Petraeus: Iraq Has Stepped Up; Gains Still Fragile

The surge is working, but things are still rough in places
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 9:21 AM CDT
John McCain, delivers a speech at the National World War I Museum in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Iraq's security has greatly improved since September, Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee today, thanks largely to Iraqis themselves. “Iraq has also conducted a surge,” Petraeus said, pointing to the improved Iraqi army and the contribution of Sunni Awakening groups. But he warned that those gains were “fragile and reversible,” and urged a pause in troop reductions after the surge drawdown ends in July.

On the political front, ambassador Ryan Crocker said progress “is uneven and often frustratingly slow, but there is progress.”  But he, too, called it “fragile and reversible.”  He advocated a pact for bilateral relations between the US and Iraq, but stressed that the agreement would “expressly foreswear” permanent bases, and wouldn’t tie the next president’s hands. “Almost everything about Iraq is hard,” Crocker said. “But hard does not mean hopeless.”