Fourth Installment of "Where Things Stand" in Iraq

The impact of security shortfalls remains significant. Violence has hampered reconstruction, in western and central Iraq in particular, and it has meant that badly needed funds for electricity, clean water, education and salaries for health care professionals are spent instead on security. In one stunning measure of "Where Things Stand" in Iraq we found that as of October 2005, approximately $5 billion of the $18.4 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress for reconstruction in Iraq had been diverted to security needs.

Many parents have become more afraid to allow their children, girls in particular, to attend school, and some Iraqis are too frightened even to visit the doctor when sick.

As mentioned briefly in the introduction, a strange calm pervades some cities where local militias have seized power. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Karbala, a major city in southern Iraq where such militia appear to have infiltrated the police and security forces. It's a development that outsiders, and some locals, view with fear and dismay -- how, after all, can the true authorities hold power and garner respect when bands of armed men outside the government set up checkpoints and rule the streets? Yet many locals -- in Karbala at least -- report that these militias have improved security. An "iron hand" may be at work, and it may be a fleeting calm, but for the moment it is noticed and appreciated.

A final note: The reach of the insurgency was felt by one of our IWPR reporters. While Mustafa Magid Al Dory was filming, he received word that his father, a mechanic, had been shot to death as he drove home. ABC News producer Bruno Roeber reports that Mustafa finished his work, including a visit to the ABC Baghdad bureau to brief the staff on his own reporting. He was distraught but determined -- and as Bruno put it, Mustafa seemed to "exemplify the stoicism of so many Iraqis." Just as the police recruits continue to line up for work in places that have been targeted repeatedly, Mustafa felt -- to use an overused cliché -- that life must go on.

The hope of course is that the political process, which has taken dramatic steps forward in the last year, ultimately will marginalize the insurgents, and that the continued training of Iraqi soldiers and police officers will ultimately yield a force that can effectively combat the foreign jihadists. Optimists note that the insurgents have yet to derail the political process.

Facts & Figures:

Total Iraqi Forces:

December 2003: 162,000 security-related officers

Current: 235,489 security-related officers

Goal: 330,810 security-related officers

Strength of Insurgency Nationwide (Estimate)

November 2003: 5,000

January 2005: 18,000

October 2005: 15,000 to 20,000

Source: Brookings Institution, Iraq Index

Click here for more facts on Iraq by the Brookings Institution.

Iraqi Police and Military Killed:

Jan.-Nov. 2005: 2,209

2003-2005: 1,300

Sources: Iraqi Interior Ministry, Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Click here for more on Iraqi casualties.

Iraqi Civilians Killed: March 2003 to November 2005:

Estimates range from 10,183 to 30,163 Sources: Iraq Body Count; Brookings Institution, Iraq

Click here for more on the Iraq body count.

2) AVAILABILITY of JOBS

North: Better

Central: Worse

South: Same or Worse

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