Crocker said Thursday the Iraqi government is reflecting the “stresses, strains and tensions throughout society.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The American ambassador in Baghdad said Thursday that as a result of the troop buildup in Iraq, sectarian violence has gone down "to a fairly notable degree."
But Ryan Crocker said that "high-profile attacks" - such as the suicide truck bombing in Kirkuk that killed 80 people - continue and noted that great anxiety continues to fill the streets and rural areas of the war-torn country.
Speaking via satellite from Baghdad, Crocker told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "if there is one word I would use to sum up the atmosphere in Iraq ... that word would be fear."
"I certainly will not try to present to you the Iraqi government as a model of smoothly functioning efficiency because it is not. It faces considerable difficulties," said Crocker. And, he added, "the stresses, strains and tensions throughout society" are "reflected in the government."
He spoke after a classified question-and-answer session with lawmakers on the Iraq war
Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, are to provide an assessment to Washington in September of what is going on in Iraq, where the troop buildup, called a "surge" by the Bush administration, was completed last month.
Crocker said there have been encouraging developments over the past few months, citing the stances of tribes people in Anbar province who are shifting their allegiances to Iraqi and coalition forces. He said this sentiment is spreading to parts of the Baghdad region, and in Diyala and Nineveh provinces.
– CNN's KD Fabian contributed to this report
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