The 2007 supplemental appropriation bill conditioned a portion of the Economic Support Funds planned for Iraq on progress in meeting 18 political and security benchmarks. More than a year later, Iraq’s leaders have met less than one third of these benchmarks.
Other key issues not included in the benchmarks but central to achieving power-sharing deals necessary to stabilize Iraq remain unresolved, including addressing the status of the more than 4 million Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. As outlined in our recent report, “Iraq’s Political Transition After the Surge,” the 2007-08 surge of U.S. troops achieved important gains in reducing violence in Iraq. But it has not delivered on its central objective: achieving a sustainable power consolidation among Iraq’s different political forces.
The chart below shows the progress made (or not made) on the benchmarks. Click each benchmark for more information about its status.
Only 4 of 18 Benchmarks Met
Forming Constitutional Review Committee and completing the review.
Enacting and implementing laws on de-Baathification.
The “Justice and Accountability Law” passed on January 12, 2008, with concerns among Sunnis that it still unfairly targets them and may in some respects be worse than the initial de-Baathification measures it aims to correct. Implementation of the law has been incomplete, and some provisions could allow for judicial prosecution of all ex-Baathists and firing of former Baathists serving in Iraq’s security sector.
Oil and revenue-sharing laws
Enacting and implementing oil laws that ensure equitable distribution of resources.
Enacting and implementing laws to form semi-autonomous regions in Iraq.
These laws passed in fall 2006. Implementation period began last spring, but no Iraqi provinces have taken advantage of it yet.
Provincial elections law
Enacting and implementing laws to establish a higher electoral commission, a provincial elections law, a law to specify the authorities of provincial bodies, and set a date for provincial elections.
Iraqi High Electoral Commission and provincial powers laws passed. The elections law passed in September 2008. Elections are scheduled to take place before February 2009, but no date has been set.
Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty for former insurgents.
This legislation passed, but implementation information remains uncertain. William V. Gallo, director of U.S. Law and Order Task Force, says the amnesty law “hasn’t worked as well as we thought it would.” Less than 10 percent of the 17,000 approved for release have been released due to slow judicial processes.
Enacting and implementing laws on militia disarmament.
Giving Iraqi commanders authority to pursue extremists and militants
Providing Iraqi commanders the authority to make decisions, without political intervention, to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shia militias.
Strong concerns remain over the use of Iraqi Security Forces as a political tool, especially selective targeting of Sadrists and uncertainty over Maliki’s plan for the Sons of Iraq.
Iraqi Security Forces’ enforcement of law
Ensuring Iraqi Security Forces are providing even-handed enforcement of law.
Militia infiltration and influence remain a problem, particularly in the police.
No safe haven in Baghdad
Ensuring that the surge plan in Baghdad will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of sectarian affiliation.
ISF has moved into Sadr City, and Baghdad has become increasingly stable, though safe havens and pockets of violence remain.
Reducing sectarian violence and militia control
Reducing sectarian violence and eliminating militia control of local security.
Sectarian violence has been reduced, but the cause remains unclear. U.S. strategy with Sons of Iraq has increased militia control of local security in Sunni areas, while ISF deployments in Sadr City and Basra have reduced overt Sadrist militia presence there.
Establishing joint security stations in Baghdad
Establishing Baghdad joint security stations.
More than 50 joint security stations are operating.