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Cablegate: Prt Tikrit: Salad Ad Din Leaders Discuss Way Ahead

VZCZCXRO9131
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0971/01 0781417
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191417Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0271
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000971

SIPDIS

SBU
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TAGS
SUBJECT: PRT TIKRIT: SALAD AD DIN LEADERS DISCUSS WAY AHEAD

1. (U) This is a PRT Tikrit, Salah ad Din cable.

2.(SBU) SUMMARY. On February 15, leaders from Salah ad
Din,s (SaD) public and private sector met for a
CF/PRT-sponsored Dialogue and Communication Conference (DACC)
to address the opportunities and challenges facing the
province. The meeting provided a forum for attendees
representing various sectors of the community to frankly
discuss a range of difficult issues. While the specific
subjects discussed in each group varied, one central theme
emerged - the lack of consistent communication between
different levels of government. This includes the
relationship between the GOI and the province as well as the
Provincial Council (PC) and municipalities. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- -
Communication Gap between GOI and Salah ad Din
--------------------------------------------- -

3. (SBU) During a discussion in the governance committee led
by the Deputy Governor, General Abdullah, representatives
from Bayji emphasized that there was very little regular
contact between their municipal council and local Director
Generals (who represent the Ministries locally) and the
Provincial Council (PC), arguing that the PC often allocated
provincial resources without soliciting input from the
localities involved. (NOTE: Leaders in Samarra strongly
conveyed this sentiment to IPAO during a February 14 visit;
communicating a lack of visibility of the provincial budget
execution process. Bayji and Samarra are in similar
situations ) both boycotted the 2005 provincial elections )
and have very little representation in the PC, making
visibility on provincial issues more difficult. END NOTE.)
As in past conferences, delegates called for an individual )
as opposed to a list ) election in 2007, contending that
this would lead to more competent leaders being elected.

4. (SBU) Local governance in Iraq is almost solely focused on
capital projects spending, with municipal and provincial
governments having little control over national institutions
that implement local programs. Attendees expressed
frustration with this situation, arguing strongly for a more
decentralized system with greater local influence. When
other delegates claimed that the GOI discriminated against
SaD residents, the Deputy Governor responded, stating that
&They (the GOI) treat everyone (all of the provinces)
poorly.8 Admitting that communication with Baghdad was a
problem, Abdullah stressed that the Provincial Government was
focused on working productively with all of the GOI
Ministries.

-------------------------
Business Lobbying in SaD?
-------------------------

5. (SBU) Although the economic committee discussed frequently
well-known impediments to economic development in SaD, such
as security and the lack of financial services, delegates
focused on the lack of attention by the PC on issues critical
to the business community. Representatives argued that
targeted spending from the provincial budget ) such as the
establishment of an Iraqi-funded microfinance center or a
secure business convention center ) could promote economic
development. The committee chairman, Dr. Saad Salih,
described the Economic Subcommittee of the Provincial Council
as &all talk and no action.8 Salih and other
representatives said they planned to begin attending council
meetings and lobby for spending proposals which would benefit
the business community, potentially promoting greater
accountability and transparency within the Council.

-----------------------
Agricultural Challenges
-----------------------

6. (SBU) Lamenting the fact that despite being located in
Iraq,s breadbasket SaD province must import much of its food
(due to extremely low agricultural production),
representatives from the agricultural sector of the economy
discussed current challenges for the province,s farmers.
Citing the manager of the Bayji Fertilizer Plant refusal to
release 5,000 metric tons of fertilizer without &additional
payment8 as an example, attendees expressed frustration with
both the Fertilizer Plant,s and the Ministry of
Agriculture,s unresponsiveness to the needs of SaD farmers.

-----------
Rule of Law
-----------

7. (SBU) Discussion in the Rule of Law committee at the DACC
primarily focused on the restoration of the Samarra

BAGHDAD 00000971 002 OF 002


courthouse. Being a regional center of over 300,000
residents, a new courthouse in Samarra is desperately needed,
given the enormous backlog of cases awaiting trial, and has
the support of key local players, including Salah ad Din
Chief Judge Abdul Hamid Salman. However, the challenge
remains the Ministry of Justice,s dysfunctional bureaucratic
process, which continues to frustrate final approval of the
courthouse. A lack of communication between the province and
Baghdad is evident; authorities in SaD intend to convert a
medical clinic into the courthouse, while Ministry officials
in Baghdad assumed that the former courthouse building would
be utilized. (NOTE: The PRT is actively engaged and will
continue to promote communication between all parties in
order to resolve this issue. END NOTE.)

8. (SBU) Representatives also discussed important judicial
issues in the province, such as the final preparations for
the establishment of a Major Crimes Court (MCC) in Tikrit,
judges, personal security, future courthouse construction
projects, etc. Seeing a future influx of cases from Bayji as
likely (due largely to increased security measures recently
taken at the Bayji oil refinery), the delegates reached
agreement that persons detained for petroleum theft would be
sent to the Tikrit High Crimes jail and the cases would be
processed as any other serious crime.

-------------------------
Educational Opportunities
-------------------------

9. (SBU) In the education committee, a dozen education
professionals, ranging from elementary school teachers and
NGO workers to university professors and government
officials, discussed access to education and adult literacy.
Focusing on ways to access learning in spite of the security
situation, the group suggested greater use of Salah ad Din
satellite television station for reaching both youth and
adult audiences. Additionally, they agreed that more focus
should be put on primary school students in order to
establish a strong base in linguistic and mathematic skills
and to cultivate a desire among students to continue
learning.

10. (SBU) Given the large number of Iraqi Army (IA) and
Police (IP) officers who are illiterate, the group suggested
making literacy programs regular and mandatory training for
Iraq's security forces. They surmised that this would make
the officers more effective at their jobs, thereby generally
increasing the security situation and reducing
security-related school absenteeism.

11. (SBU) The Deputy Governor, who moderated the wrap up
session, further suggested that the province is plagued by
two types of illiteracy: traditional and technological. He
agreed that focus should be put on adult literacy programs
but also suggested that the education system should work to
ensure the province's students are learning to use computers
and the internet.

-----------------
Nursing Shortages
-----------------

12. (SBU) Due to social stigma and bureaucratic rules, Salah
ad Din faces a dire shortage of trained nurses. Males are
not allowed to train to be nurses (according to the Ministry
of Health), and many female nurses, considered to be too
ambitious, are shunned by the local population. The
healthcare committee - composed of leading doctors and
healthcare professionals in Salah ad Din - discussed methods
of addressing the problem, such as changing the MoH,s
prohibition on male nursing students and increasing student
pay.

14. (U) For additional reporting from PRT Tikrit, Salah ad
Din, please see our SIPRNET reporting blog:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Tikrit.

KHALILZAD

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