A new report says the Iraqi government has failed to meet 11 of 18 benchmarks set by the United States to mark political, economic and military progress.
U.S. Comptroller General David Walker presented the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday. He said the Iraqi government has not reduced the level of sectarian violence and has failed to enact legislation on oil revenue sharing and militia disarmament among other things.
But he said Iraq has met goals to establish joint security stations in Baghdad and ensure minority rights in the Iraqi legislature.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto urged lawmakers Tuesday to wait for a report next week on the current status in Iraq from U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.
In an interview with U.S. broadcaster, ABC television released, Tuesday, Petraeus hinted that the report may include a recommendation to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by March 2008.
Petraeus said there are limits to what the U.S. military can provide, and that his recommendations will be informed -- not driven -- by the strain on military services.
Tuesday's GAO report said Iraq has met only three of the 18 benchmarks and has only partially met four. The GAO is known as the investigative arm of Congress.
Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana suggested Tuesday the report raises troubling questions about the willingness of Iraqi government officials to forge political reconciliation.
President Bush, on an unannounced visit to Iraq Monday, cited progress in the security situation in Anbar province and raised the prospect of fewer U.S. troops in Iraq if such progress continues.