Iraq will need U.S. oversight for a decade, watchdog reports

Two months before the final 40,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has reported a key Iraqi minister's estimate that regional threats to the fledgling democracy will require some form of international oversight until 2020 or 2024.

SIGIR's quarterly report, released Oct. 30, provides a comprehensive summary of the U.S. postwar efforts to stabilize and rebuild the invaded country, discussing levels of violence, public sector corruption, energy, the struggle to install steady leadership at key ministries and economic growth.

In an interview, the Defense Ministry's chief of staff, Gen. Babakir Zibari, said Iraqi security forces may be able to execute missions satisfactorily. He noted that the ISF "is significantly more capable of providing for Iraq's internal security than for its external security," the report said. But the Defense Ministry will be "unable to execute the full spectrum of external-defense missions until sometime between 2020 and 2024."

More generally, the report recaps problems the U.S. mission has encountered, among them the State Department's struggle to train Iraqi police, the Commission on Wartime Contracting's finding that U.S. contracting operations may have wasted $30 billion to $60 billion, and an ineffective effort to build and protect a wastewater treatment system in Fallujah.

Despite some progress in providing security, Sunni and Shiite terrorist groups remain active, the report said.

The report listed the top U.S. contractors who have worked in Iraq, which include Bechtel National Inc., Environmental Chemical Corp., FluorAME LLC, AECOM Government Services Inc., Parsons Global Services Inc. and Washington Group International.

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