Iraq withdrawal benchmarks
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
The Iraq withdrawal benchmarks are a series of benchmarks the U.S. Government under the Bush administration have asked the Iraqi government to meet before the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq could commence.
The benchmarks include:
- Reaching out to the Sunnis by reopening talks on the Iraqi Constitution.
- Passing a new oil law.
- Reversing the purge of former Baathists from Iraqi politics and government employment
- Dismantling sectarian Shi'ite militias.
Status according to White House on 2007-07-12 
The complete list is the following and the status of each was presented by the White House on 2007-07-12: 
- Form a committee to review the constitution - Committee is formed, but review is not done.
- Establish a process to form and implement semi-autonomous regions - Procedures are in place, but it's unclear whether more regions will be added.
- Establish political, media, economic and service committees to support security plan - Steering committee meets weekly to discuss issues. Subcommittees have formed, but they vary in effectiveness.
- Provide three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support operations in Baghdad - The Iraqi government has provided the equivalent of three brigades, but staffing levels are a concern.
- Protect the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature - Shiite factions are feuding. Women work closely with one another, often across party lines.
- Allocate and spend $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects - Iraqi government spent about $1.4 billion in 2006. Oil ministry hasn't made a real effort to spend its capital budget. True success depends on improving delivery of services.
- Ensure that the Baghdad security plan will not provide safe haven for outlaws, regardless of sectarian or political affiliation - U.S. commanders say they're satisfied with their ability to target any extremist group. Security forces have been able to clear some areas around Baghdad.
- Establish joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad - More than 60 stations are in Baghdad, and 30 more are planned. Increased interaction with locals has reduced violence.
- Establish an electoral commission, set up provincial councils and their authorities, and set a date for elections - Commission is formed. A law establishing provincial elections is drafted. Still trying to agree on council authorities. No date set for elections.
- Reduce the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminate militia control of local security - Militia presence is still strong and far-reaching. Some decrease in sectarian violence, but too early to tell whether it will continue.
- Divide oil revenues among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions - Kurds and Shiites have agreed on how to do this, but Sunnis are balking. The effect has been to reduce Iraqis' confidence in government.
- Reintegrate former Baath Party members into Iraq society; exclude democracy opponents - Among the most divisive political issues; compromise is extremely difficult. There have been competing conceptions of justice and accountability.
- Give Iraqi commanders authority to execute the security plan and make tactical and operational decisions - Iraqi and coalition forces have authority to go after insurgents and militias, but concerns about "negative political influence" continue at various levels.
- Ensure that Iraqi security forces provide even-handed law enforcement. - Some individual units aren't complying, and performance is "generally adequate" when teamed with coalition forces.
- Increase the number of Iraqi security force units capable of operating independently - "Slow but steady" improvement. The Bush administration is concerned about sectarian leanings of some national police units.
- Ensure that Iraq's political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi security forces - Accusations of wrongdoing are not being adequately addressed by the Iraqi government. As a result, security forces don't operate in a professional, non-sectarian way.
Too early to assess
- Pass law giving amnesty to former members of the ruling Baath Party - Conditions for amnesty for those who have fought against the Iraqi government since 2003 don't exist. Violence is extensive, and various groups aren't willing to reconcile.
- Enact and implement law on militia disarmament so security forces are loyal and accountable - There is disagreement on whether the law is needed now. No armed group has committed to disarmament. The United Nations and others have reservations about timing
Status according to draft GAO report on August 30, 2007 
According to a August 30, 2007 draft of a report by the Government Accountability Office, Iraq had met three of the benchmarks and failed to meet the remaining fifteen. The final report will be delivered to Congress on in September 2007.  The GAO found more dissent within the administration than was indicated in the White House's July 12, 2007 report.
- Karon, Tony (2007-05-04). "The Trouble With Benchmarks in Iraq". Time magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
- Jackson, David; Camia, Catalina; Pearson, Mark (2007-07-13). "Interim report on Iraq finds both successes and failures". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- DeYoung, Karen; Ricks, Thomas E. (August 30, 2007). "Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals: GAO Draft at Odds With White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-05.