We completed a very productive two-day visit to Iraq on August 18. We came to Iraq to assess the progress being achieved by “the surge,
We consulted with Ambassador Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, on three occasions to discuss progress on the political components of the President’s new strategy. We met with the Ambassador once in a combined session with General Petraeus and later in two meetings with Senior Iraqi leaders that included President Jalal Talabani, Deputy Presidents Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Tariq Al-Hashimi, and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih.
While in Baghdad, we also met with Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), and members of the SIGIR staff to discuss the findings of their July 2007 report and their ongoing audits and investigations. In addition, we met with members of Iraq’s Christian community, composed of groups who have lived in the region for centuries, to learn more about their situation.
The meetings in Jordan included consultations with the U.S. Ambassador and members of his staff, as well as Jordanian officials and members of the Iraqi Parliament. We also wanted to gain more knowledge about Iraqi citizens currently residing in Jordan and met with a senior official with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Amman office of Save the Children, and a group of Iraqis currently residing in Jordan.
Most important, we continue to be in awe of the dedication, commitment, and courageous performance of our troops, wherever they are in Iraq, and government and private sector civilians who risk their lives daily to give Iraqis the chance to build their nation. Their heroism cannot be overstated.
We have seen indications that the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results -- in al Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents. We remain concerned, however, that in the absence of overall “national