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Cablegate: Karada and Council Bluffs - Sister Cities

VZCZCXRO8144
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3555/01 3151459
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101459Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0300
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003555

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SCUL IZ
SUBJECT: KARADA AND COUNCIL BLUFFS - SISTER CITIES

BAGHDAD 00003555 001.6 OF 002

1. Summary: A new sister-city partnership between Council
Bluffs, Iowa and the Karada district of Baghdad promises to
be a foundation for cooperation between the two cities.
Leaders from Council Bluffs and the Karada District Council,
joined up by videoconference on October 28, committed
themselves to cooperation in fields as diverse as education,
health, business, and municipal governance. Baghdad EPRT-2
and Baghdad PRT will build on this first step through a
series of programs designed to take advantage of resources in
the Council Bluffs region and to build stronger
people-to-people relations between the two cities. End
summary.
2. The leaders of Baghdad,s Karada district and of Council
Bluffs, Iowa launched a sister-city partnership on October 28
that both sides (and we) intend to be the foundation for
future cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between the
two cities. In a virtual signing ceremony via digital
video-conference, the Karada district council, chaired by Dr.
Mohammed al-Rubeiy, and the Council Bluffs city council, led
by Mayor Thomas Hanafan, introduced themselves and briefly
discussed some of the differences in local governance between
the two entities. Chairman Mohammed expressed his
appreciation and enthusiasm for the agreement, saying Karada
stood to benefit greatly from working with Council Bluffs.
Mayor Hanafan, who was joined by members of the
well-established Council Bluffs Sister City organization,
said Council Bluffs' citizens understood the importance of
reaching out to Iraqis and affirmed his city,s commitment to
build a substantive relationship that would benefit residents
of both cities. Baghdad EPRT-2 Team Leader Tribble expressed
appreciation to the Council Bluffs community leaders
involved, outlined some of the activities that the
partnership would make possible, and urged leaders on both
sides to make of it something substantive and useful to
citizens on both sides. At the end of the 90-minute
discussion, Chairman Mohammed and Mayor Hanafan signed
matching English and Arabic-language copies of a &Friendship
Agreement8 (full text below). Local Iowa press covered the
event (several Iraqi media representatives were invited but
did not attend). Embassy Baghdad Public Affairs issued a
press release about the event, resulting in some interest in
follow up stories stories by Iraq-based media.
3. The launch of the Karada-Council Bluffs partnership is a
first step in what we hope will become a vibrant dialogue
between the two cities. Baghdad EPRT-2 is organizing a
privately-funded visit to Council Bluffs by a cross-section
of Karada community leaders: district council, municipality,
business, higher education, and NGOs. The idea is to bring
them to Iowa in the spring of 2009 for a series of meetings
corresponding to their different interests. District council
leaders will focus on municipal government and citizen
participation, for example, while Karada business leaders
will meet with Chamber of Commerce and other organizations to
learn how to organize the private sector for advocacy.
Representatives of the University of Baghdad and 2-3 other
educational institutes in Karada will spend time at the
College of St. Mary,s in Elk Horn, Iowa, while the head of
the Baghdad Dental School will sit down with professors at
Creighton University. These plans may change, of course, but
our goal is to provide an opportunity for leaders in specific
sectors to build strong people-to-people relationships that
will lead to more concrete cooperation once the Iraqis return
home. To help ensure that this happens, we are looking to
use QRF funds to help some of these institutions acquire
video-conferencing capabilities, and we will use the
facilities at Baghdad PRT to hold preparatory discussions in
the months leading up to the trip.
4. Primary credit for this initiative goes to LTC Rick Burns,
a civil affairs officer in the 4th BCT, 10th Mountain
Division, the brigade in which Baghdad EPRT-2 is embedded.
LTC Burns, a resident of Iowa, worked hard over several
months to put the partnership together, building support back
home through his personal connections and working closely
with EPRT-2 to line up projects as follow-up. He is
returning home to Iowa in November and we will continue to
work with him to put "meat on the bones" of the partnership.
5. The Karada-Council Bluffs partnership was established
under the umbrella of the formal Sister City relationship set
up in 2004 between Baghdad Province and the Denver Regional
Council of Governments (DRCOG). The Baghdad-Denver
connection has seen a series of exchanges since then (see
http://www.drcog.org/). Karada Chairman Mohammed and other
Baghdad leaders visited Denver in April 2005 in one such
program. In planning for the spring 2009 trip, we are also
working with DRCOG to put together a program for the Karada
delegation in Denver that would immediately follow the Iowa
stay.
6. Comment: The Karada-Council Bluffs partnership is an
excellent example of civil-military cooperation on the U.S.
side ) in this case, EPRT working closely with Brigade Civil
Affairs units. More importantly, it offers a framework for
building something that will last after the U.S.

BAGHDAD 00003555 002.3 OF 002


civil/military presence is no longer so visible and active at
the local level. Our message to Karada,s leaders is that
they need to be active in taking advantage of the resources
being offered to them. We will set them up for success
through initial steps and the provision of some basic
infrastructure (e.g. video-conferencing open for use by
Karada organizations at the Karada district council building
and at one or more educational institutions). The substance
of the partnership, however, will need to be developed by
them and by the citizens and leaders of Council Bluffs. End
comment.
7. Full text of Karada-Council Bluffs agreement:
AGREEMENT OF FRIENDSHIP
Whereas, to the people of Karadah, Baghdad, Iraq, the City of
Council Bluffs, Iowa, agrees to promote and carry out
projects of interest to help the people of Karadah establish
their own governing bodies, learning better ideas of
progressing their city and enabling them to become more
proficient in medical and dental programs to the benefit of
their citizens; and
Whereas, these ideas are based on mutual benefit and equality
between the two parties.
Now, therefore, this Agreement should form a relationship of
mutual trust between the two entities.
In recognition of the need to diminish differences between
people of all lands, we do sign this Agreement of Friendship.
The foregoing instrument is acknowledged before us, on behalf
of our two communities on this 28th day of October, 2008, in
the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa by Thomas P. Hanafan, Mayor
(U.S. City) and Dr. Mohammed al-Rubeiy for the City of
Karadah, Baghdad, Iraq.
8. Text of Council Bluffs resolution:
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO SIGN AN AGREEMENT OF
FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE CITY OF COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA, AND THE
PROVINCE OF KARADAH, BAGHDAD, IRAQ.
WHEREAS, the cities of Council Bluffs and Karadah wish to
enter into an agreement to foster goodwill between the two
cities; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the City of Council
Bluffs to enter into an Agreement of Friendship with this
city in Iraq.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE
CITY OF COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
That the Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to sign the
Agreement of Friendship between Council Bluffs and Karadah,
Baghdad, Iraq.
End text.

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