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Petraeus Sees Improvements, Peril in Iraq

Gen. David Petraeus gives his first press conference since taking over command of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Chris Hondros
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Gen. David Petraeus gives his first press conference since taking over command of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Gen. David Petraeus gives his first news conference since assuming command of U.S. forces in Iraq. He says insurgents are increasing "sensational attacks" in an effort to thwart U.S. and Iraqi efforts to restore order in Baghdad.

Petraeus says the joint Iraqi-U.S. security crackdown, called Operation Enforcing the Law, is making progress despite a recent increase in insurgent attacks.

"Regrettably, some of these groups are still carrying out their barbaric acts," he says. "In fact, we believe that they have sought to intensify their sensational attacks in recent weeks to provoke renewed sectarian violence and derail [the operation] before it can be fully implemented."

As the increase in U.S. troop deployments continues, Petraeus says it's too soon to recommend that the surge go past the summer. The New York Times reported Thursday that his deputy, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, recommended that heightened troop levels be maintained through February 2008.

Petraeus says joint Iraqi-U.S. efforts will be increasing, especially in Baghdad neighborhoods, in a bid to increase security and essential services such as electricity.

He also calls on Iraqi leaders to rise above personal and sectarian agendas to grapple with these issues in the months ahead.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
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