Reports on Iraq: An overview

Al Jazeera examines prior assessments of the political and military situation in Iraq.

Scores of reports and commissions have monitored the political and military
situation in Iraq [GALLO/GETTY]

In the lead up to General David Petraeus’s testimony before US congress on the so-called troop “surge” in Iraq, Al Jazeera examines previous assessments on Iraq, written by various government agencies and NGOs, on the situation in the country.

The Iraq Study Group report

Reports on Iraq observe a common
pattern of violence and poverty [EPA]

December 2006 – One of the best known reports on Iraq and also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, a 10-person bipartisan panel was appointed in March 2006 by US congress and given the responsibility of assessing the situation in Iraq and making policy recommendations.

The group’s recommendations in the report included the beginning of a phased withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and recommended that the US begin dialogue with Syria and Iran.

The group also found that the Pentagon had underreported the extent of the violence in Iraq and that officials had obtained little information regarding the source of these attacks.

Click here to read the report

The Jones report

Special report

September 2007 – The most recent report ahead of that by General Petraeus. Written by a 20-member US security commission and headed by James Jones, a former Nato commander from the US, the report said Iraq’s police force had been infiltrated by sectarian militias and should be disbanded and reorganised.

Jones also stated in the report that while military special forces are “highly capable and extremely effective” and while some army units are becoming better at counter-insurgency, overall, the security forces “will be unable to fulfil their essential security responsibilities independently over the next 12-18 months”.

Click here to read the report

Government Accountability Office reports

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is considered the “investigative arm” of the US Congress, and its role is to monitor the accountability of the federal government.

The GAO had released a series of reports detailing the security situation in Iraq, as follows:

October 2006 – The GAO details the lack of progress the US military has achieved in stabilising Iraq.

The report states that “the United States faces three key challenges in stabilising and rebuilding Iraq. Initially,the security environment and the continuing strength of the insurgency have made it difficult for the United States to transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces and to engage in rebuilding efforts.”

Click here to read the report

July 2007 – This earlier report described the inability of the US defence department to keep track of arms and weapons given to Iraqi police and security forces. It further stated that it could not be ascertained whether US-funded equipment was reaching Iraqi law enforcement groups and could possibly be “in the wrong hands”.

Click here to read the report

September 2007 – The report claimed that there has been little progress made in Iraq and violence remains high across the country.

Crucially, it also found that Baghdad has not met 11 of the 18 political and security goals set out by Washington.

Click here to read the report

The Lancet report

October 2006 – One of the most controversial analyses of the deadly impact of the Iraq war, the Lancet, a British medical journal, estimated that 650,000 Iraqis had died in the Iraqi conflict. However the methodology of the report, which interviewed almost 2,000 Iraqi families to calculate an average mortality rate which was then used to estimate the number of total deaths in the country, was disputed by the UK and US governments. 

Click here to read the report

The Oxfam report

July 2007 – According to Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi groups, up to eight million Iraqis required immediate emergency aid, with nearly half of the population living in “absolute poverty”.

Click here to read the report

The International Committee of the Red Cross report 

February 2004The report concludes that many facets of international humanitarian law have been violated on the part of coalition forces while detaining Iraqis.

Click here to read the report

Human Rights Watch report

April 2005Released one year after US forces were found to have tortured prisoners in Abu Ghrasib, the report states that while George Bush, the US president, had promised to “bring the wrongdoers to justice”, according to HRW a “wall of impunity surrounds the architects of the policies responsible for the larger pattern of abuses”.

Click here to read the report

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Source: Al Jazeera

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