Cablegate: The Ever-Evolving Chalabi Service Committee

DE RUEHGB #3931/01 3380204
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: Chalabi's service committee yet again changed format at
it's November 27th meeting. Representatives from Baghdad's rural
areas attended last week's meeting and detailed their service needs
in what looked and felt like a town hall meeting. At the committee's
previous meetings only official committee members were in
attendance. END SUMMARY.

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Sabi' Al Bor Read Out
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2. The meeting commenced with a trip report from Sabi' Al Bor. The
Minister of Displacement and Migration, Senior Deputy Minister of
Electricity, Deputy Minister of Trade, IG of Health, Commander of
the Iraqi Forces, Dr. Chalabi and ITAO Director visited Sabi' Al Bor
on November 27. They met with the municipal government and residents
of Sabi' Al Bor; approximately 200 people were in attendance. The
municipal council identified its most serious problems: electricity
and water shortages (drinking and irrigation), shortage of medical
equipment and personnel, school supply shortages and inadequate
numbers of police. In response, the DM of Electricity promised to
repair a particular water line; the IG of Health promised needed
medical equipment and personnel; the Minister of Displacement
promised 150,00ID per month for returning families and assistance in
finding jobs for returnees; and the DM of Trade announced they would
establish a ration center in the area and coordinate distribution
with the municipal council. Other decision reached included; forming
an emergency committee under the leadership of the municipal council
that includes prominent, local sheikhs and national ministry
representatives to protect and provide services to returnees;
rehabilitating four schools; increasing checkpoints; and ensuring
adequate numbers of police.

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Abu Ghraib Representatives Attend
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3. Approximately 30 representatives from Abu Ghraib presented their
list of services needs to Dr. Chalabi's committee, particularly in
light of improved security conditions. They requested additional
police, but Chalabi noted that his committee cannot address that
issue, instead it should be referred to the Security Council.
Chalabi also informed the Abu Ghraib representatives that his
committee could not fund any projects because they do not have a
budget to do so nor is it in the committee's mandate. The
representatives detailed the qada's problems such as a dysfunctional
irrigation system; limited sewage infrastructure; shortages of
medical facilities, medical supplies and equipment, and medical
staff; specific goods shortages in the PDS - the nation's food
welfare program; non-functioning electrical transformers; fertilizer
shortage and delayed agricultural loans.

4. The Committee made the following recommendations to address some
of Abu Ghraib's services needs:
--Establish an emergency service center in Abu-Ghraib to provide
urgent services. Committee membership will include the municipal
council, the district director and services department's heads as
well as a representative from Chalabi's committee.
--The Ministry of Commerce will send a truck load of urgent food
--The Ministry of Electricity was ordered to complete unfinished
projects (repair transformers, send new transformers and tools and
parts necessary for future repair and maintenance).
--Baghdad Operation Command, along with the relevant local service
departments, will study the possibility of opening the bridge
connecting the center of Abu-Ghraib (on third river.)

5. Several requests were made of ministries not represented or
formally included in Chalabi's services committee. This is the first
set of such requests, but the recently signed executive order does
require those ministries to cooperate with the committee to achieve
its tasks.
--The Ministry of Water Resources is tasked to send 2 generators
(750 KV) to Abu-Ghraib's irrigation project. They are also tasked
with sending necessary equipment and tools.
--The Ministry of Agriculture is requested to reopen the agriculture
parts center in Abu-Ghraib and provide the allocated portion of
fertilizers and chemicals to the local farmers.
--The Agriculture Corporative Bank is requested to expedite loan
applications for Abu Ghraib's farmers.

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The Board of Sahwa of north Souwaira Attends
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6. Following Abu Ghraib, the Board of Sahwa presented their service
needs to Chalabi's committee. School degradation and supplies topped
the list as did medical supplies, equipment and personnel; PDS
supply shortages; and a poor and inadequate national grid electrical
supply, noting that of 1,000 houses in the area, 750 are powered by

BAGHDAD 00003931 002 OF 002

7. The committee responded with several recommendations:
* The Ministry of Electricity was ordered to complete unfinished
projects (repair transformers, send new transformers and tools and
parts necessary for future repair and maintenance).
* The Ministry of Education was asked to conduct a study to
determine the needs of the region.
* The Ministry of Commerce will provide a food portion from Baghdad
* An emergency service center will be established in Al-Souwaira
district similar to the above Abu-Ghraib center.


8. According to Chalabi's staff, Abu Ghraib and Souwaira reached out
to the committee. These regions are seeking a legitimate and
effective body to address their service grievances particularly
since Deputy Prime Minister Zoubai, formerly responsible for
nation-wide service delivery, resigned from government approximately
5 months ago - creating a void in the services area.

9. Baghdad proper, or the ten service districts as defined by Fard
Al Qanoon and the Baghdad Security Plan, has continued to address
service delivery, particularly through the Joint Planning Commission
(JPC). Up until recently, the qadas, or outlying, rural regions,
have received less attention by the Iraqis as well as Coalition
Forces. Currently underway though, is a joint Coalition-Iraqi
endeavor to replicate the JPC at the qada level. The first meeting
is scheduled in the coming weeks.

10. The visit to Sabi' Al Bor and the recent participation by local
representatives at the services committee meeting will create an
early test for Chalabi's committee. Those events have clearly added
a "public face" to Dr. Chalabi and his committee. Previously,
high-level ministry representatives were addressing service delivery
issues that they themselves prioritized in cooperation with other
bureaucrats only. Now, the committee is apparently linked to
ordinary Iraqi citizens, having made promises to them directly.


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