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Cablegate: Iesc Meeting April 11

VZCZCXRO0957
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1206 1081803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171803Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6904
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 001206

SIPDIS

SBU
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PINR PINS IZ
SUBJECT: IESC MEETING APRIL 11


1. (SBU) Summary. National Security Advisor (NSA) Muwafak
al-Rubaie chaired the Iraq Executive Steering Committee
(IESC) in support of Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (FAQ) April
11. Discussion focused on services and humanitarian
assistance to Sadr City. Ministry officials reported ongoing
problems traveling through the city and transporting supplies
to needy areas, hampering their efforts. An expected report
on swimming pools did not occur due to the absence of a
representative for the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The
Mayor of Baghdad asked that illegal habitation on government
properties, something he views as a critical issue for the
GOI to tackle, make next week's agenda. End summary.

2. (SBU) NSA Rubaie chaired the meeting in Prime Minister
Maliki's absence. He reviewed the agenda items for the
meeting and said that the PM had made several recommendations
regarding the ongoing situation in Sadr City. The PM
recommended that the government create a consolidated list of
Iraq's "most wanted" in order to publicize the fact that the
GOI was not specifically targeting JAM. A rewards program
for Sadr City residents who turn in information about these
wanted militants, along with a heavy weapons turn-in program,
would be part of a unified media message from the GOI
confirming their stance against all outlaw militias.

3. (SBU) The General Manager of Food Distribution represented
the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and reported on the difficulties
faced in testing food being offloaded from ships in Basra.
(Note: The quality of the products issued by the MoT in the
monthly food ration is a recurrent issue that generates great
passion at IESC meetings. End Note.) Attendees engaged in a
lengthy back-and-forth about whether the residents of Sadr
City would receive "double rations" for the month of April,
or would merely receive their May ration early. The MoT
stood firm on its plan to deliver this 'advance' ration,
despite previous comments from the PM directing them to
deliver "double rations."

4. (SBU) Ahmed Chalabi provided a read-out of his Services
Committee's activities and said that his findings indicated
that Sadr City is not currently facing a fuel crisis. The
Minister of Oil agreed with this assessment.

5. (SBU) The Baghdad Provincial Council Chairman reported
that the presence of ISF and Coalition forces in some GOI
facilities is preventing their operation; he noted some
Ministry of Education facilities. General Abud and MNFI DCG
LtGen Cooper said that any such problems could be worked out
through proper coordination.

6. (SBU) The Ministry of Health was not represented at the
meeting, but Chalabi gave them kudos for the hard work they
have been performing in such difficult circumstances. He
said that ambulances are still having a hard time getting
through checkpoints, and urged that a letter from the PM to
the BOC directing better coordination be re-sent.

7. (SBU) As the meeting was about the adjourn, the Mayor of
Baghdad City asked that the IESC take a look at the issue
that he believes is "ruining" Baghdad ) the extensive amount
of illegal habitation on government lots and in government
properties. This issue cuts across a number of ministries,
and impacts directly on the quality of services provided to
residents, making it an essential topic to address at the
IESC forum. Mayor Saber said that illegal squatters are
costing the GOI "billions of dollars" because they tap into,
corrupt and destroy key pieces of infrastructure in the city.
The problem is compounded by the fact that corrupt and
militia-affiliated officials are forging false deeds and
other documents permitting this illegal habitation in on
government land.

CROCKER

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