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Cablegate: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - January 22

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DE RUEHGB #0183/01 0240912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240912Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5341
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000183

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL IZ REL UK
SUBJECT: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - January 22


1. SUMMARY: Attendance was high at the January 22 meeting of the
Baghdad Services Committee, both from the Government of Iraq (GoI)
and USG sides. The Baghdad Deputy Mayor started the meeting,
emphasizing the need for better service project coordination between
the Amanat and the USG. The Joint Planning Commission (JPC) Chairman
outlined what he believed to be shortcomings in the USG contracting
process. As a result, a special JPC session will be dedicated to
this issue. Trash, sewerage, fuel and PHCs also topped the agenda.
The committee concluded the meeting by reviewing previous
recommendations charged to the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) and
a review of recommendations for service improvements in Abu Ghraib.
END SUMMARY.

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This Week's Recommendations
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2. After a critical discussion regarding USG contracting procedures
it was decided that at an upcoming JPC meeting, the committee would
discuss USG contracting procedures, including selection, payment,
oversight and coordination with GoI entities, particularly the
Amanat. A National Security Advisor representative, Mr. Sayid,
recommended that an official link between the JPC and the GoI,
possibly even the Provision of Services Committee, be created. Dr.
Chalabi noted that he does send a representative to the JPC, but
Sayid still pressed for an executive order from the Prime Minister
or the Council of Representatives, as well as a stronger connection
with the Services Committee. (Note: Sayid had previously said that
the Chairman of the JPC, a technocrat from former Deputy Prime
Minister Zobai's office, should no longer be Chairmen, because he is
not "technically" part of the government. End Note)

3. ITAO Director too issue with the general description of U.S.
efforts and suggested that the specific issues be raised in
appropriate for a. He then noted that Primary Health Centers (PHCs)
staffing shortages are a concern. He suggested investigating the
possibilities of health care workers from outside of Iraq operating
PHCs for the MoH. These organizations could hire, on a short-term
basis, Iraqi physicians and other health care staff that previously
fled the country. (Note: Physicians and other health related
professionals were targeted by various malignant actors which
resulted in a sizeable exodus. End Note) After a fixed period of
time, they could then be eligible to be hired by the MoH. Dr. Adel,
the Inspector General (IG) of Health, strongly opposed "handing
over" any PHCs to NGOs. He maintained that the MoH is actively
working on a recruitment plan that will address staffing shortages.
Chalabi intervened to note that the GoI is indeed considering
alternatives to PHC staffing.

4. Other decisions reached at the meeting were to focus on sewerage
problems in the Husseiniya area at the next Provision of Services
Committee meeting. Also at the next meeting, the Amanat is to
provide further information on transferring garbage collection
responsibilities to the private sector. In the meantime, the
Committee will send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation to
seek opportunities to rent their trucks for garbage collection.
Additionally, the Amanat is to provide a list of streets blocked by
t-walls or other security related measures that are ready to be
opened. Related to traffic problems, the Amanat raised the issue of
unlicensed street vendors which also causes traffic. Chalabi
directed the Amanat to conduct a study to determine who these
vendors were, whether they can be re-employed or moved to a
different area, etc. The report should be delivered at next week's
meeting.

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A Closer Look at the Discussions: USG Contracting Process under
Fire
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5. Deputy Mayor Naiem highlighted an April 2006 agreement between
the Amanat, the Baghdad PRT and the JPC that requires all projects
related to the Amanat to be coordinated with the JPC and the Amanat.
He believed that agreement had been breached numerous times. As
such, the Provincial Council (PC) asked that future projects be held
until projects could be coordinated and contractor selection could
be reviewed. Naiem criticized USG projects, saying that they were
small and not strategic. ITAO Director objected on factual grounds.


6. Chairman of the Joint Planning Commission, Mr. Riyadh Filaheh
said that the US is only partly to blame. He criticized the USG
contracting process, particularly highlighting the inadequate
contractor standards, the method of up front payment and the use of
too many subcontractors. He suggested that contractor selection be
coordinated with the Ministry of Planning (MoPDC) and that all
projects be better coordinated with local councils.

7. The Health IG chimed in, noting that the USG pays "exorbitantly"
more for PHC construction than the GoI would under the same
circumstance. He claimed that the USG was paying $1 million for each
PHC. Deputy ITAO Director, General Snyder, reminded the committee
that there are three different types of PHCs that the USG is

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building which vary in cost - the most expensive is approximately
$1million. The IG also complained that by the time the MoH actually
received the PHCs and medical equipment, the warranties were
expired. The USG noted this was a problem.

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JPC: Best Forum to Address USG Contract/or Issues
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8. General Snyder suggested that these contract/or issues, as well
as coordination conversations happen at the JPC. He also mentioned
that the USG was aware of only a small percentage of quality control
issues or incomplete projects and that ministries and other
officials needed to be involved and call out attention to those
specific issues. Chalabi agreed and noted that improved dialogue
with the USG and amongst the various GoI actors would provide
noticeable improvements in local service delivery.

9. NSA representative, Sayid, piggy-backed on the JPC discussion,
noting that there is no real affiliation between the JPC and the
GoI. He emphasized that the link be official through an executive
order by the Prime Minister or the Council of Representatives (COR).
He also suggested a stronger connection between the JPC and the
Provision of Services Committee. (Note: It is not clear if Sayid
meant a separate affiliation with Chalabi's Committee and the GoI or
if he saw them as one in the same. End Note) JPC Chairman responded
noting that the JPC was slated to be an Iraqi institution last
December, but it was the Iraqis who were not ready. Riyadh also took
this time to encourage greater ministry participation in the JPC. He
noted the regular absence of the MoH and the Ministry of Oil (MoO).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Chalabi Wants to Address Sewerage in Husseiniya
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10. Dr. Chalabi commenced the next part of the meeting by expressing
serious concerns for the sewerage in Husseiniya. He stated that more
than 50,000 Iraqis are suffering because the treatment plant is not
working. He understood that there was some disagreement between the
USG and the GoI regarding the location of the plant. MG Snyder
stated that the US completed a master plan last fall, but did not
have enough funding to complete the project. He confirmed that there
was some disagreement about the location. Dr. Chalabi suggested that
this issue be further explored at the next meeting.

- - - - - - -
Amanat Up Next
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11. The Amanat addressed garbage collection, stating that they are
working to transfer this responsibility to the private sector.
Authorizing drivers continues to be an obstacle. Vehicle shortages
also exacerbate the problem, but the committee decided that renting
trucks from the Ministry of Transportation (MoTrans) may be a
short-term, viable solution. A memo will be sent to the MoTrans. A
Council of Representatives member cited a successful Japanese
program that awarded local Iraqis monetarily per each bag of garbage
they properly disposed of. This idea seemed to gain little to no
traction.

12. The Deputy Mayor also complained about the traffic problems
resulting from illegal street vendors. He said there is a current
campaign underway to address the problem. The Amanat offered a
building to these vendors, but few accepted the offer. A discussion
then ensued regarding the background of these vendors, whether they
were re-employable, or whether they were good candidates for
training programs. The committee did agree that it was not possible
to simply remove them without alternative employment opportunities.
Chalabi recommended that a study be conducted to determine who these
vendors were and then solutions be offered based upon those results.


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Previous Recommendations Reviewed
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13. The BOC was in attendance and Dr. Chalabi seized the opportunity
to review previous recommendations that fell in their scope of
responsibility. One checkpoint has been established between Adnon
Square and the Adimiyah Bridge. The BOC reported that the second
requested checkpoint was not possible at this time. A new battalion
has been created for the Rashidiyah area. It will be associated with
the 5th ID.

14. The Director of the Abu Ghraib Hospital and the District
Director for Abu Ghraib attended the meeting. They asked the BOC to
reconsider moving a particular checkpoint that they claim is
preventing the local people from getting their ration of fertilizer.
The BOC maintained that it was not possible, but Dr. Chalabi asked
them to reconsider. The Abu Ghraib representatives also asked the
BOC to reconsider the location of a check point that is currently
within a market. The BOC representative countered that the
checkpoint was not in the market, but just before it and that it was

BAGHDAD 00000183 003.2 OF 003


necessary.

15. The Abu Ghraib representatives did not have any better luck with
the Health IG. They claimed to be treating more than at least two
times the bed capacity per day at their hospital and as such
requested another hospital. The IG said that in the short-term, a
new hospital was not possible, but a new hospital for the long-term
may be possible. The reps then asked that a PHC be converted into a
hospital, but again the IG said that was not possible due to
structural design. The representatives did not stop there and
pleaded for an additional floor or expansion to the existing
hospital. The IG dismissed this idea and told them to visit the MoH
with these issues as opposed to raising them at the Provision of
Services Committee meeting. The representatives then detailed
staffing shortages, but the committee meeting quickly adjourned
before the issue could be further addressed.

Crocker

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