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DOD Casts Bleak Iraq Report: The latest DOD quarterly assessment of the situation in Iraq—released Dec. 18—notes that violence from August to November increased by 22 percent. Insurgents have directed the majority of attacks against coalition forces, yet there have been more casualties among Iraqis. Expressing a tad of optimism, the report—the sixth of its kind—noted that there has been “incremental progress” by the fledgling Iraqi government concerning its “willingness and ability to take over responsibility, to build institutions, and to deliver essential services.”