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U.S. Report On Iraqi Provinces Offers Bleak Assessment --> (RFE/RL) PRAGUE, April 9, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- An internal U.S. Embassy report on Iraq's provinces obtained by "The New York Times" rates the overall stability of six of the country's 18 provinces as "serious" and one as "critical."

The 10-page report -- dated January 31 -- says the strategic Baghdad governorate is plagued by intimidation and the assassination of public officials, Iraqi security forces, and civilians.

It finds that the security situation in six provinces, mainly in Sunni-populated northwestern Iraq, is "serious," with Al-Anbar suffering from "critical" economic and security problems.

Security in Iraq's nine southern Shi'ite provinces was seen as "stable" or "moderate," with the exception of Al-Basrah, where it says smuggling and criminal activity continues unabated.

The report finds the Kurdish region in the north as stable in governance, security, and economy.

U.S. President George W. Bush argued in a speech on April 6 that his strategy in Iraq is working, despite rising violence.

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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