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Cablegate: Current Status of Goi Funding for Clcs

VZCZCXRO1851
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #4205 3640929
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300929Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5037
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 004205

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: CURRENT STATUS OF GOI FUNDING FOR CLCS

REF: A. BAGHDAD CLASSIFIED OI OF 12/05/07: COR CHAIR
RECEIVES CLC TRANSITION BRIEF
B. BAGHDAD CLASSIFIED OI OF 11/07/07: SALARY
DISTORTIONS CONTRIBUTE TO BRAIN DRAIN
C. BAGHDAD 3722: ESTABLISHING EMPLOYMENT FOR CLCS
D. BAGHDAD 3649: SHIA DEPUTY ON CLCS

1. (SBU) Begin Summary: Coalition efforts to secure
counterpart GOI funding for the transition of Concerned Local
Citizens (CLCs or Awakening Councils) have garnered positive
responses from Finance Minister Bayan Jabr and Chair of the
Council of Representatives (CoR) Economic Committee Dr.
Haider al-Abadi. Jabr claimed that the Council of Ministers
approved an allocation of USD 150 million in the 2008 federal
budget, but admitted that the CoR would ultimately determine
funding levels for CLCs in the budget. Dr. al-Abadi told MG
Bergner that he would support the proposed allocation in the
2008 budget. We have not yet seen documentary evidence that
the CoR is considering explicit funding for CLCs in ongoing
budget deliberations. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a December 13 meeting with MG S. Scott, Finance
Minister Bayan Jabr expressed his support for the CLC
reintegration plans and said that the approximately USD 70
million in the 2008 DDR budget and USD 126 million of unspent
funds in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA)
2007 budget could theoretically be used to support CLC and
Joint Technical Education and Reintegration Program (JTERP)
plans. Jabr indicated that authorization to carryover unspent
2007 MoLSA funds would require some finessing and would be
tied to timely budget passage without providing further
details. He expressed his support in securing the carryover
authorization. Jabr objected to paying CLCs the current USD
300 per month salary, and noted that salaries would need to
be reduced to USD 150-200 to gain his support. (Note: The
current salary rate for CLCs is nearly double the going rate
for entry-level skilled workers. See ref B. End Note) Jabr
said he anticipated certain parties in the CoR would seek to
block the allocation due to concern over the potential
militarization of Iraqi society.

3. (SBU) During a December 6 meeting, MG Bergner raised the
CLC funding issue with Dr. Haider al-Abadi following an
earlier December 4 meeting at which Dr. al-Abadi received a
brief on CLC transition plans (ref A). Dr. al-Abadi claimed
that initial suspicions that the CLCs represented a new
militia had been largely dispelled. He also noted that he
raised the prospect of GOI funding for CLC transition
programs with Finance Minister Bayan Jabr and Prime Minister
Maliki who expressed their support. He was optimistic that
the USG request for counterpart funding of approximately USD
150 million in the 2008 federal budget would be successful,
reiterating his own support for the request.

-------
Comment
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4. (SBU) We will know more about the fate of CLC funding in
the 2008 budget once the CoR reconvenes, and budget
deliberations resume. At this stage, we do not know how the
CoR will react to this request although the Sadrist bloc and
other Shia groups (reftel D) will likely oppose it. We will
continue our outreach to key CoR deputies to shore up support
for this important initiative.

CROCKER

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