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Cablegate: Dart Northern Iraq Update

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 002136

SIPDIS

STATE ALSO PASS USAID/W
STATE PLEASE REPEAT TO IO COLLECTIVE
STATE FOR PRM/ANE, EUR/SE, NEA/NGA, IO AND SA/PAB
NSC FOR EABRAMS, SMCCORMICK, STAHIR-KHELI, JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/RMT, DCHA/FFP
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, ANE/AA
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA:WGARVELINK, BMCCONNELL, KFARNSWORTH USAID FOR
ANE/AA:WCHAMBERLIN
ROME FOR FODAG
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
DOHA FOR MSHIRLEY
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC AND DART
AMMAN FOR USAID AND DART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT: DART NORTHERN IRAQ UPDATE


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. The situation in northern Iraq remains calm. CMOC and other
sources project that approximately 100,000 IDPs will start
returning from major cities in Kurdish-controlled Iraq to areas
recently controlled by the former regime once the harvest and
school seasons are completed. End Summary.

---------------------
DART VISIT TO MAKHMUR
---------------------

2. The Ministry of Reconstruction and Development (MORAD)
coordinated a visit to communities in southern Arbil Governorate
for DART Field Team North, the Civil Military Operations Center
(CMOC), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and U.N. agencies.
This region, referred to in Arbil as "newly liberated," was under
the control of the former Government of Iraq (GOI).

3. In previous meetings with the humanitarian aid community in
Arbil, the Minister and others in the Kurdish Regional Government
(KRG) promoted a development plan for approximately 40 villages
that were evacuated and destroyed during the past 40 years.
These villages are now being repopulated by Kurdish returnees.

4. The Arabs who were moved into some of these communities by
the GOI have now abandoned the villages, or so it appears. Some
Kurdish internally displaced persons (IDPs) previously residing
in Arbil, have begun returning to their villages. In most cases,
when the Kurdish villages were "Arabized", they were destroyed
and the new Arab villages were built nearby. The Kurds were sent
to collective towns or became IDPs in the Kurdish-controlled
areas. It is important to note that there was a significant
population of Arabs who lived in the region independent of
"Arabization" programs and have remained in their villages.

5. The DART visited the Gwer sub-district of Arbil. Located on
wheat- and barley-covered plains sloping toward Baghdad, the
villages in Gwer are hot, dry, and dusty. Homes are made of mud
and straw, and there are few trees. Public services are minimal.
KRG officials claim that the region was neglected by the former
regime because it was Kurdish, although there are Arab villages
in the region that received support from the GOI.

6. The DART visited several villages in the sub-district. They
all appeared to have small numbers of returnees. In each
village, the DART was informed that more people are preparing to
return when public services are provided. There was a lack of
school-age children in the villages; they will remain in the
towns to finish the school year. Employment seems to center
around animal husbandry and farming. Previous residents planted
the large fields of wheat and barley, and it is unclear who will
harvest the crops.

7. Outside of the larger towns, there is no electricity. Water
is drawn from hand-dug wells or brought in by tanker. Well water
is dirty and saline, and wells appeared to be 15 to 20 meters
deep. There are bore wells in some villages, but the equipment
has been looted. There are health centers in larger villages
that serve surrounding, smaller villages. They are poorly
equipped and staffed. There are medical centers in the Gwer and
Makhmur district seats. Qandil, a Swedish NGO, supports the
health center in Gwer. The Center in Makhmur has been assessed
by several NGOs.

8. The DART met the Minister and the mayor in Makhmur at the
mayor's office. The Minister chaired a short meeting, where the
mayor offered a brief history of the "Arabization" program. He
solicited support from the aid community, recommending that
returnees be given tents and sources of water. The DART
suggested that a comprehensive plan be developed for a more
orderly return.

9. There has also been some concern that while the returns may
be voluntary and without incident, there may be a great deal of
"encouragement" on the part of the KRG to repopulate the area
with Kurds. Furthermore, some Arabs reported that their homes
have been looted by Kurds. Two DART Abuse Prevention Officers
(APOs) will return to Makhmur to investigate these allegations.

---------------------
WFP MEETING IN KIRKUK
---------------------

10. The DART traveled to Kirkuk on 8 May to meet with U.N. World
Food Program (WFP) local staff. WFP staff in Kirkuk believe that
the silos and mills in the governorate are in generally good
condition, and CMOC/Kirkuk personnel believe there are around
130,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat in governorate silos, and a
300,000 MT harvest due in the area next month. WFP also raised
concern about the shortage of fuel needed for farmers to bring
their grain to market next month. CMOC personnel noted that the
Bayji refinery should be repaired and sufficient fuel should be
available in two weeks.

11. WFP/Kirkuk raised the following as the greatest constraints
to stepping up the public distribution system (PDS): 1) Security
of its warehouses (currently guarded by local security
personnel); 2) Replacement of Ministry of Trade (MOT) furniture
and equipment that had been looted. MOT staff in both Mosul and
Kirkuk have secured disks with database information on food
agents and beneficiaries, but the offices have no computers or
other supplies; and 3) Salaries of MOT staff. MOT staff have not
yet received the nationwide USD 20 emergency payment for
government employees, and they are concerned about when they will
receive their salaries.

--------------------
AGRICULTURE MEETINGS
--------------------

12. The DART met with Ministry of Agriculture technical
personnel from the three northern provinces to discuss the major
agricultural needs in the next few months. The biggest concern
was marketing for wheat from last year's crop (50,000 to 100,000
MT) and this year's harvest (approximately 600,000 to 700,000 MT)
starting in the next few weeks. If the farmers are to recoup
their investments, they will need money to pay their costs and
prepare for future crops.
JONES

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