NIE says Iraq getting worse

U.S. intelligence officials have told President George W. Bush conditions in Iraq are getting worse, the Washington Post reported. Citing sources familiar with the long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, the newspaper said the report describes increasingly perilous conditions over which the United States has little control. The NIE says there is a strong possibility of further deterioration, the sources told the Post.

The document offers no conclusion on the question of whether Iraq is in a state of civil war. It says there is a chance conditions could improve, but it also offers an uncertain prognosis on the ability of Iraqi leaders to fight extremists, establish effective national institutions and deal with rampant corruption.

The NIE says al-Qaida activity is still a problem in Iraq, but Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has become the major source of conflict — and the most immediate threat to U.S. interests.

The document mentions Iran — which the Bush administration accuses of aiding Iraqi extremists — but Iran is not a focus of the report, the newspaper said.

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