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A long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, presented to President Bush by the intelligence community yesterday, outlines an increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control and there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, according to sources familiar with the document.
In a discussion of whether Iraq has reached a state of civil war, the 90-page classified NIE comes to no conclusion and holds out prospects of improvement. But it couches glimmers of optimism in deep uncertainty about whether the Iraqi leaders will be able to transcend sectarian interests and fight against extremists, establish effective national institutions and end rampant corruption.
Completion of the estimate, which projects events in Iraq over the next 18 months, comes amid intensifying debate and skepticism on Capitol Hill about the administration's war policy. In a series of contentious hearings over the past two weeks, legislators have sharply questioned Bush's new plan for the deployment of 21,500 additional U.S. troops and the administration's dependence on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
U.S.: 4 Copter Losses Due to Ground Fire
The four U.S. helicopters that have crashed in Iraq since Jan. 20 were apparently shot down, the chief American military spokesman said Sunday - the first time the U.S. command has publicly acknowledged that the aircraft were lost to enemy fire.
Suicide Bomber Kills 102 in Baghdad
A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 102 people among the crowd buying food for evening meals, the most devastating strike in the capital in more than two months.