2007 Dealiest Year for US Troops in IraqDecember 30, 2007 19:28 The second half of 2007 saw violence drop dramatically in Iraq, but the progress came at a high price: The year was the deadliest for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion, with 899 troops killed.
American commanders and diplomats, however, say the battlefield gains against insurgents such as al-Qaida in Iraq offer only a partial picture of where the country stands as the war moves toward its five-year mark in March.
Two critical shifts that boosted U.S.-led forces in 2007 - a self-imposed cease-fire by a main Shiite militia and a grassroots Sunni revolt against extremists - could still unravel unless serious unity efforts are made by the Iraqi government.
Iran also remains a major wild card. U.S. officials believe the neighboring country has helped quiet Iraq by reducing its flow of suspected aid to Shiite fighters, including materials needed for deadly roadside bombs.
But Iran's apparent hands-off policies could come under strain as Shiite factions - some favoring Iran, others not - battle for control of Iraq's oil-rich south.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, will increasingly look to the uneven Iraqi security forces to carry the load in 2008 as demands for an American exit strategy grow sharper during the U.S. election year.
Us Official Says Iran Restraining Shi'Ite Militias In IraqDecember 23, 2007 09:33 A U.S. official says Iran has reined in the Shi'ite militias it supports in Iraq, contributing to a sharp drop in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks.
In an interview with the Washington Post published Sunday, the State Department's top official on Iraq, David Satterfield, says Iran has decided "at the most senior levels" to restrain Shi'ite militants.
Satterfield says the flow of roadside bombs from Iran may not have stopped, but he says the drop in their use and a decline in overall attacks must be attributed to an Iranian policy decision.
Iraqi police say a roadside bomb exploded Sunday in the Zaafaraniyah district of southern Baghdad, killing two civilians.
Elsewhere, gunmen killed an Iraqi army officer near the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. Also near Mosul, a car bomb exploded near a a police patrol, killing one civilian and wounding five officers.
The Washington Post quotes U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as urging Iran to confirm a decision to rein in Shi'ite militants. He says such a move would be a good start to a fourth round of talks between him and his Iranian counterpart.
Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up By U.S., Halliburton/KbrDecember 10, 2007 21:54 A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.
Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.
"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.
"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming "20/20" investigation. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.
"I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told ABCNews.com, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer.
Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.
Bush's Greatest Folly - Monday, June 15, 2009