Some Are Optimistic

The Pentagon has delivered its latest quarterly report on progress in Iraq to Congress, citing momentum on political, economic, and security fronts. Air Force Lt. Gen. Victor Renuart, the Joint Staff’s director for strategic plans and policy, said that the impact of extremists should not be downplayed but that violence remains concentrated in four of Iraq’s 18 provinces. “It’s still dangerous and violent there,” he said. As of mid-May, 111 Iraqi army and special operations battalions are conducting counterinsurgency operations, an increase of nine percent since the last report to Congress. The number of trained and equipped Iraqi forces has topped 263,000 by the middle of the month, including nearly 118,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen—an increase of 11,000 since the February report.