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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lute: little reason for optimism in Iraq...Iraqis off the record say pessimism is more like it

This nugget of reporting is buried in this Peter Baker and Karen De Young's Washington Post report on General Lute's confirmation hearings:

While insisting that incremental progress is being made, administration officials acknowledge that the benchmarks will be all but impossible to meet by the time progress reports are due to Congress.

"If the test is peace and reconciliation and flowers blooming by September, that will be hard to meet," said a senior administration official. At the least, the administration hopes to be able to demonstrate movement in the right direction.

During a recent visit to Washington, a senior Iraqi official said sectarian divides are deepening. "People may look for benchmarks, achievements, legislation here and there to look for progress," said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity. "This will not reflect the reality. This country is in deep, grave trouble. . . . If anyone expects problems to be fixed by September 2007 or 2008, they will be in for a bad surprise."

Must read.

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