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US intelligence estimate another dire warning on Iraq.



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Robert McClelland MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Federal Member for Barton

3 February 2007

US INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE ANOTHER DIRE WARNING ON IRAQ

The latest US National Intelligence Estimate, released today, concludes that Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has now surpassed al-Qaeda as the most immediate threat to the United States.

The Intelligence Estimate also expresses uncertainly over whether Iraqi leaders would be able to transcend the sectarian divide to fight extremism and establish functioning national institutions.

Federal Labor have been at pains to emphasise the crucial failure of John Howard’s ‘me too’ policy with President Bush on Iraq.

Last month Mr Howard endorsed the US troop surge strategy and he continues to refuse to say how long Australian troops will remain in Iraq. This effectively gives an unconditional and open ended commitment to the severely compromised al-Maliki Government.

The stack of expert warnings about the al-Maliki administration builds week after week.

White House National Security Adviser Stephen J Hadley has previously warned that al-Maliki is stopping military action against Shia targets and “encouraging them against Sunni ones”.

The expert Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group has warned that Iraqi police “routinely engage in sectarian violence” and described the “targeted execution of Sunni Arab civilians”.

The Pentagon has submitted warnings to the US Congress about how some Iraqi politicians “are condoning or maintaining support for violent means as a source of political leverage”.

And now the latest National Intelligence Estimate from the US confirms that the sectarian violence is the number one threat to our friend and ally.

In the face of expert warning after expert warning Prime Minister Howard turns the other way and submissively says ‘me too’ to President Bush. When will Mr Howard finally acknowledge that our unconditional and open ended commitment in Iraq is a key part of the problem and not the solution?

* Note: A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is a top level report developed by the US intelligence community on a defined US national security issue and approved by the Director of Intelligence John Negroponte. All key US intelligence agencies contribute to the development of an estimate.

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Tom Cameron 0417 147 932