WikiLeaks: 2005-07-07: 05BAGHDAD2860: Kirkuk Council: "Consensus" Government Elusive as National Leaders Raise Ante
Viewing cable 05BAGHDAD2860, KIRKUK COUNCIL: "CONSENSUS" GOVERNMENT ELUSIVE AS
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002860 SIPDIS THIS IS A REO KIRKUK CABLE E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2025 TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ SUBJECT: KIRKUK COUNCIL: "CONSENSUS" GOVERNMENT ELUSIVE AS NATIONAL LEADERS RAISE ANTE Classified By: Political Counselor Robert Ford. Reason 1.4 (b) and (d). ¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT. Kirkuk Provincial Council met June 26 and 28, but postponed electing a Deputy Governor. U.S. urging to secure Kurdish leaders' agreement to a Kirkuk "consensus government" that includes Arabs and Turkmen had apparently not yet been conveyed by July 3 to Kirkuk players. Although still lacking a complete leadership lineup, the Council began moving ahead on committee formation, including a committee to liaise with the Kurdistan government. Meanwhile PM Ja'aferi's public remarks regarding the resolution of Kirkuk issues prompted stern rebukes from Kurdish leaders, with steadily hardening demands of their own, new propaganda salvos, and maximum bombast from the region's ethnically dominated media. It has become impossible to untangle the chicken-and-egg cycle of hyperbole, accusations, and hardening positions on Kirkuk's government and status. There is much apprehension among minority groups, including Christians, that serious consequences may follow an entirely Kurd-nominated government. END SUMMARY AND COMMENT. Talabani Says He Will Push Barzani to Accept "Real" Arabs and Turkmen ------------------------------------- ¶2. (C) As factions debated Kirkuk Provincial Council outcomes in both Kirkuk and Kurdistan cities, Charge d'Affaires Satterfield continued to press key leaders in Baghdad on the need for consensus, giving leadership jobs to both elected Arab and Turkmen blocs. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told charge June 28 he had managed to get Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani to agree to including the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) in the Council (as Deputy Governor). Barzani was still resisting including Arabs in the Council. (NOTE: Barzani told REO/Kirkuk in December that he hoped Arabs of Kirkuk would not vote in elections. END NOTE.) Confusion Reigns: Conditions Imposed on Turkmen Candidates? --------------------------------------------- -- ¶3. (C) Meanwhile, at the provincial level, there was no sign of progress. During the June 28 Council meeting, 23 Kirkuk Brotherhood List (KBL) members agreed they should give Turkmen another week to select a candidate for the position of Deputy Governor (i.e., until July 4). Mohamed Kamal, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) caucus chair, said that any Turkmen deputy governor would have to accept Article 58 of the TAL, which he interpreted to mean Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan. Sherzad Adil (KDP) suggested that the Deputy Governor be selected from the KBL. Babakir Sadeq Ahmed, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), countered that Turkmen view the ITF as their most legitimate mouthpiece; therefore that bloc should nominate a deputy governor candidate. (Comment: This is in accord with what Jalal Talabani told the Charge June 28 in Baghdad. End Comment.) ¶4. (U) PUK-affiliated newspaper al-Ittihad reported June 28 that Council Chairman Rizgar Ali Hamajan had also stated that a deputy governor nominee must accept that Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan. On July 2 Kirkuk PolOff contacted Rizgar Ali who said the story was false; he denied that this was a prerequisite for nomination. Ali noted that the KBL wants the Deputy Governor to be "100 percent Turkmen" (read ITF), support implementation of all articles of the TAL (including Article 58), and promote harmony between all ethnicities. (Comment: There is no consensus, even among various Kurdish parties, on what exactly Article 58 requires. End Comment.) Committee Formation Commences ----------------------------- ¶5. (SBU) Rizgar Ali prompted members to move forward with committee nominations, and tabled suggestions for committees on security; construction and development; and liaison to the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA). Kirkuk Regional Coordinator (RC), concerned that committee formations would preempt possible agreement by Turkmen and Arabs to return to the Council, on June 27 sent a letter to Governor Abdulrahman Mustafa requesting that the Council not act on committees until there is agreement on leadership posts. The letter also sought the Governor's view on the authority for the Provincial Council to elect Kirkuk's city mayor (on June 21), as Coalition Provisional Authority Order 71 stipulates that the municipal council elects the mayor. ¶6. (SBU) Arab council member Mohamed Khalil told PolOff June 27 that the Arabs will continue to boycott Provincial Council meetings until the mayor is fairly elected and the new Arab Assistant Governor is removed and replaced with an Arab who represents the Sunni bloc in the Council. Christian Fear -------------- ¶7. (SBU) In a meeting June 25 with the RC and PolOff, newly-elected Assistant Governor Edward Oraham (independent Chaldo-Assyrian), speculated that if Turkmen and Arabs did not each get key slots in government, violence would escalate, with dire consequences for Kirkuk's small Christian community. He felt that the Turkmen would not take up arms, but would remain neutral if Sunni Arabs increased their tolerance of Foreign Resistance Elements (FRE) in the province. He offered to relinquish his seat to either bloc in the interests of keeping the peace. He told RC that the KDP had vetoed other Christian candidates for his job, and that he himself could not step too far from established Kurdish party lines. National Leaders Call for Delaying Kirkuk, Prompting Kurdish Outrage ----------------------------------- ¶8. (C) Baha Al-Araji, Shia Arab Sadrist and Secretary of the Constitutional Drafting Committee told Radio Sawa June 26 that Kirkuk will not be discussed in the context of the constitution, because it is too sensitive to resolve now. He also expressed hope that the Kurds will accept consensus to keep Kirkuk outside any federal regions. (Comment: PUK leader and Deputy Constitution Committee Chairman Fuad Ma'asum also told PolOff on July 5, that he does not believe the constitution should address Kirkuk. His reasoning for this was quite different from Araji's, however: Ma'asum said he believes that Article 58 should be largely implemented by the time the next elections take place so the constitution should not need to address the issue. End Comment.) Kurdish language internet site Payanmar on June 29 reported that Iraqi PM Ja'afari told Mideast newspaper in London that while Kurds were mistreated and pushed out of the province and Arabs brought in, Ja'aferi said solutions must be acceptable to all parties. ¶9. (SBU) In a swift reaction, KDP politburo and KNA member Othman Mahmood said June 30 that United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) "wants to delay Kirkuk resolution until after the constitution . . . the only loser will be Kurdish people." He accused the UIA of violating the principles of the Shia-Kurd agreement of March. Other steps to counter Baghdad calls for delay of the process were more tangible. USAID and REO staff traveling between Kirkuk and Irbil June 30 noted large new banners and posters along the highway claiming, "Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan." Satterfield