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Cablegate: Baghdad Services Committee

DE RUEHGB #3793/01 3230457
P 190457Z NOV 07




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Baghdad Services Committee


1. SUMMARY: Attendance at Dr. Ahmed Chalabi's meeting was down this
week, lacking representation from the Ministries of Oil, Electricity
and Education. The committee heard for the first time from the
Ministry of Trade and Commerce as well as the Ministry of
Transportation. The committee did review and further develop several
recommendations, many of which were previously discussed. END

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Services Committee Reviews Previous Recommendations
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2. The Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) will designate several
forces for the protection of electric stations in Russafa and Al
Karkh districts. The Ministry of Electricity (MoE) and the BOC will
meet to discuss the details of such an arrangement, including
providing the BOC with names of authorized personnel. A second
recommendation included installing emergency power lines from the
electrical networks to floating pumping stations at the expense of
Baghdad Amanat: a report will be submitted at the next Services
Committee meeting.

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3. The Al-Karkh Al-Jamhuri hospital will be handed over to the
Ministry of Defense (MoD) to primarily treat the Iraqi Armed Forces
and other MoD personnel, the Ministry of Interior (MoI),
intelligence personnel and FSP. Civilian access to the hospital is
still in discussion, but it appears as though they will at least
have access to emergency services. Chalabi ordered a committee from
the MoD and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to be assigned to resolve
additional issues, including whether the hospital will be staffed by
MoD or MoH and who will pay the salaries of those personnel, pay for
treatment and medical equipment. MoH offered to partially staff the
hospital, but requested that any services rendered to MoD personnel
be paid for by the MoD. MoH, in turn, would pay the salaries of
their personnel and continue to pay for civilian services.

4. The MoH also requested authority to contract with the private
sector, as needed, to procure facilities management for housing
services, such as food and cleaning services. Chalabi suggested
that the MoH approach the Ministerial Committee of Contracts.

5. Recommendations for the Baghdad Amanat included repairing the
Zublin line of the sewage network until the construction of a new
line; importing tools and equipment to clean-up the sewage system;
and establishing related operations and maintenance training
courses. The Amanat also emphasized that a "Clean-up" day in Baghdad
should be a coordinated effort between ministries.

6. Oil recommendations reviewed from the previous week included
exploring alternative fuel transportation methods to include rail
and additional tankers. The MoO is expected to meet with Dr. Chalabi
to discuss other issues, giving priority to fuel supplies in

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A Ministry of Transportation Representative Attends
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7. The Ministry of Transportation (MoT) delivered a report to the
Services Committee noting security and fuel as their greatest needs.
The rail from Basra to Baghdad is working; however, it is slowed due
to a weak unloading process in Baghdad. This process takes on
average eight days, according to the MoT representative. Rails north
of Baghdad are capable of moving fuel into the city, but the MoT
representative requested that MNF-I and MoD inquire about a
particular bridge's status for rail transport as opposed to
vehicular transit. The MoT stated that they cannot currently operate
a train from Kirkuk to Doura to alleviate the crude shortage at that
refinery. In terms of tanker capabilities, the MoT needs additional
tankers as well as security in hot areas for such transport.

8. Passenger services, particularly bus services in Baghdad, are
routinely hindered by road blocks, concrete barriers, military
operations, and construction and infrastructure improvement. MoT
noted that 90 of 190 new buses ordered have arrived and there are
currently 4,000 drivers; however, it is not clear if that number is
nation-wide or Baghdad specific. The MoT representative noted that
the ministry will be launching a Haj campaign to encourage bus
transportation during the holiday.

9. Chalabi asked for a more detailed report from the MoT, to include
the status of existing bus terminals. He also inquired about the
Amanat's role in Baghdad's transportation infrastructure. The MoT
rep said that one impediment to bus service is that the private,
minibus drivers intimidate city bus drivers, ordering them not to
drive their routes.

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A Ministry of Trade and Commerce Representative Attends
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10. According to the representative, corruption continues to be a

BAGHDAD 00003793 002 OF 002

problem in the public food distribution system, PDS. There are more
ration cards issued than Iraqis registered in the program. Despite
adequate food orders, Iraqis do not receive complete rations and
food is sometimes expired. Other problems include specific supply
shortages, delays at borders and ports, including Turkey and Um Qasr
and supply chain problems, including trucking companies, storage and
distribution. The MoH requested that all food contained in the
rations be inspected and certified by the MoH. The Inspector General
noted that a fully equipped lab was available in Basra.

11. The Ministry wants to compensate citizens with cash for
incomplete rations, and also to compensate people living in areas
that were not stable enough to allow delivery of rations. The
Ministry of Finance would cut the checks and give them to the local
ration agents to distribute.

12. Dr. Chalabi requested a detailed report on specific supply
shortages to be delivered at the next Services Committee meeting.

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Other Topics of Discussion
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13. Prior to the formal commencement of the meeting, Dr. Chalabi
announced his idea to create a Service Emergency Center in Russafa.
This center would be staffed with representatives from each ministry
to provide teams of experts to address service problems throughout
the districts and provide services to hot areas. No vote was taken
on this recommendation, although Dr. Chalabi did present it at the
Friday, I-ESC.

14. The MoH discussed a draft incentives package for doctor
recruitment. The package includes secure accommodation with the
option of ownership. This may contain a time in service requirement.
A second incentive would allow doctors to set up and run private
practices within MoH facilities and hospitals without charge. The
package also contained a tiered increase in compensation to include
hazard pay.


15. In addition to his weekly Services Committee meeting, Chalabi
has traveled with the USG and Iraqi Army to several areas in and
around Baghdad to see service delivery improvements and challenges
firsthand. He meets independently with ministries to address various
issues and recently attended the Joint Planning Commission (JPC),
along with some of his committee members, where they received an
overview of projects throughout Baghdad. Through the JPC, local
leaders from each city district raise issues and discuss priorities
with officials from the various service institutions, including the
national ministries, provincial government, Amanat Baghdad, district
area councils (DACs) and neighborhood councils (NACs), Gulf Region
Division, Multi-National Division Baghdad and the Provincial
Reconstruction Development Committee of Baghdad. As Chalabi Services
Committee gets off the ground, it is critical that these service
entities coordinate their work.


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