Cablegate: Working Dinner with Baghdad Mayor And

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 26, 2005, IRMO Director
Ambassador Daniel Speckhard, MG Robert Heine, BG
O'Neill, Ferris Nesheiwat, LTC William Duddleston met
with the Mayor of Baghdad, Saber Al-Esawi, and
accompanying delegation, Amer Al-Saadi, Deputy Mayor
for Managerial Affairs; Mohammad Amanuel, Deputy Mayor
for Municipalities; and Naeem Ab'oub the Director
General of Sadr City baladia/district, to discuss the
reconstruction efforts and future plans for Baghdad.
The Mayor outlined his immediate priorities and his
long term vision for the city. His immediate concerns
are: 1) fighting corruption, 2) increasing the
efficiency of the Mayoralty of Baghdad ("Amanat"), and
3) solving the solid waste/trash problem in Baghdad.
The Mayor emphasized the importance of close and
continued cooperation between the US Embassy and the
Amanat, and described a mechanism for such
cooperation. He described the financial situation of
the Amanat and its need for support as there is little
coming from independent revenue or from the Interim
Iraqi Government (ITG). He also outlined the Amanat's
efforts to establish contacts and bilateral contacts
with international donors. He considers the next
three months critical for his success as Mayor and
would direct all the Amanat's energies and resources
to accomplishing the three goals outlined above. End

Close And Continued Cooperation Between US Embassy And
The Amanat
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) The Mayor suggested theestablshmen of
join US-Aanat ommitte to e tasked with overseeing
all the reconstruction efforts for the city of
Baghdad, and the planning of any future projects.
Such a committee, he argues, would prevent the current
duplication of efforts by some reconstruction
agencies, streamline the reconstruction process, and
would allow for better supervision and quality control
of the finalized project. The local district and
neighborhood councils, the Mayor emphasized, can be
very effective in selecting projects and monitoring
the progress of the contractors. Alternatively, he
submits, the USG risks not realizing the full
potential of the enormous effort and funds, which he
admits are being expended in the city.

3. (SBU) Director Speckhard asked what the Mayor would
recommend to assure that future reconstruction efforts
be properly credited to the US people and the Mayor
advised that better media coverage and handling is
needed, but equally important is the need to tackle
the immediate issue of trash accumulation and sewer
collapses throughout the city so that the citizens can
fell immediate tangible results.

The Current Financial Situation Of The Amanat

4. (SBU) The Mayor stated that the Amanat has but $12
million for the remainder of the year, which allows
for nothing but payment of salaries and other basic
functions. The current financial situation is not
contusive to any developmental efforts by the Amanat.
He requested the USG help in facilitating the
requisition of funds from the ITG, which he said is
not doing its part to support the city.

5. (SBU) The Mayor described the unique position
Baghdad has as a local government of its own and
responsible for most of the essential services (water,
sewer, solid waste, and roads) for its citizens,
without any assistance from other ministries like the
Ministry of Municipalities and Public Work. Aid
provided to those ministries, therefore, does not
filter down to Baghdad.

6. (SBU) The Mayor urged the USG to consider having a
separate agenda and a dedicated office within the
embassy to exclusively handle the city's
reconstruction and infrastructure planning efforts, as
they are unique to the city and independent from any
such efforts done for the rest of the country. The
Mayor expressed his frustration that even though 25%
of Iraq's population lives in Baghdad, some cities
receive more funds from the ITG than it does.

7. (SBU) He stated that $100 million were allocated to
the city by the Cabinet but were cut in half by the
Ministry of Finance, and the remaining half was
forwarded to the Ministry of Planning, which in turn
used it instead to finance unfinished projects for
other ministries.

8. (SBU) The Amanat is pursuing funding from
international donors to augment the funding it
receives from the USG and the ITG. To that end the
Mayor will be visiting Amman this week to hold
discussions with the World Bank, the Japanese
Government, and the United Nations. He will be
accompanied by Mr. Ferris Nesheiwat, IRMO Amanat
Liaison Officer.

The Road Ahead

9. (SBU) The Mayor indicated his intent to expend all
the resources of the Amanat in the next two months
month to resolve the problems of trash accumulation
and sewer collapses across the city. These two
problems are considered by him to be the most obvious
indication of the failure of the Amanat to deliver
meaningful services to the city's population;
therefore, he is determined to tackle them. He plans
to put the ITG in a situation where it is forced to
recognize the need for additional financing to support
the essential services of the city. The current
situation of maintaining the status quo is not
acceptable by him.

10. (SBU) the City is already taking the initiative in
tackling the issue described in point 8 by taking over
the trash collection and transfer process in the three
of the eleven baladias/districts that comprise
Baghdad. The other eight baladias will continue to be
served by the private contractor hired by the 3ID.
The Mayor requested that the 3ID request the
contractor to move all the resources it will save from
the three baladias to the other eight it still runs so
that better service is provided. The City is to take
over the collection process for the entire city by
March 1, 2006.

11. (SBU) Brigadier General O'Neill, who represented
the 3ID in the meeting, supported the Amanat's move
and expressed belief that the Amanat is the most
qualified entity to handle this issue as it knows the
city best.

12. (SBU) All parties from the US side agreed that the
Amanat should be more involved with the supervision
and monitoring of the reconstruction efforts as it
provides invaluable input through fist hand knowledge
of the city's issues and needs, especially through the
net work of the local district and neighborhood

13. (SBU) The Mayor emphasized that the USG is doing
excellent work and he expressed appreciation for the
efforts of all involved whether as civilians or
uniformed. He requested our continued support and
cooperation, because without it, he will not be
successful in achieving his plans and ideas for the
city of Baghdad.

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