Report Says Number of Attacks by Insurgents in Iraq Increases

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. February 9, 2006
    Report Says Number of Attacks by Insurgents in Iraq Increases

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — Sweeping statistics on insurgent violence in Iraq that were declassified for a Senate hearing on Wednesday appear to portray a rebellion whose ability to mount attacks has steadily grown in the nearly three years since the invasion.

    The statistics were included in a report written by Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office, who testified before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing on Iraq stabilization and reconstruction.

    The American military declassified the statistics so he could present them to the hearing in his report, Mr. Christoff said in an interview. The figures cover attacks on American and Iraqi forces and civilians.

    The curve traced out by the figures between June 2003 and December 2005 shows a number of fluctuations, including several large spikes in insurgent activity — one as recently as October of last year. But while American and Iraqi officials have often pointed to the downward edges of those fluctuations as evidence that the steam was going out of the insurgency, the numbers over all seem to tell a different story, Mr. Christoff said. "It's not going down," he said. "There are peaks and valleys, but if you look at every peak, it's higher than the peak before."

    Officials have recently noted that the numbers of attacks in the final two months of last year dropped after an October peak, which occurred around both Ramadan and a referendum on Iraq's constitution. But Mr. Christoff's chart shows that the number of attacks in December, nearly 2,500, was almost 250 percent of the number in March 2004.

    But the trend line began even before March 2004, when the number of attacks was already nearly double what it had been in July or August 2003. Mr. Christoff's paper cites a senior United States military officer saying that "attack levels ebb and flow as the various insurgent groups — almost all of which are an intrinsic part of Iraq's population — re-arm and attack again."

    Attacks against Iraqi security forces have grown faster than the overall count; by December 2005 they had grown more than 200 percent since March 2004. Of course, as more Iraqis are trained and put into the field, more of them are targets.

    The paper, citing a contracting office in Iraq, said that as attacks had fluctuated downward in the final two months of last year, attacks on convoys related to rebuilding efforts had risen. Twenty convoys had been attacked, with 11 casualties, in October 2005, while 33 convoys had been attacked, with 34 casualties, in January 2006, the paper says.
  2. Of course it's increasing, my cowardly friend. They're getting more desperate.
  3. February 9, 2006
    Iraq Utilities Are Falling Short of Prewar Performance

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below preinvasion values even though $16 billion of American taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday.

    Of seven measures of public services performance presented at the committee hearing by the inspector general's office, only one was above preinvasion values.

    Those that had slumped below those values were electrical generation capacity, hours of power available in a day in Baghdad, oil and heating oil production and the numbers of Iraqis with drinkable water and sewage service.

    Only the hours of power available to Iraqis outside Baghdad had increased over prewar values.

    In addition, two of the witnesses said they believed that an earlier estimate by the World Bank that $56 billion would be needed for rebuilding over the next several years was too low.

    At the same time, as Iraq's oil exports plummet and the country remains saddled with tens of billions of dollars of debt, it is unclear where that money will come from, said one of the witnesses, Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office.

    And those may not be the most serious problems facing Iraq's pipelines, storage tanks, power lines, electrical switching stations and other structures, said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office.

    In one sense, focusing on the plummeting performance numbers "misses the point," Mr. Bowen said. The real question, he said, is whether the Iraqi security forces will ever be able to protect the infrastructure from insurgent attack.

    "What's happened is that an incessant, an insidious insurgency has repeatedly attacked the key infrastructure targets, reducing outputs," Mr. Bowen said. He added that some of the performance numbers had fluctuated above prewar values in the past, only to fall again under the pressure of insurgent attacks and other factors.

    The chairman of the committee, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, began by billing the session as a way of deciphering how much of America's original ambitions in the rebuilding program are likely to be fulfilled with the amount of money that Iraq, the United States Congress and international donors are still prepared to spend on the task.

    This downsizing of expectations was striking given that $30 billion American taxpayer money has already been dedicated to the task, according to an analysis by Mr. Christoff of the accountability office. Of that money, $23 billion has already been obligated to specific rebuilding contracts, and $16 billion of that amount has been disbursed, Mr. Christoff said.

    Mr. Bowen's office has pointed out that another $40 billion in Iraqi oil money and seized assets of Saddam Hussein's regime was also made available for reconstruction and other tasks at one time or another. Last week, Robert J. Stein Jr., one of four former United States government officials in Iraq who have been arrested in a bribery and kickback scheme involving that money, pleaded guilty to federal charges.

    Mr. Bowen pointed out in his testimony that the news on reconstruction in Iraq is not all bad. Despite the recent financing and performance shortfalls, the rebuilding program now seems to be much less ridden by fraud, corruption and chaos than it was in the early days when people like Mr. Stein were in charge.

    James R. Kunder, assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East at the United States Agency for International Development, in the State Department, emphasized things like what he called a 30 percent "potential increase" in electricity output because of new and reconditioned power generators in Iraq.

    "We have done a lot of reconstruction work in Iraq over the last couple of years," Mr. Kunder said. "We did not meet all of the goals, the ambitious goals, we originally intended," he conceded.

    Mr. Christoff of the accounting office said the latest numbers may actually overstate how well Iraqis have been served by the reconstruction program.

    Water numbers, for example, often focus on how much drinkable water is generated at central plants, he said. But he said 65 percent of that water was subject to leaking from porous distribution pipes, which often run next to sewage facilities.

    "So we really don't know how many households get potable, drinkable water," Mr. Christoff said.

    Mr. Christoff also brought another new figure to the hearing: he said that on a recent trip to Baghdad, the American forces there had told him that they would need another $3.9 billion to continue training and equipping Iraqi forces, in part so that they can better protect the infrastructure.

    The money would presumably be included in a 2006 supplemental funding request in which the Bush administration has said it would ask for more money to support the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, an official at the Office of Management and Budget said. The administration "told us it would include this type of expenses," the official said, adding that no total for Iraqi security forces has yet come directly from the White House.

    If the $3.9 billion that the American forces believe they need is actually appropriated, it would bring the total amount spent simply on training and equipping the Iraqi Army and the police to about $15 billion.
  4. How long have we been hearing this line from the Admin? :D
  5. "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." --Vice President Dick Cheney, on the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005
  6. If the Iraqi people were so oppressed by saddam, and we had to go "free" them (as per one of the many now proven false claims of the GWB administration), WHY didn't Saddam have all this "insurgency" problems?
    There were no suicide bombers there before we got involved.

    Did we bring peace to the region? Funny, there was no war there up until we attacked a defenseless nation........

    Ohhh and BTW, since our "intelligence" about WMD's has been admitted to be wrong, and our assessment about imminent threat, mushroom clouds and the such was another "overreaching mistake", What the heck are we still doing down there?
  7. Haven't you heard? We're there so we can have all their oil.

    Wait a minute, no, it's because Halliburton told us to stay so they can get contracts.

    Wait, sorry, no, it's because the Zionist cabal ordered us to stay to divert attacks from Israel.

    Whoops, sorry, we're there because were imperialist dogs and are expanding our territory.

    Oh wait, my mistake, apparently it's so Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld can pocket billions into their off-shore and Swiss bank accounts.

    I think the last one is the reason why, but check with ZZzzzz, FredBloggs, and the others in the know just to be sure.
  8. Pabst


    As Billy Carter said 30 years ago, "The streets of Tripoli are safer than Atlanta." I'm sure Havana is safer than Miami. Funny how an oppressive tyranny can strike down insurgency. If we were willing to slay hundreds of thousands like Saddam did we'd see less hostility toward our troops in Iraq. Is that what you want us to do?