|07BAGHDAD2218||2007-07-04 18:12:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Baghdad|
1. (C) Summary: At its June 29 meeting, the Baghdad
Security Plan (Fardh al Qanoon - FAQ) Executive Steering
Committee (ESC) discussed the Government of Iraq (GOI)
rewards program for weapons and information, the GOI's
commercial dispute with Kuwait that is preventing delivery of
fuel, Baghdad's drinking water shortage, the return of
displaced families, and the introduction of Dr. Tahssyn as
the new civilian spokesman for Fardh al Qanoon. End Summary.
2. (U) Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Zoubai chaired the
meeting in place of Prime Minister Maliki.
GOI Rewards Program
3. (C) DPM Zoubai, Deputy National Security Adviser Safah,
Interior Minister Bolani, and DPM Salih discussed the GOI's
rewards program for citizens providing information to Iraqi
Security Forces (ISF) about illegal activities, including
potential vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs)
as well as rewards for the turn-in of specific weapons. DPM
Zoubai ordered the Interior Ministry to clarify the mechanics
for granting rewards. Salih expressed his concern that this
issue had been discussed for months without concrete action.
Fuel Tanker Dispute with Kuwait
4. (C) Minister of Electricity Karim Walid and BSP ESC
Political committee co-chair Hajim al-Hassani discussed their
recent trip to Kuwait, during which they discussed with
Kuwaiti officials resolution of a commercial dispute that has
prevented Kuwaiti tankers from delivering fuel to Baghdad
since November 2006. The Kuwaitis are insisting that the GOI
pay USD 13 million in back payments for fuel delivered in
late 2006. Due to the dispute, over 160 fuel trucks have
been quarantined at the Kuwaiti border awaiting this payment.
Future contracts for fuel for electrical power plants are
currently awaiting resolution of the dispute. Hassani
thought the GOI should pay; Interior Minister Bolani and Oil
Minister Shahristani disagreed. DPM Zoubai suggested the USG
might press Kuwait on this point.
5. (C) Ambassador Crocker pointed out that the U.S. Embassy
in Kuwait facilitated GOI meetings on this subject at the
highest levels of the Kuwaiti government, but the USG could
not take sides on the merits of the commercial dispute. The
Ambassador noted that the GOI needs to decide between a quick
solution and a protracted legal process. MNF-I Commanding
General (CG) Petraeus urged the GOI to quickly pay Kuwait,
reminding attendees that the Iraqi people were suffering from
lack of GoI payment of a relatively minor amount of money.
The CG added that MNF-I would integrate the tankers into
MNF-I convoys for security once the agreement for electrical
plant fuel is reached.
Baghdad Drinking Water Shortage
6. (C) DPM Zoubai noted that lack of electricity to run
pumps is affecting Baghdad's drinking water supply and asked
for a report. Baghdad Mayor agreed lack of electricity is a
problem, and blamed attacks on electrical grid
infrastructure. The mayor proposed construction of another
electrical line to the Karkh water plant. The mayor also
blamed the water shortage on local farmers who illegally
tapped water lines out of the Karkh plant, and on fuel
shortages that prevent water stations from operating pumps.
The mayor said he does not receive his monthly fuel
allocation from the Oil Ministry and said he had ordered that
fuel be purchased on the black market if necessary.
7. (C) Oil Minister Sharistani replied that both refined
product and heavy fuel oil are available at the Bayji
refinery, but there was no Iraqi Security Force unit
available to escort a fuel convoy to Baghdad. The CG noted
that the Energy Fusion Cell (EFC) is the proper venue in
which to resolve the problem, including the security aspect.
The CG stressed the need for an additional power line to the
Karkh water plant and noted the ongoing project to repair the
power control station there. Finally, the CG noted that a
contract has been awarded to repair water lines going out of
the Karkh plant.
8. (C) Governor Tahan raised problems of importing from
Jordan chlorine needed to treat drinking water. DPM Zoubai
said the process needs to be carefully documented in light of
terrorists' recent use of chlorine in VBIEDs. The CG noted
that the main failure to secure chlorine is at water plants,
not during importation. The CG further noted that the 5500
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Facility Protection Forces on the Amanat payroll should be
held accountable to secure the chlorine stocks and water
plants or else those personnel authorizations should be given
to the MoD.
Return of Displaced Families
9. (C) Popular Mobilization committee chair Ahmed Chalabi
distributed a paper with nine items he said needed to be
achieved before displaced families could return to their
residences on Haifa Street. DPM Salih noted that
displacements are continuing, including of Christian families
from the Doura neighborhood. The CG pointed out that MNF-I
has an ongoing operation in Doura and had suffered five
killed in action the previous day. In addition, MNF-I is
undertaking operations in Baquba and had killed two al-Qaeda
in Iraq (AQI) leaders in Mosul. The CG said that a recent
report of 20 headless bodies being discovered by police was
false and designed to inflame sectarian tensions.
10. (C) Displacement and Migration Minister Sultan noted
that only 246 of 5000 families that had returned had received
grants due to returnees. Governor Tahan noted that
processing the grants requires signatures from three separate
11. (C) Chalabi stressed the importance of paying attention
to displaced Iraqis who had gone abroad. Minister Sultan
said his ministry is in the process of opening offices in
neighboring countries. DPM Zoubai decided to form a
committee to look into the specifics of returning displaced
families to Haifa Street and Sab al Bour.
FAQ Civilian Spokesperson Appointed
12. (C) The ESC appointed Tahssyn al-Shaykhali as FAQ's
civilian spokesperson. Al-Shaykhali said he would emphasize
FAQ's civilian and services aspects in addition to the
security aspects. General Abboud complained that FAQ had
received little support from the other ESC committees.