Cablegate: Guidance: Unami Briefing - 6 Aug 2008

Published: Tue 5 Aug 2008 07:06 PM
DE RUEHC #4006 2181909
O 051906Z AUG 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (U) This is an action message. USUN is authorized to
draw from the points in para 2 below during the briefing
on the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) scheduled for
August 6.
2. (U) Begin points:
-- I am pleased to report to the Security Council on
behalf of the Multinational Force in Iraq (MNF-I). I would
like to begin by thanking [Special Representative de
Mistura] for his briefing on the important work undertaken
by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)
and extend our appreciation to him and our UN colleagues
on the ground in Iraq for their ongoing dedication and
hard work.
-- Today, on behalf of MNF-I, I would like to discuss
seven points on the progress achieved thus far.
-- First, let me address the sustained decrease in
security incidents and violence. For the past three
months, total security incidents have remained at their
lowest level in over four years. According to MNF-I
statistics, in just the last year, since June 2007:
-- The overall number of attacks have decreased by 82%;
-- Civilian deaths due to violence have decreased by 78%;
-- Iraqi Security Force deaths have decreased 73%;
-- U.S. military and total coalition military deaths have
decreased 72%;
-- IED explosions have decreased 75%;
-- Suicide explosions have decreased 67 %; and
-- Ethno-sectarian deaths have decreased by more than 90%.
-- The level of violence in Iraq has decreased sharply
based upon nearly every metric MNF-I uses. For two and a
half months, security incidents have remained at levels
not seen since March 2004. For instance, in the past two
months alone, ethno-sectarian attacks decreased from seven
in June to two in July.
-- Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have achieved these
security gains even as MNF-I has drawn down forces from
surge levels. The last of the five surge Brigade Combat
Teams, as well as the Marine Expeditionary Unit, and two
Marine Battalions have left Iraq without replacement.
-- On-going security operations in Basrah, Sadr City,
Mosul, Amarah, and Diyala have produced encouraging
results, further degrading the capabilities of al Qaeda in
Iraq and reducing the influence of illegal militias in
strategic Iraqi cities. Nonetheless, al Qaeda in Iraq
remains a serious threat, particularly in the north. They
retain the intent and the capability of carrying out
attacks, and their use of person-borne improvised
explosive devices and female suicide bombers remain key
-- We also remain concerned by the flow of foreign
fighters and lethal aid into Iraq. Syria is the primary
gateway for foreign terrorists moving into Iraq and the
Government of Syria must do more to halt the operation of
foreign fighter networks within its territory.
-- During the recent operations in Basrah, Sadr City, and
Maysan, Iraqi troops uncovered convincing evidence that
Iranian lethal aid has continued to flow into Iraq. In
addition, during these operations, numerous Special Group
criminals fled to Iran, where they received sanctuary. The
lethal activities of Iran's Islamic Republican Guards
Corps-Qods Force contradict Iran's publicly stated policy
of supporting the Iraqi Government and must cease.
-- Second, I would like to describe the continuing
increase in the capability of the Iraqi Security Forces,
which has contributed substantially to the improvements in
the security environment. More than 580,000 personnel now
serve in the Iraqi Security Forces, which represents an
increase of over 15,000 personnel since I last reported to
you in June.
-- As of late July 2008, 152 Iraqi Army Combat battalions
are conducting operations representing an increase of five
combat battalions since my last report. 66 % or 100 of
these combat battalions are assessed as "in the lead" for
operations. A significant number of battalions are
currently in force generation, and even more are planned
to join the force during the remainder of this year.
-- The Iraqi Air Force and Navy have made substantial
progress as well. The Iraqi Navy is now conducting an
average of 42 independent patrols per week in Iraqi
territorial waters, a twenty percent increase in the past
two months. In addition, the Iraqi Navy also maintains
security responsibility for the port of Umm Qasr. The
Iraqi Air Force is providing support to counterinsurgency
operations through intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance patrols of Iraqi borders and critical
electric and oil infrastructure. These efforts have
resulted in the capture of insurgents and identification
of damaged infrastructure allowing the Government of Iraq
to expedite repairs and re-establish essential services.
Furthermore, the Iraqi Air Force have proven themselves
very capable during combat operations in Basrah, Sadr
City, Mosul, Amarah, and Diyala, by successfully
conducting transport missions, reconnaissance, and
casualty evacuation.
-- The National Police also continue to increase their
effectiveness and they are continuing efforts to achieve
better ethno-sectarian balance within the force both
through recruiting and assignments, so that force
demographics reflect the Iraqi population. The National
Police forces have conducted more than 15 operational
deployments outside of Baghdad, most recently in Basrah,
Mosul and Baqubah. This increased effectiveness and
deployability marks the beginning of a transition from a
static, Baghdad-centric force to a rapid response force
for the Government of Iraq.
-- Third, I would like to provide an update on the
Coalition role. The support of the thirty countries
contributing to the Coalition, NATO's training mission,
and UNAMI's operations is critical to the success of Iraqi
efforts to build a stable and secure country. Coalition
members other than the United States contribute over 9,000
forces to the Multi-National Force, and another 450
personnel to UNAMI. Every contributor, large and small,
plays a critical role -- from the Azeris, who have
provided security at the Haditha Dam since 2003, to the
Romanians, who provide route security within the Dhi Qar
and Muthanna provinces. We also welcome the assistance of
countries that continue to provide security for UN
personnel, and who have contributed to the UN trust fund.
We remain committed to ensuring that the United Nations
receives the guarantees necessary for it to sustain and
expand its robust presence in Iraq.
-- Fourth, I would like to emphasize that MNF-I is
continuing to progressively transfer responsibility for
security to the Government of Iraq. Ten out of eighteen
provinces are now under provincial Iraqi control, with
Qadisiyah Province having transitioned on July 16th;
additional provinces are expected to transition by the end
of this year.
-- In June, the Iraqi Government continued its offensive
against illegal armed groups and the Special Groups,
through operation "Tidings of Peace" in Maysan, which
focused on securing the capital, Amarah, as well as the
border and smaller cities. Several senior provincial
officials were arrested, and Iraqi Security Forces seized
numerous Iranian-origin weapons caches. Such operations
show the willingness of Prime Minister Maliki and Iraq's
government to confront militants, regardless of their sect
or ethnicity and secure the country against the threat of
malign Iranian influence.
-- Iraqi security forces, working alongside local groups,
have also conducted operations in Mosul against al-Qa'ida
elements. Operations "Mother of Two-Rivers" and "Lion's
Roar" denied al Qaeda sanctuary in the urban areas of
Ninewa province and captured and killed several AQI
leaders. They are now fully engaged in security
operations in Diyala Province.
-- Iraqi Security Forces have significantly extended their
control, not only through the execution of military
operations, but also through the facilitation of
humanitarian assistance and the restoration of basic
services. Following the military operations in Maysan
Province, the Government of Iraq has begun to implement a
$102 million program to refurbish and rebuild schools,
develop municipalities, improve electricity and health
services, build-up the police forces, and provide clean
water and unemployment assistance. This initiative follows
similar reconstruction efforts to reduce the appeal of
militant groups in Basrah, Sadr City, and Mosul.
-- The fifth point I would like to discuss is political
reconciliation. The willingness of the Government of Iraq
to confront militias, regardless of sect, has encouraged
Tawafuq to reconcile its internal differences and return
its ministers to the government, thereby providing an
additional avenue for Sunni participation in the political
process. In late July, six ministers representing the
Sunni Coalition were approved for the cabinet and four new
Shia ministers have filled vacant Sadrist seats.
-- UNAMI remains deeply engaged in assisting the
Government of Iraq in various political and diplomatic
activities, including addressing internal border issues,
promoting regional dialogue, and assisting Internally
Displaced Persons and refugees. Recently, UNAMI has been
instrumental in advising the Council of Representatives
committee members in the preparation of the Provincial
Elections Law, and the Iraq High Elections Committee as
they prepared for and started voter registration on July
15. The debate that has preceded this law as a sign of a
vibrant and healthy democratic process, but the time has
arrived when the Council of Representatives needs to vote
to pass this critical bill. We are also encouraged by
UNAMI's plans to expand its presence in Iraq and believe
that the assistance of the United Nations will be critical
to Iraq's long-term development and stability. The
proposed UN compound in Baghdad will ensure that UNAMI is
able to continue its important role in Iraq, and we look
forward to Iraqi support to ensure these facilities are
-- Sixth, I would like to stress the importance of Iraq's
neighbors in supporting Iraq's efforts to provide
security, achieve political progress, and build its
economy. The Government of Iraq's security successes have
fostered international confidence. Bahrain, Jordan,
Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have all named
ambassadors to Iraq and other neighbors, including Turkey
have recently sent high-level delegations to Baghdad. We
hope that others in the region will follow their example.
-- Finally, I want to highlight that negotiations continue
between the United States and the Iraqi government on our
transitioning relationship, including with respect to
security, that will recognize the increasing ability of
the Iraqi Security Forces to assume greater responsibility
for security and stability.
-- Mr. President, the report of the Secretary-General,
which is before the Security Council today, highlights the
sustainable progress that has been achieved by the Iraqi
Government, with the assistance of the United Nations and
the support of the MNF-I and Iraqi Security Forces. The
international community supports a free, democratic,
pluralistic, federal, and unified Iraq, and I call upon
all parties to renew their commitment to assist the
Government of Iraq.
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