Watchdog: Iraq Less Safe Than a Year Ago
US inspector issues bleak report 5 months before withdrawal
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2011 3:29 PM CDT
Iraqis walk through the rubble of a liquor store that hit by a car bomb in Baghdad on July 28.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A report on Iraq five months before the US withdrawal doesn't exactly inspire confidence: "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago," declares Stuart Bowen, the official appointed by Congress to keep an eye on the transition. He cites an increase in bombings and assassinations, rampant corruption, continued trouble training Iraqi police, and even electricity problems, report AFP and the New York Times.

The shift in control away the US military is occurring "against the backdrop of a security situation in Iraq that continues to deteriorate," says Bowen, who runs the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. His assessment contradicts rosier statements by US and Iraqi officials. “There are failures and shortcomings in the government and the security forces, but it is not as bad as the report says it is," says a member of the Iraqi parliament.