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Cablegate: Karbala: Modern Economic Development Vision

VZCZCXRO1153
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHIHL #0099 1831456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021456Z JUL 07
FM REO HILLAH
TO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0003
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0904
RUEHIHL/REO HILLAH 0963

UNCLAS HILLAH 000099

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV
SUBJECT: KARBALA: MODERN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT VISION

REF: HILLAH 000096

1. (U) This is a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Karbala
cable.

2. (U) SUMMARY: On June 29, PRT Karbala met with Provincial
Council Chairman (PCC), Abdul-A'al Al-Yasiry, to discuss his
vision for economic development and the conference in Lebanon.
The PCC was returning from a two day Provincial Council
Chairmans' conference in Najaf in which Baghdad, Diyala and the
southern provinces participated. The southern PCCs had gathered
to talk about the provincial powers law, the Samarra mosque
bombing and they explored ways in which the PCCs could speak
with one unified voice to the central government. Al-Yasiry
expressed his concern about movement within the province of the
PRT and recommended that it restrict its movement to the
Governance Center only, where he explained it would be able to
meet with all of it's the necessary contacts. The PCC expressed
interest in attracting a wide variety of foreign investors in an
effort to bring foreign capital and expertise to the business
community in Karbala. As a former businessman and student of
law, the PCC has a very modern approach to leading his province.
END SUMMARY.

3. (U) The PCC, met with the PRT at the Regional Embassy Office
in al-Hillah on his way back from a Shi'a dominated Provincial
Council Chairmans' conference in Najaf province. While the
specifics of that meeting are not available, al-Yasiry promised
to send the meeting notes to the PRT at his earliest
convenience. The PRT expects these notes to include the key
recommendations sent to the Council of Representatives about the
Provincial Powers Law. (SEPTEL)

--------------------------
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MODEL
--------------------------

4. (U) Al-Yasiry's vision for economic development in Karbala is
based on attracting foreign companies with their expertise and
capital. He views local development as important, but
incorporated within the context of foreign investor activities
which he deems to be more efficient for generating jobs and
investment dollars. In concert with this vision, al-Yasiry
traveled to Kuwait and to Lebanon meeting with already
established Iraqi businessmen and, using their connections and
expertise, was able to generate interest in investing in
Karbala. The two biggest projects currently on the horizon are
a French-Lebanese cement company that is looking at building a
facility in Karbala, and the International Airport request for
bid that was published two weeks ago.

------------------------
LEBANON TRADE CONFERENCE
------------------------

5. (U) Making use of the network of ex-patriot Iraqis to
generate business leads and identify potential investors is
evolving into the PCC's economic development strategy. The
Lebanon-Karbala trade conference is a prime example of this. At
this time, the conference is slated for September at the
earliest. The first plans for the conference did not include a
company exposition element. During the course of the June 29
meeting, the conference concept evolved to include an element of
time and space dedicated to encouraging Iraqi and foreign
companies to exchange contact, product and service information.
Al-Yasiry is interested in capitalizing on USG support for the
conference and will continue to keep PRT Karbala informed of
developments.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: The PCC's business roots show through with his
current drive to attract foreign investors. He cautiously
skirted the conversation about the PRT being denied access to
the province (REFTEL) and recommended that the PRT use the
Governance Center as a meeting point with local contacts. While
this in theory is feasible, access to the Governance Center for
PRT contacts would reveal their cooperation with the USG, and
expose them to risk of intimidation or worse. The PRT continues
to seek creative alternatives to meet and engage our local
counterparts.

7. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED: PRT Karbala thanks Embassy Beirut
for their continued support. The PRT will provide further
information about the September Conference as it becomes
available. At this time it appears that the scope of the
conference is very small and more closely resembles a meeting
with potential investors and Karbala government officials.

DONNALLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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