Cablegate: Czech Contributions to Iraq
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL
RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK
DE RUEHPG #1543/01 3560827
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220827Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8388
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0069
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRAGUE 001543
EUR/NCE FOR ERIC FICHTE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID MASS IZ EZ
SUBJECT: CZECH CONTRIBUTIONS TO IRAQ
REF: A. PRAGUE 1487
B. PRAGUE 1466
C. PRAGUE 1401
1. Summary. This is the first in a series of cables
summarizing significant Czech contributions (military,
security, democracy promotion, development assistance, and
humanitarian aid) in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The
Czech Republic has maintained troops in Iraq since 2003 and
provided training for over 12,000 Iraqi police and security
personnel. The Czechs have provided civic training to Iraqi
NGOs, journalists, and government officials. They have
donated $9 million in reconstruction assistance, $5 million
on humanitarian assistance, $2 million for cultural
preservation projects. They have forgiven 80% of Iraqi
sovereign external debt owed to the Czech Republic. The Czech
Republic spent approximately $93 million to benefit the
people of Iraq through 2005. Although final 2006 figures are
not yet available, Embassy contacts estimate the Czechs spent
an additional $13 million this year. End summary.
2. The Czech Republic's support for democracy and human
rights is a core principle of Czech foreign policy, and an
enduring legacy of the Czech Republic's forty-year struggle
against communism. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the
Czech Republic has proven itself a reliable U.S. ally in
these areas, as well as an important partner in NATO and
GWOT, a like-minded ally in the United Nations, and a strong
promoter within the EU of the transatlantic relationship.
3. The Czech Republic is an original coalition member of
Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was at one time the fourth
largest contributor of troops to Iraq. Starting in September
2002, the Czechs were the primary contributor to a 400
member nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) defense contingent.
That mission was followed in 2003 by the six-month deployment
of a 526-person Czech field hospital that treated more than
10,000 coalition forces and Iraqi citizens in the Basra area.
4. From December 2003 to December 2006, the Czech Army
deployed approximately 100 military police in Basra to train
Iraqi security forces. In December 2006, in coordination with
the British, the Czech military police concluded this mission
and relocated to a base near the Basra airport to assume new
duties, which will largely involved force protection. The
Czech Commander of the 10th MP Contingent estimates that
Czech forces in Basra have trained 12,000 Iraqi police and
security forces since 2003.
5. In addition, the Czechs have participated in the
Multinational Security Transition Command (MNSTC-I) and NATO
Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) to help create security
structures in Iraq. They sent six military police trainers to
the NATO facility at Ar Rustamiyah in Baghdad and contributed
$200,000 to the Trust Fund to support this mission. The
Czechs also contributed nine police trainers to the Jordan
International Police Training Center (JIPTC) in Jordan, which
also provides training for Iraqi police; they will not
participate in JIPTC in 2007.
6. The Czech parliament recently extended the troop mandate
for Iraq through 2007, maintaining the 100-man ceiling that
has been in place for three years (refs A-B).
7. The Czechs have taught the best practices of their
successful transition experience to members of Iraqi civil
society. Examples include:
-- In 2003, the Czech government sent nineteen experts to CPA
Baghdad to consult on transition issues, such as banking,
trade and investment, engineering, water and energy policy,
and infrastructure planning.
-- In 2004, the Czech government provided police equipment
and training for diplomats, doctors, economists, and
PRAGUE 00001543 002 OF 002
-- In 2005, the Czech government helped Iraqi citizens living
in the Czech Republic vote in the Iraqi elections by
transporting them to Berlin.
-- In 2005-2006, with financial support from the Czech MFA,
Czech NGO People in Need has provided training for Iraqi
NGOs, journalists, and government officials at the Democracy
and Transition Center in Jordan.
-- In 2004-2006, in cooperation with Prague-based Central
European and Eurasian Law Institute (CEELI), the Czechs
provided legal training for 200 Iraqi judges.
-- In 2006, the Czech government, in cooperation with the
International Organization for Migration (IOM), provided
training in Prague on immigration, border control, and
airport security to 45 Iraqi interior ministry officials.
-- The Czechs have provided financial support for ten Iraqi
students pursuing a Ph.D program in economics in Prague at
the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education
Reconstruction & Development
8. The Czechs also help reconstruction efforts in Iraq by
donating funds, providing debt relief, and encouraging
private foreign investment. Specifically, the Czechs have:
-- Spent $9 million on Iraqi reconstruction.
-- Forgiven 80% of Iraqi sovereign external debt owed to the
Czech Republic. According to the MFA, the first 60% ($171
million) has already been forgiven, and the remaining 20%
($57 million) will be forgiven in 2008-2009 pursuant to the
IMF program. (Note: the Czechs have resisted forgiving the
remaining 20%, which was for military purchases, because they
do not want to set a precedent. Ref C.)
-- Spent $20.8 million between 2003-2005 to encourage private
Czech companies to do business in Iraq (e.g., by providing
feasibility studies). One notable success: a Czech
engineering firm won a $40 million tender in November 2006 to
rebuild the Iraqi Midland Refineries.
9. The Czechs are committed to long-term humanitarian aid in
Iraq, having spent over $5 million on such efforts since
2003. The Czechs have operated a medevac program since 2003
that has brought 38 Iraqi children to Prague and provided
life-saving cardiac surgery and convalescent care for them
(and material support for their accompanying family members).
In 2005, to supplement the efficacy of the medevac program,
the Czechs founded a pediatric cardiac center at a hospital
in Basra, and donated equipment and provided training to
Iraqi doctors working there.
10. The Czechs have spent more than $2 million on preserving
Iraqi cultural heritage. In one notable example, the Czechs
spent $330,000 on the restoration of manuscripts in the
National Library of Baghdad. They also contributed $100,000
to restore the Kurdish Citadel in Urdil. Finally, the Czechs
donated arms and ammunition to Iraqi security forces to guard
national heritage sites.