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Iraq: Armed Conflict

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for recent trends in the levels of violence in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. (213367)

The security situation in Iraq varies from province to province. The security situation in Iraq has improved significantly over the course of the second half of 2007 and 2008. In and around Baghdad, violence has reduced to levels not seen since 2005.

There are a number of factors that have contributed towards the downturn in levels of violence across Iraq. The increased capacity and capability of the Iraqi security forces has had a positive impact in reducing levels of violence. Other factors include the surge of US forces and the emergence of predominantly Sunni tribal 'Awakening' Councils and Sons of Iraq/Concerned Local Citizens, who have turned against al-Qa'eda. The continued ceasefire declared by Moqtada al Sadr in August 2007 has also had a positive effect in the south, although we remain concerned about violence committed by militant elements linked to the Sadrist movement.