|03KUWAIT1948||2003-05-10 10:33:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001948
1. The DART conducted a security assessment of Al Hillah,
capital of the Babil governorate, on 2 May. The town has
approximately 400,000, mostly Shia, residents. Coalition
forces ranked the threat assessment as "low to none," but
acknowledged that there was a problem with organized crime.
There have not been any security incidents in the last ten
days, and DART security team declared Al Hillah permissive
for DART operations. Coalition forces reported finding
several caches of UXOs, ammunition dumps, mine fields, and
weapons in the city. There are no acute shortages of any
basic necessities or utilities in the town, although the
communities in the surrounding area were reported to be in
greater need of assistance and services. End Summary.
2. The DART observed no shortage of food and produce
available in the local markets in Al Hillah. Coalition
forces reported that the normal distribution network under
the Oil for Food (OFF) program has remained in place. There
are 1,730 food agents for the approximately 1.8 million
residents of Babil governorate, with 10 local United Nations
(U.N.) OFF workers to monitor the program in the region.
Food deliveries were suspended for about two months during
the hostilities, but deliveries resumed on 30 April. Most
of the grain under the OFF program for Al Hillah is
processed in the immediate area at 14 privately owned mills.
Although there are currently no shortages of food, problems
have been reported with distributions due to a lack of bags.
Coalition forces reported that the local residents have
raised concerns about shortages of soy protein for chickens.
Also, the price of propane gas, which the majority of the
population uses for cooking purposes, has increased
WATER AND SANITATION
3. The DART saw no evidence of significant water or
sanitation-related needs during its visit to Al Hillah. No
residents were seen collecting water from surface water
sources. Information on the status of the Al Hillah water
facilities was gained from Coalition forces.
4. The water facilities in Al Hillah were operating at 75
percent of capacity at the time of the DART assessment. The
availability and quantity of water to Al Hillah and outlying
communities is good. The Al Hillah province is served by
fifteen water treatment plants, three of which produce the
majority of the water for the province. Coalition forces
were providing technical assistance and supplies for
maintenance in both Al Hillah and outlying communities. All
repair activities were conducted in conjunction with, and
approval of, the local water and sewer utility managers.
The primary problem faced by the utility is the lack of
power. Efforts are being made to support water and sewer
facilities with backup generators and fuel.
5. The DART recommends that every effort be made to restore
the main power grid for Al Hillah. Non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) should be encouraged to visit outlying
communities to further assess and address water and
6. There are no confirmed reports of reprisal killings, but
revenge attacks are taking place. In one instance,
Coalition forces reported that one of the lawyers in town
was attacked for helping the military locate a former Ba'ath
Party member. His home was attacked by small arms fire, but
no one was hurt. The local police responded and arrested
the individual. According to the local police chief,
approximately ten prisoners are being held by the police,
but Coalition forces have yet to confirm this information.
There are approximately 250 police operating in Al Hillah.
Coalition forces provided the police force with AK-47s on 2
May. The Coalition has already provided a three-day police
training program and plans to offer another course soon.
7. A group of lawyers educated at the Babylon University
Law School have started a human rights organization to
educate Iraqis on the human rights abuses conducted by the
former regime as well as teaching human rights principles.
The group has occupied the former secret police building and
has issued a document in both Arabic and English proclaiming
democratic ideals and human rights principles.
LAW AND ORDER
8. Coalition forces are in the process of replacing Ba'ath
party judges with new judges and employing 250 Iraqi police.
The replacement of the judges was predicated on the
understanding that Ba'ath party judges functioned as both
prosecutor and judge, a practice which led to a high
conviction rate. According to Coalition forces, local
residents have reported that people would be accused of
crimes and then sent to jail for a year without a trial
regardless of their crime. Approximately 70 judges have
been relieved of their duties, and five new judges will
assume their positions 9 May.
9. As for the police, apparently there are as many as 250
police candidates who have been identified as potential
officers. In order to create a "U.S.-type" of police force,
Coalition forces have begun a three-day police training
course. One of the anticipated roles of the police is to
man the six police sub-stations located throughout the city.
There are no operable phone lines or radio communications
between the substations and the central headquarters. It is
hoped that by posting Coalition forces at the headquarters
and local police at the substations, the security presence
will be increased throughout the city.
10. There have been no reports of insurgency or armed
resistance around Al Hillah. However, significant weapons
caches have been found, presenting a disposal problem. In
one site, there are reportedly two full warehouses stacked
from floor to ceiling with munitions. Another problem is
that in areas where munitions have been found, some locals
have been emptying out the contents to collect the boxes,
and in other situations locals have collected the munitions