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Cablegate: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - February 26

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #0618/01 0630408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030408Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6008
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000618

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL IZ REL UK
SUBJECT: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - February 26

1. SUMMARY: In the regular weekly meeting, the committee discussed
issues ranging from electricity in Sabi' Al Bor, to Amanat Clean Up
days and a host of issues related to Haifa Street. Despite being a
holiday week, the meeting was well attended. Representatives from
the Ministries of Electricity, Education, Health and Defense were
present, as were representatives from the National Security Advisor
(NSA), Joint Planning Commission (JPC), Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC) and
the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC). The Mayor of Sabi' Al Bor and
Baghdad Deputy Mayor Naiem also attended. END SUMMARY.

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Representatives from Sabi' Al Bor Visit the Services Committee
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2. Members of the Provision of Services Committee visited Sabi' Al
Bor in late November. Since that visit, several committee
recommendations have been implemented to improve services in the
area. However, according to the Mayor, Sabi' Al Bor still has
several problems to overcome.

3. Electricity is not reliable due to cable theft. Dr. Chalabi asked
the Sabi' Al Bor representatives, including the Awakening Council
Chairman, to identify who was stealing the cables and asked what was
being done to stop the illegal activity. The Awakening Council Chair
blamed unemployed men for stealing the cables. He said that 400
Awakening Council members were not enough to provide security in the
area. The BOC asked the Awakening Council to better cooperate with
them by sharing any reports of misconduct. Dr. Chalabi encouraged
the local government to enforce the rule of law. The Awakening
Council Chair noted that four cases are currently being processed
through the judicial system. Dr. Chalabi then offered 5 million
dinars reward for any person caught cutting the electrical cables.
(Note: It is not clear whether Dr. Chalabi was offering his own
money or money from the committee. However, it is our understanding
that the committee does not have a budget. End Note)

4. Additionally, the Mayor presented a formal letter detailing the
water problems in the area. He acknowledged and thanked the Ministry
of Electricity for their efforts to provide electricity to several
pumping stations. However, he claimed that several outlying villages
are not receiving sufficient water due mainly to theft, but
compounded by electricity and fuel shortages and clogged drainage
and irrigation canals. He asked for the committee's attention to
this matter. The second brigade will follow up with both the
electricity and water issues.

5. The Mayor also noted that the health situation has declined over
the last month after a slight improvement resulting from the
Committee's visit in November. The Mayor and Dr. Tahseen al Shekhli
(Fard al-Qanoon spokesperson)both commented that formerly displaced
persons who returned to Sabi' Al Bor recently are again reportedly
leaving the area due to security and insufficient services. The NSA
representative disagreed, noting that security was the "real"
problem and he encouraged the Awakening Council to do more.

6. The Iraqi Red Crescent offered to assist with food ration card
(PDS) distribution in Sabi' Al Bor and other related PDS issues. The
Mayor noted that the local police are handling it. Dr. Chalabi
suggested that the IRC work with the police; however, the IRC
contended that they are not permitted to work with local government
entities under Iraqi law. The Amanat also noted their interest in
establishing municipal offices in Sabi' Al Bor. They asked the Mayor
and Awakening Council Chair to send a list of qualified individuals
to be considered for employment. The list is to contain both Sunni
and Shia names.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Cleaning Up Baghdad
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7. The Amanat has proceeded with a November 20 recommendation to
implement a "clean-up day" to include trash collection and cleaning
sewage and storm drainage canals every first Saturday of the month.
Despite truck shortages, the Amanat would like to add the third
Saturday of every month to the rotation.

8. Deputy Mayor Naeim also discussed the issues delaying the
privatization of cleaning services around the city. He stated that
bids have been received for specialized equipment and trucks, but
the prices are too high. He wants the Prime Minister to authorize
the Amanat to purchase these items.

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Haifa Street Association
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9. A Haifa Street Association representative sought assistance and
support from the committee to address several challenges. According
to the representative, only 20% of current residents are legally
residing in the 1,500+ apartments. The Association wants assistance
in conducting a more thorough survey to determine who the other 80%
are. Dr. Chalabi asked the BOC to send several officers to assist -
the BOC agreed. The NSA representative said that the National
Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Interior maintained a
database of Haifa Street residents. As a result, Dr. Chalabi
requested that the NSA get a copy of the database to compare the
results of the Association's study with that database. Dr. Chalabi
assigned a staff person from his committee and the BOC agreed to
assign several officers to assist in the comparative research.

10. Listing service problems, including limited electrical supply,
no trash pick-up, fire hazards, potable water shortages and poor
sewage treatment, the Association blamed much of this on the
municipal office, a local branch of the Amanat. The Association
claimed that Coalition Forces have provided a significant amount of
funding to rehabilitate Haifa Street and entrusted much of that
money to the municipal office. According to the Association
representative, little improvements have been felt because there is
a significant amount of corruption within the municipal office,
stating that "the Municipal Council members started awarding
contracts on their own, which resulted in a lot of negativities that
have benefited no one except for the contractor and any of the
Municipal Council members who have been collaborating with him."


Crocker

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