The Pentagon's most recent report on the conditions in Iraq has a lot of good news and a lot of bad news. As is typical, the report was cherry-picked by the mainstream media (MSM) to emphasize the worst developments from early August through early November, and only the briefest of mentions referred to progress made there by Coalition forces.
The report deserves to be read closely because it is very comprehensive and quite candid about the front in the global war that is Iraq. Here are the key graphs:
"More than 45,000 additional Iraqi soldiers and police have completed initial training and equipping since August 2006, bringing the total number of ISF (Iraq security forces) that have been trained and equipped to 322,600. By the end of December 2006, the United States and its Coalition partners will have met the force generation targets while continuing the efforts to improve the ISF's capability to meet emergent requirements. However, the trained-and-equipped number should not be confused with present-for-duty strength. The number of present-for-duty soldiers and police is much lower, due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition.
"The ISF increasingly took operational lead, assuming primary area security responsibility and demonstrating an increased capability to plan and execute counter-insurgency operations. As of November 13, 2006, there were 6 Division Headquarters, 30 Brigade Headquarters, and 91 Iraqi Army battalions that have been assigned their own areas for leading counter-insurgency operations. In September 2006, Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) transferred command and control of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC) to the Ministry of Defense Joint Headquarters. Joint Headquarters also assumed command and control of the Iraqi Air Force and Navy, and IGFC assumed command and control of two Iraqi Army divisions (4th and 8th). In total, 104 Iraqi Army combat battalions, 2 Special Operations Battalions, and 6 Strategic Infrastructure Battalions are now conducting operations at varying levels of assessed capability."
The report did identify Muqtada al Sadr's cadres as the greatest threats to the near-term stability of Iraq: