|06BAGHDAD3424||2006-09-13 08:53:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Baghdad|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 003424
1. (C) SUMMARY. With Baghdad Security Plan (BSP) initiatives
underway in several focus areas throughout the city
(reftels), our conversations with both Sunni and Shia local
contacts reveal that Baghdad residents are highly supportive
of BSP operations and hope to see their expansion. However,
there is general skepticism about the ability of Iraqi
security forces to maintain the more stringent security
measures once the Coalition Forces (CF) begin to disengage,
which most believe the CF will do. The lack of municipal
services is the topic that dominates our discussion with
local residents. END SUMMARY.
Supportive of BSP, Call for Expansion
2. (C) In PRT officers' conversations since BSP operations
began, both Sunni and Shia local officials and area residents
have been highly supportive of BSP security initiatives and
continue to call for their expansion to the rest of the city.
In the focus areas where operations began, previously closed
markets and businesses are gradually re-opening and
commercial and pedestrian traffic is increasing. Lingering
perceptions of danger, however, keep some residents indoors.
Some contacts have noted the difficulty in obtaining daily
essentials, such as medical supplies and bottled water, in
focus areas during the initial clearing days. Recognizing
these concerns, CF have taken measures to ensure focus area
residents have access to needed supplies when the cordon is
in place. Additionally, local officials have requested that
arrests be conducted properly, claiming that some innocent
individuals are being detained.
Question about Iraqi Security Forces' Ability to Maintain
3. (C) Local contacts have also repeatedly requested that CF
remain the lead on BSP security operations, as they think
Iraqi security forces are incapable of maintaining the more
stringent security measures. According to one District
Advisory Council (DAC) Security Committee Chairman, less than
half of the police in his district have received proper
training in security enforcement and human rights protection.
Furthermore, many residents believe inadequately staffed
checkpoints and sectarian alliances allow unauthorized
individuals and weapons to travel easily throughout the city.
Confidence in Iraqi security forces, especially the Iraqi
police, remains very low among most Baghdad residents.
Call for Better Municipal Services
4. (C) The topic that clearly dominates our discussions with
local contacts is the return of municipal services. Baghdad
residents often express frustration with the electricity
sharing plan of one hour on/eight or more hours off, the lack
of potable water, inadequate sewage systems, and infrequent
trash collection. Many contacts have commented that making
Baghdad livable is not exclusively about security; it is also
about municipal services. They theorize that internally
displaced individuals (IDPs) who have moved around/out of the
city will not return until municipal services are more