Cablegate: Prt Basrah: Lessons Learned: June 2006 - June 2007
RR RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHBC #0054/01 1731730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221730Z JUN 07
FM REO BASRAH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0559
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0141
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEPGAB/MNF-I C2X BAGHDAD IZ
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0033
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0002
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0010
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHBC/REO BASRAH 0586
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BASRAH 000054
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV IZ UK
SUBJECT: PRT BASRAH: LESSONS LEARNED: JUNE 2006 - JUNE 2007
BASRAH 00000054 001.2 OF 003
1. The Basrah Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is a
multinational PRT under British direction. This cable records
the observations and lessons learned by the U.S. deputy team
leader, James Donegan, during his deployment period, June 2006
to June 2007. It is being recorded in this informal,
unclassified manner in order to allow maximum distribution among
the various Coalition partners who contributed to the team's
financial and personnel resources. It is important to note that
the paper is not to be read as U.S. policy. It represents the
deputy team leader's individual observations.
2. SUMMARY OF MAIN OBSERVATIONS
-- All members of the PRT, whether from government agencies or
employed through contractors, should have the same terms of
employment and reporting chain.
-- The Basrah PRT team leader should be assigned from HMG's
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
-- The PRT should take the lead in developing a strategy for
transitioning control of projects and programs to organizations
that will potentially have a longer term presence in the
-- We should think creatively about ways to leverage our
reconstruction and capacity building programs in the province to
support the "empower the moderates" efforts ongoing countrywide.
The Basrah PRT was established on 9 April 2006 and reached full
operating capacity on 17 July 2006. It is a British-led,
multinational team and has included members from the United
Kingdom, the United States, Denmark, Australia, and Canada, as
well as locally engaged Iraqi staff. The PRT was originally
structured with a UK team leader and three deputies, one each
from the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom, who
coordinated the governance, rule of law, economic and
infrastructure work streams. The original organization chart
had a structure of 38 individuals plus local staff spread across
the streams, although in reality the team never reached more
than 25, plus locals.
Staffing and management of personnel issues presented
significant operational challenges during the deployment period.
The multinational nature of the PRT and the percentage of
contractors from various sources meant that there were numerous
arrangements regarding leave and conditions of assignment with
which PRT management had to grapple when trying to provide
coverage and continuity for the various work streams. At times,
staff members would be tasked by their respective home agencies,
and in some cases lifted from theater or have leaves extended,
to perform tasks unrelated to PRT business.
Recommendation -- All members of the PRT, whether from
government agencies or employed through contractors, should have
the same leave conditions. (Note: Most of the PRT members are
assigned by the FCO which provides two weeks of leave for every
six weeks worked. End note.) As a condition of joining the
team, it should be recognized that during the deployment period,
members should be seconded to the PRT and report through the
chain to the team leader. Sending organizations should not
remove members for other duties during the deployment period.
The team was originally located at the Basrah Palace Compound
with the U.S. Regional Embassy Office and British Embassy
Office. Due to the increase in volume and accuracy of indirect
rocket and mortar fire, the team was forced to relocate to the
Basrah Air Station, or the Contingency Operating Base (COB), as
it is now known, in November 2006. The team established a
satellite office in Kuwait while accommodations were prepared at
the COB. Due to limited space at the COB, the team had to
downsize to approximately 18 members, and has restructured the
hierarchy to a team leader, a deputy team leader and three
coordinators for the work streams. Strategic Communications has
recently been added as the fifth work stream.
Originally, the team was structured with a team leader who was
contracted by HMG's Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit. While
the individual was an outstanding leader and brought significant
experience in southern Iraq to the position, his lack of a
direct tie to the government structures in London at times left
the PRT out of the loop on certain issues, particularly in
regard to long-term comprehensive policy-making decisions. The
BASRAH 00000054 002.2 OF 003
current team leader is "double-hatted" as deputy consul general
in the British Regional Embassy Office. This has given the PRT
a direct link to the UK policy and decision-making apparatus,
both in Iraq and London, and has served to make the PRT an
essential component of the "comprehensive approach." It also
more closely reflects PRT configurations throughout the rest of
the country, where State Department Foreign Service officers
fill the team leader positions.
Recommendation -- The Basrah PRT team leader should be assigned
from the British FCO. The current "double-hatted" configuration
is working well, but should the PRT grow substantially (unlikely
given the move toward Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC)),
consideration should be given to the option of an FCO officer
being assigned full time to the PRT.
5. PROGRAM PROGRESS
Despite the inevitable loss of momentum linked to the relocation
and the inherent inefficiencies related to the security
environment, particularly the inability to meet with Iraqi
interlocutors in town, the PRT has made progress in furthering
its main objectives, which include:
-- Preparing for the application of the rule of law;
-- A detailed provincial development strategy;
-- Developing the basis for functioning self-administration,
especially in financial systems and managing public works; and
-- Creating the foundation for private sector-led economic
growth, by stimulating key components, coordinating
labor-intensive infrastructure programs, and removing barriers
to trade and development.
In specific work streams, over the past year, the PRT has
successfully implemented the following:
A. Governance - Institutional Reform
-- Development of an effective model for donor engagement with
machinery of government, adopted by the Provincial Council (PC).
-- Mentored four provinces to create provincial development
strategies (seen as best practices by Ministry).
-- Focused the PC development budget for 2006 on core activities
and provision of essential services.
-- Supported the PC's development plans for 2007 spending.
-- Used Economic Support Funds (ESF) to further build capacities
of PC, Provincial Reconstruction and Development Committee
(PRDC) and Sector Working Groups.
B. Economic Development
-- Facilitated a visit by representatives of 10,000 farm
cooperatives to Kuwait to lobby for the easing of trade barriers.
-- Established several business organizations to promote private
sector development and compiled the Business Investment Guide
-- Provided support for restructuring two state-owned
enterprises, fertilizer and petrochemical plants.
C. Infrastructure and Public Works
-- Compiled the database of donor programs for 2007 in Basrah
-- Developed the concept and achieved buy-in by the PRDC for the
Basrah Public Works Initiative.
D. Rule of Law
-- Secured funding for Basrah Central Courthouse and Basrah
-- Developed a "Human Rights Passport" designed to give law
enforcement officials portable access to HR standards.
-- Delivered legal, forensic and human rights training to judges
BASRAH 00000054 003.2 OF 003
As the province moves toward PIC and the subsequent drawdown of
military and PRT assets, it will be important to address
protection of the many gains we have made with the PC and other
public and private institutions. Part of the "Better Basra"
review process should include a strategy for transitioning
responsibilities for the programs and projects listed above to
institutions that will have a long-term presence in the
province, such as USAID, UNDP, and NGOs currently operating out
of country but poised to return once the security environment
Recommendation -- Upcoming milestones (the handover of Basrah
Palace and/or PIC) should trigger a comprehensive review of
"Better Basra" and its associated programs and benchmarks. An
additional section should be added to map out a strategy for
transitioning control of projects and programs to organizations
that will potentially have a longer presence in the province,
such as UNDP.
The international community dedicates significant financial
resources to reconstruction and capacity building efforts in
Basrah. Recent experience has shown that the governor and
provincial council will engage with U.S. and UK representatives
in the province as it suits them, often choosing to disengage if
they perceive it to be politically expedient.
Recommendation -- We should think creatively about ways to
leverage our reconstruction and capacity building efforts, as
well as ESF, for the province to support the "empower the
moderates" efforts ongoing countrywide.
Looking forward, there are a number of challenges to the success
of the PRT programs, which will have to be considered and, where
-- Accessing Iraqis and Iraqi institutions: We currently do not
travel to town due to the security environment, but our
interaction with Iraqi interlocutors using facilities at the
commercial airport has proved quite successful.
-- IDF: Increasing accuracy and volume. We will have to
monitor closely the impact of IDF at the COB when turning over
the Basrah Palace to the Iraqis in August.
-- Intimidation of local staff: We will have to balance the
requirement to obtain information on the local environment with
the need to keep staff safe.
-- GOI national versus provincial strategies: We must continue
to work to narrow the gap in provincial-central government
coordination and communication.