Violence in Iraq is high, with slight political progress and mixed results on security, according to a US Congressional report.

The independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Iraq had failed to meet 11 of 18 political and military goals set by Congress last May.

Iraq met three benchmarks and partially met another four, it said.

The report said the number of Iraqi security forces capable of conducting independent operations has declined and militias are not disarmed.

It also said it is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased.

The Iraqi government got partial credit for one security goal by providing three brigades to support Baghdad operations, but some of those were of limited effectiveness, according to David Walker, head of the GAO.

Laws on amnesty, provincial elections and constitutional review also had not been passed.

Three reports on Iraq ordered by US Congress are due in the next few weeks.

Iraqi court confirms death for three

The Iraqi Supreme Court has confirmed death sentences on Ali Hassan al-Majid, Sultan Hashim al-Tai and Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The three were sentenced to death on 24 June after being found guilty of the slaughter of thousands of ethnic Kurds in the so-called Anfal campaign of 1988.

They are currently on trial, with six others, in connection with the slaughter of Shias in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.

Majid, often called 'Chemical Ali', was a first cousin of Saddam Hussein, a former head of the Mukhabarat, the intelligence service, and a Minister for Defence.

Tai was also defence minister and Tikriti was armed forces deputy chief of operations.

An estimated 182,000 Kurds were killed and 4,000 villages wiped out in the 1988 campaign of bombings, mass deportation and gas attacks known as al-Anfal.

The three will be executed within 30 days, in accordance with the Iraqi constitution.