In recent weeks, U.S.-led coalition forces have launched new assaults on insurgent strongholds and appear to have reached an agreement with the Mahdi army. But the Iraqi government must still contend with insurgent attacks around the country, widespread lawlessness, high unemployment, and economic disruptions.
Despite the Bush administration's insistence that country-wide elections will take place as scheduled on January 31, some observers have questioned whether it would be feasible or desirable to do so given the unsettled security and economic conditions of the country.
On Thursday, Brookings will convene a group of foreign policy experts to assess the situation in Iraq and what the United States must do in order to ensure fair elections and successful reconstruction. The panel will include two former officials of the Coalition Provisional Authority who returned recently from Baghdad. Participants will take questions from the audience.