Violence is increasing in Iraq, raising questions about whether the security improvements credited to the increase in U.S. troops may be short-lived. Car bombs in Baghdad on Monday killed at least 11 people and injured a prominent leader of one of the country’s most influential American-allied tribal militias. The Ministry of Electricity announced that power to much of the nation, already anemic, is likely to lag in coming days because insurgents had blown up transmission facilities and natural gas pipelines that fuel generators. CBS News confirmed that two of its journalists are missing in Basra, in Iraq’s south. A leading parliament member warned that budget disputes have paralyzed the legislature. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, finishing a two-day visit to Baghdad, said that he was likely to advocate a pause in troop withdrawals to evaluate the situation after the last of the additional troops sent here under President Bush’s so-called surge strategy had left later this year. Gates made the remark after meeting for two hours with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. Petraeus already has indicated that he wants to slow troop withdrawals to consolidate the past year’s security gains.
So we had some security benefits from the surge but the concern now is that even those could be waning. As far as economic and political stability – which most experts say is crucial – there does not seem to be that much progress.