Subject: ## must reading.. A British View on Iraq - Confidential Memo
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 06:45:50 EST
*'An unbelievable mess': Memo from John Sawer, Blair's special envoy to
Iraq after Saddam's overthrow*
*Tuesday March 14, 2006
The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk/>*
*Personal from special rep for Iraq*
*No 10: Powell, Manning, Campbell, Rycroft*
*FCO: PS/SOS, PS/O'Brien, PUS, Ricketts, E m, Chaplin, Chilcott*
*Subject: Personal: Iraq: What's Going Wrong?*
1. A Baghdad First strategy is needed. The problems are worst in the
capital, and it is the one place we can't afford to get it wrong.
But the troops here are tired and are not providing the security
framework needed. We need a clear policy on which Ba'athists can
return, a more concerted effort on reconstruction, and an
imaginative approach on the media. For all this, money needs to be
released by Washington. The clock is ticking.
2. Four days in Iraq has been enough to identify the main reasons
why the reconstruction of Iraq is so slow. The Coalition are widely
welcomed, but are gradually losing public support.
3. *Garner*'s outfit, *ORHA*, is an unbelievable mess. No
leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure, and
inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis. Bremer's arrival is not a day too
soon. Garner and his top team of 60-year old retired generals are
well-meaning, but out of their depth. *Tim Cross* is widely seen as
the only senior figure offering direction ...
4. It is clear that Baghdad is the biggest problem. Other parts of
Iraq are getting organised: there are minimal Shia/Sunni tensions;
town councils have been agreed in the sensitive cities of Mosul and
Kirkuk; and so on. But Baghdad has the worst security, a poor level
of essential services and no information flow ...
5. No progress is possible until security improves. Crime is
widespread (not surprising as Saddam released all the criminals).
Car-jackings are endemic. Last week the Ministry of Planning was
re-kitted out ready to resume work; that night it was looted again.
The evening air is full of gunfire. There is still a climate of fear
on the streets and that is casting a shadow over all else.
6. A big part of the problem is the US Third Infantry Division. They
fought a magnificent war and now just want to go home. Unlike more
mobile US units they are sticking to their heavy vehicles and are
not inclined to learn new techniques. Our Paras company at the
embassy witnessed a US tank respond to (harmless) Kalashnikov fire
into the air from a block of residential flats by firing three tank
rounds into the building. Stories are numerous of US troops sitting
on tanks parked in front of public buildings while looters go about
their business behind them. Every civilian who approaches a US
checkpoint is treated as a potential suicide bomber. Frankly, the
3rd Inf Div need to go home.( Collapse )