Cablegate: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - April 8

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1. SUMMARY: The first meeting to last over two hours in nearly four
weeks, the April 8 Provision of Services Committee was otherwise
business as usual. The Ministries of Defense, Health, Finance,
Electricity, Trade and Transportation attended. The Amanat was also
present. Services in Sadr City topped the agenda with Dr. Chalabi
complimenting many of the ministries efforts during this crisis. The
committee discussed water with the Karkh Water Treatment Plant
Director and they heard extensively from the Ministry of
Transportation. Several recommendations were made and decisions were

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Services in Sadr City
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2. Dr. Chalabi began the meeting with a discussion on services in
Sadr City. According to the Deputy Minister of Electricity,
currently the only significant electricity problem facing Sadr City
is the downed electrical station in the Jamilya area. Inoperable for
72 hours, repair crews cannot access the site due to security
threats. The Deputy Minister of Electricity also reported that the
Deputy General for the Ministry of Electricity (MoE) in Sadr City
asked for, and received, additional supplies and materials,
including 40 generators. He noted that moving the supplies into the
city was problematic due to traffic congestion and checkpoint
hindrances. Dr. Chalabi will write a letter to the Prime Minister
(PM), praising MoE's endeavors during the current conflict.

3. Checkpoint and traffic delays also posed problems for the
Ministry of Trade. The Deputy Minister of Trade stated that 50,000
bags of flour were held up at two checkpoints outside of Sadr City
since April 3. Chalabi will initiate a memo to the Prime Minister
and the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) urging them to expedite the
passage of Trade's vehicles into Sadr City.

4. The Deputy Minister of Health said that trauma medications were
needed as were food supplies for the hospitals in Sadr City. Not
unlike the ministries of Trade and Electricity, Health noted
checkpoint holdups for medical supplies and ambulances, despite the
Prime Minister's previous order to expedite the latter's movement.
The committee will issue a letter to the BOC and MoH regarding the
ambulance delays. The committee reported that two trucks carrying
medical supplies for Sadr City were being held in Abu Ghraib.
Chalabi requested that the BOC follow up with this issue, too,
although, unusually, no BOC representative was in attendance. In an
attempt to limit vehicular supply movement, the central Ministry of
Health (MoH) authorized greater reserves for the hospitals of Sadr
City. For example, a 400 bed hospital is authorized a reserve supply
sufficient for 500 persons. There is a cash shortage among the
hospitals which is limiting their ability to purchase needed
supplies. This problem is due to irregular and unpredictable banking
hours and altogether closures. As an immediate solution the MoH
reported that they had delivered 50 million Iraqi Dinars in cash to
the hospitals to be used as "reserves" until the banks are
accessible. Dr. Chalabi also intends to issue a letter of
commendation to the MoH and the Russafa Health Center for their
efforts during the Sadr City conflict.

5. The conflict in Sadr City has impacted Baghdad more widely
according to the Deputy Mayor of Baghdad, Mr. Naeim. Trash
collection throughout the city has been slowed and/or halted for
more than 15 days because of the curfews and traffic congestion. He
estimates that less than 50% of trash produced is removed daily as a
result of the current conflict. (Note: The vast majority of the
Amanat's laborers are from Sadr City. End Note) Less than 25% of
laborers are currently showing up for work and approximately only
30% of equipment needed is available. (Note: Again, many of the
laborers are from Sadr City and the equipment is parked/stored
there. End Note) Naeim also complained that public parks and gardens
are being used as ad hoc trash dumps, damaging significant Amanat
investment to beautify those areas. The Deputy Mayor claimed that
military operations have also damaged the parks. Other public
gardens not affected by trash or conflict went uncared for, again
due to labor shortages. The Amanat then suggested deferring the next
scheduled Clean-Up Day (Karrada) until next month because many of
the drivers live in areas where a curfew is in place. Dr. Chalabi
went one step further and will issue a resolution that Clean-Up Day
is postponed until further notice.

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Other Issues: Trade, Water and Civil Aviation
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6. Problems for the Ministry of Trade at the Port of Um Qasr have
been all but eliminated according to the Deputy Minister. She
thanked the Ministry of Transportation for prioritizing Trade's
shipments. However, milk delivery continues to be delayed because
the Ministry is unable to get the milk to testing sites due to fuel
shortages. Dr. Chalabi will send a memo to the Ministry of Oil (MoO)
to inform them that the Ministry of Trade is willing to pay the MoO
directly for an increased monthly allowance of diesel. (Note: In
previous meetings, Dr. Chalabi has championed fuel importation by
the ministries as opposed to "fixed" allocations from the MoO. It is

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not clear if Trade even attempted to import their own diesel. End
Note) Additionally, MNF-I will investigate and report back next week
the U.S. military's interests in some of Trade's warehouses in Taji.
According to the Deputy Minister, the U.S. military seeks to take
over these warehouses for an unknown reason. (Note: MND-B states
that this is an issue between the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry
of Interior (MoI). MoI is requesting transfer of a portion of an
under-used administrative building at Trade's Grain Distribution
Warehouse in Taji for use as a temporary Iraqi police station.
According to MND-B, the MoI's temporary use of a portion of this
under-used facility will have no impact whatsoever on the operation
of the grain facility. End Note)

7. The Director of the Karkh Water Treatment Plant (KWTP) attended
the meeting. He addressed several issues including the Tigris River
water levels, Abu Niwas pumping station, the Mosul Dam and the KWTP.
According to the Director, the river is in desperate need of
dredging because debris in front of the KWTP is preventing raw water
from being drawn and treated to potable water standards. Chalabi
made a resolution for the Amanat and the Ministry of Water Resources
(MoWR) to dredge the river. The Director noted that dredgers were a
premium and that several dredgers belonging to the Amanat were
trapped in Taji because it could not pass a U.S. owned/controlled
floating bridge. They requested that it be taken down to allow the
dredgers to pass up stream. MNF-I agreed to look into it further.
(Note: MND-B has determined that the floating bridge is no longer an
issue. MOWR decided to try to reduce the blockage in front of the
KWTP raw water intake using an on-shore excavator. MND-B also noted
that dredgers have passed this bridge previously under a trestle
bridge that connects to the floating bridge should the on-shore
excavators not resolve the issue; therefore, eliminating the need to
take down the floating bridge. End Note)

8. The Karkh Director complained that the Americans (U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers) did not complete (approximately 60-70% complete)
the Abu Niwas pumping station, resulting in significant
under-utilization, only 200 cubic meters per hour. He said the
Baghdad Water Authority refuses to take over the pumping station
until the work is completed. The Director then discussed the weak
foundation of the Mosul Dam. He noted the low water levels due to
the weak foundation and the persistent power outages there. Finally,
ITAO Operations Director, General Snyder, commented that the Baghdad
Water Authority testing of switch gear for two existing back-up
generators at the Karkh Water treatment plant remained an urgent
issue to complete installation and make back-up power available for
the summer. The committee recommended moving two, 22mw generators to
the treatment plant as an alternative. Chalabi also asked the
Director to deliver a written report on matters discussed.

9. Along with the Deputy Minister of Transportation, the Director
General of Civil Aviation and the Director of the Iraqi Airways
attended the meeting. Their list of issues included problems with
the Amanat, corruption, independent airway assessment and airspace
and airport ownership. The Deputy Minister of Transportation
complained that some Amanat employees were hindering progress.
Chalabi asked the Deputy Mayor to address these problems. The
Ministry also asked the Deputy Mayor for his assistance and
cooperation to clean the main entrance to the Baghdad International
Airport (BIAP). Transportation requested their own buses to run
several routes along Route Irish to BIAP to avoid the current
overcharging of Iraqis utilizing public transportation. The Deputy
Minister mentioned some legal hurdles for the Ministry to accomplish
this, but no solutions were offered.

10. The DG of Civil Aviation requested an audit or assessment of
BIAP, to the tune of 200 million dinars. He maintained that the last
audit was in 1997. Dr. Chalabi told them to write a request to his
committee for the funding. (Note: This is contradictory to our
understanding of Chalabi's committee's capabilities. Until now, they
have been without funding. We are investigating whether or not this
has changed. End Note) The Deputy Minister of Transportation was
also concerned that they needed funding to continue contract
training of air traffic controllers for certification and that
airspace control below 29,000 feet would be re-claimed by the U.S.
if the Iraqis didn't take the proper steps to claim it. (Note: The
issue is a training contract currently being funded by the USG which
terminates soon. The USG does not want airspace control below
29,000. End Note) Chalabi suggests that they write the PM about this
issue. The Ministry also asked that the U.S. turn over hangers at
BIAP to them. The Director of Iraqi Airways pled for funding for
equipment and spare parts. Dr. Chalabi requested a report of their
needs. He also asked the Ministry of Transportation to prepare a
report for next week's meeting detailing their concerns.


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