The Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) have been making incremental progress in some areas, though in others their operations have been completely halted due to the security environment, according to SIGIR's latest assessment on the effectiveness of the PRT program.
As could be expected, the PRTs in the northern province have proven the most effective, since the pre-existing stability has made it easier to operate. Concerns remain about political reconciliation and the ultimate consequences of article 140, and also the impact on local governance resulting from confusion over the relationship with Baghdad.
With the exception of Basra, the report describes a situation of relative calm across the southern provinces. Iraqis enjoy relative security, though Coalition officials face attacks if they try to travel through the region. As a result, PRT teams in the south have difficulty meeting with local officials, thus hampering the effectiveness of their operations.
The situation is such that the original draft of the SIGIR report recommended the program consider transferring the PRT personnel from Basrah, Najaf, Karbalan, Qadisiyah, and Maysan to other locations where they can be put to better use, though the embassy rejected the recommendation on the grounds that maintaining provincial contacts was key to ensure local confidence in the US commitment to assist with reconstruction.
In the central region, governance, rule of law, economic development, political reconciliation, and reconstruction all face significant hurdles, though the report projects an optimistic outlook based on recent trends. Most particularly, the report cites the significant positive contribution of the ePRTs, which first began arriving this past April.
The PRT program launched its original satellite offices in Mosul, Kirkuk, and Hillah in November 2005, and now comprise ten PRTs (seven US-led and three managed by coalition partners), seven provincial support teams (PSTs), and fifteen "embedded", or ePRTS, which are smaller teams integrated with military forces around Baghdad and al-Anbar. The cost of the program has been largely borne by the US, at an estimated $1.9 billion over the past two years.
Read the full report here: basra_Seibel.source.prod_affiliate.91.pdf