The attached report summarizes the trends in Iraqi violence and casualties in graphics and map form. It reflects major progress during the course of 2007. At the same time, it shows that levels of violence remain high, and that many risks remain.
The report contrasts US data with that provided by the Iraqi government. It is important to note that the Coalition counts tend to define violence and casualties in much more narrow ways than the Iraqi government. This is reflected in data used in the December quarterly report on Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, and in data provide more recently by a senior Iraqi official.
The data reflect two clear messages. First, it is premature and irresponsible to claim any kind of victory. Second, the level of progress has, however, been extremely impressive to date. Major risks do remain, and success still depends more on political accommodation than military progress, but there is a substantially better case for US strategic patience than in the spring of 2007.
The data indicate that if Iraqis move towards serious accommodation during the course of the spring of 2008, there will be a strong case for continued US economic and military aid, for linking US troop levels to creating a stable transition from a de facto US lead to one by Iraqi forces, and for a sustained US effort that will last well into the next Administration.
The data also do indicated, however, that the risks remain high, that the military dimension is scarcely over, and Iraqi political and economic progress remains absolutely critical to any US success.