From NBC's Ken Strickland
NBC News has obtained the National Intelligence Estimate report on Iraq, which is entitled:
"Prospects for Iraq's Stability: Some Security Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive." Here are some key excerpts...
-- "There have been measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq's security situation since our last NIE on Iraq in January 2007... However, the level of violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high; Iraq's sectarian groups remain unreconciled; al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) retains the ability of conduct high-profile attack; and to date, Iraqi political leaders remain unable to govern effectively. There have been modest improvements in economic output, budget execution, and government finances but fundamental structural problems continue to prevent sustained progress in economic growth and living conditions."
-- "We assess, the extent that Coalition forces continue to conduct robust counterinsurgency operations and mentor and support the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), that Iraq's security will continue to improve modestly during the next 6 to 12 months but that levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high and the Iraqi Government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance."
-- "Political and security trajectories in Iraq continue to be driven primarily by Shia insecurity about retaining political dominance, widespread Sunni unwillingness to accept a diminished political status, factional rivalries within the sectarian communities resulting in armed conflict, and the actions of extremists such as AQI and the elements of the Sadrist Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia that try to fuel sectarian violence."
-- "The Intelligence Community (IC) assesses that the Iraqi government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other member of the major Shia coalition (the Unified Iraqi Alliance, UIA), Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and other Sunni and Kurdish parties."
-- "We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operation to prevent AQI from establishing a safehaven would erode security gains achieved thus far."