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Cablegate: Anbaris Meet in Amman to Draft a Provincial

DE RUEHGB #3860/01 3311237
R 271237Z NOV 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) This is an Anbar PRT reporting cable.


2. (U) Some 115 Anbari notables, including government
officials, civil servants, and tribal leaders, participated
in an off-site conference November 14-18 sponsored by USAID
contractor RTI in Amman to draft the Provincial Development
Strategy (PDS), which is a long-term vision statement for
future economic and social development. The PDS is a GOI
requirement. The participants met in plenary sessions and in
five break-out groups for governance, infrastructure, social
services, agriculture, and economic development. Ten
participants stayed for two extra days to work on the 52-page
draft summary. The draft is expected to be presented to the
districts and sub-districts for comment between December
2-10. The Provincial Council is expected to vote on the
final document on December 30. The number of attendees was
surprising large, and the quality of the discussions
indicated that the Anbaris want to move ahead briskly on
economic reconstruction. The event was covered by Arabic and
English language international media. Nonetheless, the
Awakening Council of Iraq (SAI), which had at least seven
representatives present, boycotted the conference on grounds
that it had not been consulted in the conference preparation
(reftel). End Summary.

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Leaders Stress Unity

3. (U) Over 115 Anbari leaders from across the province
gathered in Amman for the fourth Anbar PDS Conference on
November 13-17. Members of local, provincial, and central
governments attended. Approximately 20 tribal sheikhs from
several parts of the province also attended. According to
conference organizers, representatives from every district
and sub-district of the province were present. Four of
Anbar's nine representatives in the GOI Council of
Representatives participated in the conference. Five women
participated, three as members of the Provincial Council (PC)
and two from Anbar's national parliamentary delegation.

4. (U) Governor Ma'amoun Sami Rasheed, PC Chairman Abdulsalam
Abdullah, and Anbar Tribal Council representative Sheikh
Hameed Turki delivered remarks at the opening plenary on
November 14. They also held a joint press conference and
conducted one-on-one interviews.

5. (U) In his opening remarks, PC Chairman Abdulsalam said
Anbar will emerge from "the darkness of terrorism with the
support of the central government and coalition forces." He
stated that the conference's aim was to take advantage of
Anbar's improved security to promote economic development.
Stressing the importance of working together, Ma'amoun said:
"We are proud of coming up with this plan for progress in
Anbar." Sheikh Hameed recognized the participation of at
least a dozen tribal sheikhs. "Let everyone see how we all
work together in harmony," Hameed said.

Conference Attracts International Media

6. (U) The conference drew significant Arabic and English
language media, which covered the opening and closing
sessions. At a press conference following the opening
session, a reporter asked the PC Chairman why the Anbari
leadership was meeting in Jordan if the security situation
had improved. Abdulsalam responded that Anbar lacks adequate
hotel space for holding such a large conference. "God
willing, this will be the last conference we hold outside
Anbar," he said.

Five Break-Out Groups

7. (U) The participants divided into five working groups for
governance, infrastructure, social services, agriculture, and
economic development. Each group identified challenges and
objectives in its sector and presented its preliminary
conclusions orally in the plenary session. RTI facilitators
were on hand to guide the discussions, but in several groups,
Anbaris conducted discussions themselves.

The Way Forward: Stressing Local Input

8. (U) The Anbari leadership appointed a drafting committee
for the final report with representatives from each working

BAGHDAD 00003860 002 OF 003

group. The drafters stayed in Amman two additional days at
the conclusion of the conference to continue drafting,
working until midnight on one of those days. RTI and PRT
staff was on hand to assist. At the closing session, PC
Chairman Abdulsalam announced that the drafting committee
would complete its work by December 2. "Some people think
that this is just a conference and nothing will happen after
it, but that is not the case," he said.

9. (U) Stressing the importance of a "bottom-up approach"
that includes local input, the PC Chairman said that the PDS
draft report would be sent to Anbar's districts and sub
districts on December 3 for comment. The draft will also be
sent to the Governor's Office and to the various directors
general. The drafting committee will finalize the report,
taking into account comments from the municipalities, between
December 10 and 27. The PC Chairman has called a PC meeting
for December 30 to vote on the document, in the hopes that
the PDS for Anbar Province can be sent to the Ministry of
Planning by the December 31 deadline. "I think this was a
successful conference," a PC member said. Echoing a common
refrain among participants, he added: "The conference was
good and we made good plans. Now we have to wait to see the

10. (U) The following is a preliminary summary of some of the
challenges and opportunities identified in the working
groups. The draft report, however, is 52 pages in Arabic and
is more detailed than the brief sketches that appear below.
RTI will translate the document into English. It is not yet


11. (U) Eleven Anbari leaders - including Governor Ma'amoun
Deputy Governor Othman Hummadi, and Deputy Provincial Council
Chairman Khamees Abtan - participated in the Governance
Committee. They identified the following shortcomings: the
lack of statutory clarity between the executive and
legislative branches, and between levels of government; the
lack of qualified personnel in the civil service; the lack of
public awareness of provincial government activities; and the
lack of a public database of legislated decisions and
provincial government programs.


12. (U) The Infrastructure Committee set out to create a
five-year plan to improve basic services, re-start the K-3
oil refinery in Haditha and increase its capacity, and tap
the province's presumed natural gas deposits for power
generation. The rehabilitation of the railroad system was
another objective. As for challenges, the committee
identified local political rivalries which have been
obstacles to infrastructure development; the need to
strengthen the relationship between Anbar and the central
government; the lack of qualified personnel in government
departments; and the need to develop media and improve access
to information from the provincial government.

Social Services

13. (U) The Social Services Committee attracted the largest
number of participants, over two dozen at times, including
all five women. It divided its discussion into several
subsectors including: women's affairs; religious and tribal
affairs; health and environment; education; civil society;
and public relations. Committee members discussed the
importance of protecting the province's judges, who have been
targeted by terrorists in the past. They acknowledged the
importance of religious leaders in "unifying society and
minimizing extremist influences," while citing the importance
of including tribal leadership in the province's strategic
plan given the role Anbari tribes play in "achieving
political and religious reconciliation." Discussing the role
of tribes in Anbar, one committee member stated: "We are all
proud of the tribes. We all come from the tribes." On health
issues, the committee called for providing incentives to
attract medical professionals, reopening training facilities,
and establishing a modern research facility. On education
the committee identified the importance of creating
international student exchange programs. The committee also
concluded that the strategic plan should encourage the
development of NGOs and media outlets. It also called for
the develop employment centers for widows and orphans, and an
expanded role for women in government.


BAGHDAD 00003860 003 OF 003


14. (U) The Agriculture Committee participants represented a
cross-section of agricultural leaders and subject matter
experts. They address challenges and opportunities in soil
and water resources, agronomy, animal husbandry, energy
resources, and agri-business. Committee members discussed
strategies to overcome obstacles inhibiting progress in the
agriculture sector, as well as plans to "create an
environment whereby farmers will be encouraged to resume
their profession and prosper" given the improved security
situation in Anbar. Participants also focused on the
importance of providing information and other resources to
farmers and the agricultural workforce to boost productivity.

Economic Development

15. (U) The Economic Development Committee identified the
need to obtain additional capital from the GOI and financial
institutions; the need for a consumer protection initiative;
the development of alternative energy sources; and greater
clarity in investment laws. The committee also discussed the
negative consequences of a "brain drain" from Anbar Province,
noting that many educated professionals had left the
province. The committee identified specific projects critical
to economic development, including the re-start of the K-3
refinery in Haditha; the upgrade of the Haditha power
station; the development of organic waste power stations;
securing GOI funding for state-owned enterprises, and to
support micro-enterprise and a women's employment program. It
also recommended the development of environmental "green
zones" around major cities.

SAI Boycott

16. (SBU) While the conference was underway, Sheikh Ahmad Abu
Risha, the leader of the Awakening Council of Iraq, sent a
letter to the PC Chairman announcing that the SAI would
boycott the event on grounds it was not consulted during the
planning. There were an estimated seven SAI members
attending the conference. Ahmad also called for the PC
Chair's ouster and announced that SAI members of the
Provincial Council would suspend their activities with that
body (reftel). SAI conference-goers participated
sporadically, but generally stayed away from working groups.

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