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The last few weeks have seen important events in Iraq. The Iraqi people now have a new government of national unity. But at the same time the recent upsurge of violence is continuing, including in the south, and British troops have suffered setbacks. Clearly this is a complex picture and it can be difficult to reconcile conflicting images of progress one day and setbacks the next. First, I would like to give you my view of the situation in Iraq – based on my visit last week with the Chief of Defence Staff, and in particular my conversations with our troops on the ground; and second, to set out what this situation means for our long-term strategy of supporting Iraq in its journey towards democratic self-governance.