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US Marine says prospects dim for Iraq province-paper

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, Sep 11 (Reuters) A classified report by a senior military intelligence officer in Iraq concludes that prospects are dim for securing the country's western Anbar province, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents fighting US forces and the Shi'ite-led government, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The assessment by the Marine Corps' chief of intelligence in Iraq says that there is little the US military can do to improve the political and social situation in the unstable province west of Baghdad, the Post reported, citing officials familiar with the content who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment.

According to an Army officer who has read the classified report, it said there were no functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by al Qaeda in Iraq, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper cited another person familiar with the assessment as saying that it describes Anbar as beyond repair; a third said it concluded that the United States has lost in Anbar.

''The officials described the assessment of the dire state of Anbar as the first time a senior US military officer has filed so negative a report from Iraq,'' the Post said.

No one interviewed would quote from the report, nor was The Washington Post shown a copy, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said at least on Defense Department official interview about the report did not agree with its glum findings.

''Lawlessness is a way of life there,'' the official said.

About the report, he said: ''it's one conclusion about one area. The conclusion on al Anbar doesn't translate into a perspective on the entire country.

The newspaper said Devlin offered a series of reasons for the situation in Anbar, including a lack of US and Iraqi troops.

Anbar, a wide desert swath that borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, is among the most volatile areas of Iraq, and where US forces have suffered the most deaths.

Reuters DKB GC1048

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