American forces in battle they are “passable”, but if once they lose the support of the American military or other outside support, then their fighting ability suffers a “large detraction”.

- Almost No Improvement in Political Progress

Directed at Iraqi political progress, the report expresses deep worry, and intensely questions the power of the Iraqi government’s leaders. The New York Times, citing a U.S. congressman, reported that the political progress in Iraq “until today still has not achieved any progress”, and “the possibility of achieving any future political gains is equally pessimistic.

The report forecasts that because of criticism from the Shi’a factions and its leader, the Grand Ayatollah Husaini al-Sistani, the Sunni factions, and the Kurdish members of government, the Iraqi government in the next six to twelve months will become even more unstable. Furthermore, even though the Maliki’s actions to push for political resolution have no power, there is no way to replace him.

Citing a government official, the Associated Press reports that there is no discussion in the White House about needing to change the Iraqi leadership, because the White House believes that anyone would have to face the same problems that Maliki is currently facing.

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Under the heading ‘Analysis’:

Both Sending and Withdrawing Troops Are Reasonable

An Associated Press article said the White House will probably use the report to support the argument to continue stationing troops in Iraq.

The report warns that reducing the strength of the American military in Iraq will cause the security situation in Iraq to backpedal. This fits exactly with the White House’s oppostion to withdrawing the military. In January of this year Bush decided to send more troops to Iraq, insisting that this move was aimed at increasing security in Iraq.

Democratic party leader Harry Reid said, that this report also proves that Bush’s strategy to add more troops has already failed. “Our military has already gotten caught in Iraq’s civil war, and the President’s strategy to send more troops has still failed to achieve the political results that he promised,” Reid said, “If we continue to maintain the President’s flawed strategy, then every day we wont have any real security.”


Translator’s notes:
- Nouri Kamel Mohammed Hassan al-Maliki is the current Prime Minister of the Iraqi government.
- In the first paragraph, the Chinese doesn’t say whether the government’s leader’s power is worrying, or their lack of power is worrying. I would assume the latter, but I’m going with the literal translation for now. Edit: Lack of power.
- Haha, ever since I’ve been following the news about the Middle East in the Chinese papers I keep seeing references to “base” organizations or “base” groups, and it’s confused the hell out of me. Turns out it’s a semantic translation, because “al-Qaeda” means “The Base”. Case closed.
- The Analysis’ title is much catchier in Chinese, literally “Add Soldiers Withdraw Army Each Has Reason”
- Recently the amount of military news about Russia has also been on par with that about the US, but I haven’t been reading the content at all, I wonder what they say about them? I feel like translating articles actually takes a lot of my time away from reading others!

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