Cablegate: Mosul Benefits From Mayor's Voluntary Visitor
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
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O 220835Z JUN 08
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7907
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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TAGS: SCUL KPAO PREL PGOV PHUM EAID PINR IZ
SUBJECT: MOSUL BENEFITS FROM MAYOR'S VOLUNTARY VISITOR
PROGRAM TO U.S.
This is a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Ninewa message.
Sensitive but unclassified - please handle accordingly.
1. (SBU) During a short June 2008 debriefing, Zuhair Muhsin
Abdul Aziz Al Aaraji, Mayor of Mosul - one of Iraq's most
strategic cities - reported that his trip to the United
States was extremely beneficial. Mayor Al Aaraji took part
in the US-Arab Cities Forum hosted in May 2008 by the
Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago, and then in a
10-day International Visitor Leadership Voluntary Visitor
Program that took him to Minneapolis and Philadelphia. The
trip was the first time the Mayor had ever left Iraq. The
program focused on critical infrastructure issues that Mosul
must tackle and the Mayor returned to Mosul energized by his
exposure to numerous new ideas.
2. (SBU) Al Aaraji focused his attention on solid waste
management, waste water treatment, and neighborhood
redevelopment. Al Aaraji indicated that Mosul had already
seen direct results from his Voluntary Visitor program.
Shortly after returning, he formed a committee to study solid
waste treatment issues for the city. The committee has
produced a comprehensive solid waste study for the 100 tons
of solid waste produced each day in the city of Mosul. The
comprehensive study has been submitted to the Provincial
Council and includes many ideas that were highlighted during
Mayor Maintains Contact with Interlocutors
3. (SBU) While working on the solid waste management plan, Al
Aaraji indicated that he received guidance from individuals
he met during his 10-day program. He also reported utilizing
information from numerous websites he was provided during the
program. During the initial five days in Chicago at the
US-Arab Cities Forum, Al Aaraji reported meeting many mayors
from all over the Arab world and enjoyed the opportunity to
exchange views. He indicated that he had continued to
correspond with some of the mayors via email.
Many Surprises During Visit
4. (SBU) After being in the United States, Al Aaraji reported
a new understanding of the value of trash segregation and
recycling. He reported exploring creative incentives to
encourage families in Mosul to separate their trash. After
seeing the efficiency of private sector garbage collection in
the United States, Al Aaraji also indicated that he would
like to divide the city of Mosul into sectors. Some sectors
would have private garbage collection and some would be
serviced by the public sector. Al Aaraji thought this
approach would provide incentives for the public sector to
effectively compete against the private sector and
potentially improve the quality of service. Based on
information he received in the United States, he also
reported an interest in developing an educational campaign to
teach people how to recycle and the benefits associated with
proper usage of collection and transfer stations.
5. (SBU) Al Aaraji indicated that he was most surprised by
the great care that cities take to ensure that their water
treatment process meets high standards. He was surprised
that the cities didn't dump their waste water into the river
for the next city to deal with on their own. He has given
information he received from water treatment facilities to
the Mosul Water Department to improve the water treatment
capabilities of the city.
6. (SBU) Al Aaraji said that everything ran exactly as it was
stated in the program book and he was surprised to find the
same well organized systems in every sector of US society.
He noticed the well organized systems of planning,
implementation, mentoring, and auditing and, as Mosul
recovers from the war's devastation, he will attempt to
replicate some of the same organizational systems.
7. (SBU) This was the first opportunity for Al Aaraji to
travel outside of Iraq. PRT Ninewa congratulates the Bureau
of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on the excellent
organization and the high-quality program. The program was a
tremendous success and showed many positive aspects of
American society. We will continue to work with the Mayor to
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encourage the excitement and attitude he brought out of the
program. Since Mosul Reconstruction is one of Iraq's highest
priorities, the Mayor's travel to the United States could not
have come at a more opportune time.