Today, the Bush administration released an update to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), entitled, “Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: Some Security Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive.” The NIE — which offers the coordinated judgments of the Intelligence Community — observed some “measurable but uneven improvements” in Iraq’s security situation, but cautioned that there remains a lack of political progress in Iraq and a failure of the escalation to successfully provide sufficient security for Iraqis.
Read the key judgments of the NIE here. Below, some important findings:
Decrease in Baghdad violence due to sectarian cleansing:
The polarization of communities is most evident in Baghdad, where the Shia are a clear majority in more than half of all neighborhoods and Sunni areas have become surrounded by predominately Shia districts. Where population displacements have led to significant sectarian separation, conflict levels have diminished to some extent because warring communities find it more difficult to penetrate communal enclaves.
Violence to remain high over next six to 12 months:
[L]evels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high [over next six to 12 months] and the Iraqi Government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance.
National government to become more “precarious” over next six to 12 months:
The Iraqi Government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other members of the major Shia coalition, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and other Sunni and Kurdish parties. … The strains of the security situation and absence of key leaders have stalled internal political debates, slowed national decisionmaking, and increased Maliki’s vulnerability to alternative coalitions
Refugee crisis will continue to spill over during “next six to 12 months”:
Population displacement resulting from sectarian violence continues, imposing burdens on provincial governments and some neighboring states and increasing the danger of destabilizing influences spreading across Iraq’s borders over the next six to 12 months.