I’ve been trying to help provide some ideas on the redevelopment of Iraq to Jeff Madison, an Army Lieutenant Colonel who is working to help the country rebuild its economy. He has kept me informed of the work and progress that he and others are making there through some lengthy, very interesting emails. Here are some excerpts, including his request for help in the newspaper world. If you can help him please email him directly at Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lot's of meetings with Iraqis today. Drumming up support for the Economic & Agriculture "FarSa" (opportunity) conference, the constitution of two new Chambers of Commerce, and even the Education and Health Councils we are trying to build from scratch. I'm still looking for resources to use on these last two councils. I'm hoping the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce will come through for me on the first one. No use recreating the wheel if they already have charters and other documents in Arabic for the one started in Baghdad and a few other places.
Do we have any body out there with contacts in the newspaper world? I need to find out some information on newspaper industry, specifically, prices of equipment for printing local type newspapers. It seems to me that with today's technology you could crank out newspapers with much less equipment and associated space than in the past. The types of papers around here are 8 pages total, two of which are color. Circulation for each town is approximately 5,000 papers per week (one edition per week). The idea is to establish a regional network so a single hub could do the printing for multiple surrounding towns (Nahiya). Currently, they all travel to Baghdad for their out sourced printing. Amazingly, we are introducing the concept of paying operating costs by selling advertisements and charging for the papers. Remember, newspapers in this part of the world have been traditionally funded by the government, so there was no need to beat the street for advertising or charge for the paper. Of course, the news you got in return was also controlled by the government. If you have any leads or contacts that you might help let me know. I'm a small fish in a big ocean over here, but the Lord continues to connect me with people I need to meet to get my offense rolling and start making some first downs.
To catch you up I am assigned to a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Southern Salah ad Din (SaD) province. I am an active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel on loan to the Department of State for this mission. I arrived in the combat zone on 28 JUL 07. I talked to most of you in JUN just after I moved to OK. My primary role is governance, but I am involved in economics, agriculture, health, education, and just about everything else. My partner in crime is 1LT Carl Kusbit, a 58-year old reservist from Pittsburgh, PA. He's an ER Trauma Nurse. Southern SaD is bordered on two sides by the Tigris River, is heavy in Agriculture, very little manufacturing or Agri-Value Chain processing at this time. Population between the two qada'as (districts) is just over 300,000. The largest city, Balad, is close to 100,000 by some estimates. It is a Shia island in a Sunni sea. There are five major Nahiyas (towns/sub-districts): Isahki, al Dulu'iyah, Yethrib, Balad, and ad Dujayl. I live on FOB Paliwoda, sometimes LSA Anaconda, and occasionally journey to COB Speicher (Tikrit).