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U.S. Congress Report Finds Iraq Failing On Goals


http://gdb.rferl.org/81971627-593D-4820-8673-669C77037FC2_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/81971627-593D-4820-8673-669C77037FC2_mw800_mh600.jpg Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki (left) in Karbala on August 29 (AFP) August 30, 2007 -- Two leading U.S. newspapers have quoted a draft of a key report on Iraq as saying that Baghdad has not met most of the 18 goals set by the U.S. Congress for progress in Iraq.

"The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" today quoted a draft report, produced by the General Accounting Office (GAO).

The GAO report, which is due on Congress on September 4, is significant as Congress struggles to hold the White House to benchmark goals since the addition of 30,000 more US troops this year.

The contend of the report could not be independently confirmed.

The Democrat congressional majority wants to force a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, saying the Iraqi government has failed to use the time to reconcile feuding ethnic and religious factions in parliament and across the country.

The GAO draft found that three of 18 benchmarks were met, while a White House interim report in July found that eight of 18 standards were achieved.

Arrests Made In Iraqi City

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Defense Ministry says security forces have arrested 72 gunmen following clashes in the city of Karbala this week that forced hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to flee a religious festival. A ministry statement today said a number of weapons had also been confiscated across the southern city.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who visited Karbala on August 29, blamed "outlawed armed criminal gangs from the remnants of the buried Saddam regime" for the violence that killed over 50 people.

The U.S. Army, meanwhile, said one of its soldiers was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq's eastern Diyala Governorate.

(Reuters, dpa, AP)
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