Cablegate: Turkey-Iraq: Way Forward On Sustainment

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

REF: (A) ANKARA 6952, (B) ANKARA 6870, (C) ADANA 205

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please Handle Accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post and EUCOM/DESC are prepared to
work with Turkish authorities to explore short/medium
term options that could improve predictability and
consistency of fuel product flow across the border.
These include staging sustainment trucks on the Turkish
side of the border before they cross Habur and building a
short pipeline to carry sustainment fuel across the
border. These measures would not address the longer-term
issue of the inadequacy of the existing infrastructure to
support greater trade between Iraq and the rest of the
world, which Post would support re-engaging on
trilaterally, after the formation of a new Iraqi
government. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Embassy, Consulate Adana, ODC, EUCOM, and DESC
(Defense Energy Support Center) participated in a
December 1 Habur Gate inspection and fuels meeting at the
Turkey-Iraq border. Representatives of Coalition COSCOM
and CENTCOM called for increased predictability and
consistency of sustainment tanker flow (averaging 45 per
day per current requirement, but subject to volatility
due to SOMO ebb and flow and other external factors).
Building on Ref A (Habur Gate - Where Do We Go From
Here?) recommendations, Post proposes the following

Short-Term - Consider Staging Ideas

3. (SBU) Consulate Adana and ODC will seek to make a
January call on the Sirnak Governor for informal inquiry
and fact-finding whether there would be scope for the
U.S. military to use a Turkish contractor to organize
staging of sustainment vehicles (including non-fuel) in
the new Silopi parking yard. The unpaved 5000-truck
capacity parking yard is now being used as an extension
of the waiting queue. (U.S. use of a portion of the
facility - with or without improvement - could allow re-
prioritization among sustainment trucks, but any
perception of preferential treatment for sustainment
trucks in crossing the border on an expedited basis would
have negative consequences.) Alternatively, the U.S.
could consider creating a stand-alone yard facility
further west of Silopi, which might offer the opportunity
to stage and insert batches of trucks into the queue.
(Note: the GOT does not allow convoying of fuel tankers
from the Adana CoCo loading facility to the border.)

4. (SBU) DESC will also engage with its contractors
(Petrol Ofisi and SHG/Kizil Group) to establish
mechanisms for communicating more information on tanker
location in an attempt to gain greater predictability and
consistency. (DESC had used a contractor in the past to
attempt to accomplish similar goals, but with
unsatisfactory results.)

--------------------------------------------- ----
Move Away from Reliance on Habur - Use a Pipeline
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) As an intermediate step for weaning our
reliance from the single Habur Gate, DESC will develop a
complete proposal for using a pipeline, thereby avoiding
the border crossing to meet its fuel requirements. This
could either be an independent facility or in
collaboration with the TPIC unloading facility and
pipeline, substantially complete on the Turkish side (but
awaiting completion of the SOMO partner facility on the
Iraqi side). TPIC is a subsidiary of Turkish State Oil
Company TPAO. Its facility and short pipeline adjacent
to Habur Gate will have a capacity equivalent to about 60
tankers equivalent per day. If DESC decides to seriously
pursue this course, Embassies Ankara and Baghdad would
have to undertake formal communication with the GOT and
GOI, respectively.

Someday a Second Gate

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Mission Turkey understands how
important northern GLOC is to the success of our mission
in Iraq; support for this mission is our top priority.
As a result, we counsel that short term steps identified
may not be successful for a variety of reasons. Use of
the parking yard at Silopi may not be available to us for
practical, economic, or political reasons. Changing
status quo with Turkish Customs may be risky and cause
unanticipated knock-on problems, which could increase --
rather than decrease -- volatility or uncertainty. Any
perception of preferential treatment for sustainment
drivers (already paid higher wages than those driving for
SOMO) could elicit strikes or violence among the frazzled
drivers. We encourage all parties supporting coalition
sustainment to do careful cost/benefit analysis for
options, to include considering that staging on the Iraq
side of Habur Gate (status quo) may be the best option.

7. (SBU) Any new observer to the situation at Habur
Gate cannot fail to be struck by the inefficiency and
risk of reliance on a single congested border gate for
sustainment fuel and growing bilateral trade. From any
security, economic, and environmental perspective, lining
up thousands of trucks on each side of the border does
not make sense. The incremental measures proposed above
are not a long-term solution, which in our view requires
Iraqi-Turkish-U.S. political engagement to let the
economics carry the day for a second border gate (Ref A).
Another subject that could be addressed tri-laterally is
improving payments and communications between SOMO and
its Turkish suppliers (Ref B) to encourage more timely
payment of arrears. SOMO arrears are again mounting to
the next crisis point where suppliers will again cease


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