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US senators hear of Baghdad govt's failings

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US senators hear of Baghdad govt's failings

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A day after President Bush’s upbeat assessment of US troops’ progress in Iraq, a Congressional report has struck a less positive note. In fact, the independent Government Accountability Office says Iraq has failed to meet 11 of 18 political and military goals set by Congress last May. Comptroller David Walker of the GAO presented the findings to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He said: “It is unclear whether sectarian violence has decreased. This is a key security benchmark. The overall security situation was roughly the same in July, on average number of attacks per day, as it was in February of 2007.”

The report highlights a particular concern about the failure of the Iraqi government to introduce laws which would ease restrictions on Saddam Hussein’s former party members from holding office. It also criticises the lack of legislation to ensure fair distribution of oil-wealth among different ethnic groups. Among the successes, the report says the government has ensured that the rights of minority parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.