The draft resolution coincides with the release of three reports questioning Washington’s conduct in Iraq. A new study published by the Washington-based think-tank the Council on Foreign Relations says that too few US troops were sent to Iraq to manage the country’s reconstruction. ‘The critical miscalculation of Iraq war-planning was that the stabilisation and reconstruction mission would require no more forces than the invasion itself,’ the report says. Washington’s failure to prepare for the post-invasion period gave ‘early impetus for the insurgency’, the report says. ‘The failure to take this phase of conflict as seriously as initial combat operations has had serious consequences for the US,’ with over-stretched forces struggling to address Iraq’s security, governance and economic needs.

But General George Casey, one of the top US commanders in Iraq, said on 27 July that Washington would be able to make ‘fairly substantial reductions’ in its troop numbers by the summer of 2006 ‘if the political process continues to go positively and the developments with the [Iraqi] security forces continue to go as it is going’. He spoke as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit. ‘Insurgencies need to progress to survive. And this insurgency is not progressing,’ Casey said.

More than 170,000 Iraqis have joined the security forces. A second report compiled by the inspector generals of the state and defence departments criticises the recruitment process, saying that the police force is susceptible to infiltration and accepts unfit, over-age and illiterate Iraqis. A further report issued by the US General Accounting Office (GAO) said US military demand for ammunition is outstripping supply. In the past five years, ammunition requirements have doubled, the GAO said, but purchases and production have fallen. ‘It is imperative that the fighter be provided with sufficient ammunition to carry out missions to counter ongoing and emerging threats without amassing wasteful unused stockpiles,’ the assessment says.

The total number of US military personnel killed in Iraq since the invasion in March 2003 exceeds 1,700, according to Agence France-Press.