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WikiLeaks: 2005-12-14: 05BAGHDAD4997: The De-Baathification Process

Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 at 05:47 PM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05BAGHDAD4997 2005-12-14 12:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 004997 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2015 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford for 
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C)  The De-Baathification Commission has become 
something of an election issue with Ayed Allawi 
publicly criticizing it and Shia Islamists in turn 
strongly supporting it.  Behind the scenes, Shia 
Islamist political figures are driving the commission 
as other commission board members show little interest 
in its work.  (The Kurds have no board member now and 
there are no De-Baath offices in the Kurdish Regional 
Government.)  The Shia engine leads their political 
opponents to claim the commission's work is highly 
politicized.  After an individual is identified as a 
member of the former Baath party, and thus subject to 
the measures in the De-Baath law, he may appeal or 
file for an exception.  Very few win their appeals. 
Exceptions are much easier to obtain; a source on the 
De-Baath Commission told us that there were 17,500 
exceptions granted in 2005.  Shia Islamist support for 
the De-Baath commission, and criticism from people 
like Ayed Allawi and Sunni Arab political leader Salih 
Mutlak suggest that the National Assembly's De-Baath 
review laid out in the new constitution could be 
2.  (U)  On December 6, General Secretary of the 
National De-Baathification Commission (NDC) Tahlib al- 
Muhanna briefed PolOff on the commission structure and 
de-Baathification process. End Summary. 
Commission Structure 
3.  (C) Since its inception in 2003, the NDC Chairman 
has been Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi.  The NDC 
Board of Directors consists of eight representatives 
from various political parties.  The Board is 
responsible for the political leadership of the 
commission and provides guidance on policy and 
procedure.  Al-Muhanna commented that with the 
exception of DAWA's Jawad al-Maliki and SCIRI's Jalal 
al-Din al-Sagheer, the NDC board members have not 
played an active or influential role. The NDC Board is 
comprised of 8 members from the following political 
Kurdistan Democratic Party - vacant 
DAWA; TNA Jawad al-Maliki 
SCIRI; TNA Shaikh Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer 
Iraqi National Congress; DPM Ahmed Chalabi 
Iraqi Communist Party; TNA Hamid Moussa 
Assyrian Democratic Movement; TNA Yonadam Kanna 
United Islamist Alliance; TNA Dr. Sallama al-Khafaji 
Iraqi National Accord; TNA Dr. Raja Habeeb al-Khuzai 
4.  (U) NDC consists of seven (7) directorates.  The 
Oversight Directorate reports directly to the Board of 
Directors and oversees the activities of the six other 
directorates which are: 
- General Secretariat 
- Information Gathering & Investigations 
- Legal Affairs 
- Culture & Education Affairs 
- Economic Affairs 
- General Follow-up and Implementation 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Information Gathering & Investigative Directorate 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
5.  (U) The Information Gathering & Investigative 
Directorate is responsible for tracking high-ranking 
former Ba'athists and their assets.  This directorate 
also receives information from its branch offices 
located in each of the 15 governorates, determines 
what information is actionable, and maintains the hard 
copy archives before forwarding the information to the 
Legal Directorate.  (NOTE: there are no NDC branches 
in the KRG. END NOTE) The Information Gathering & 
Investigative Directorate liaises with the de- 
Ba'athification section of each of the 25 federal 
ministries, as well as the ministries' de- 
Baathification in each of the 15 governorates. (read 
this Directorate deals with as many as 375 ministerial 
de-Baathification offices) 
Identification of a Baathist 
4.  (U) Identification of former Ba'athists requires 
a 10-step process. 
a.  An NDC governorate branch office receives 
information about an individual from various sources. 
b.  The NDC branch office conducts a local 
investigation in conjunction with the relevant 
Ministry's local de-Ba'athification section. 
c.  The NDC branch office submits the information to 
the Baghdad Information Gathering & Investigations 
d.  The Baghdad Directorate conducts its own 
e.  Once the information is verified, the Directorate 
forwards the case to the relevant Ministry. 
f.  The Ministry re-verifies the evidence with its 
local de-Baathification section. 
g.  Once the information is re-verified, the Ministry 
returns the case back to the Baghdad Directorate with 
its comments. 
h.  The Baghdad Directorate forwards the case to the 
Legal Directorate, which examines the evidence once 
i.  If everything is in order, a NDC judge signs the 
formal de-Baathification notification order. 
j.  The order is forwarded to the Ministry, which 
notifies the individual by letter. 
Vetting of Political Candidate Lists 
6.  (U) Contrary to the above Ba'athist identification 
process, the NDC Information Gathering & Investigative 
Directorate vets political candidate lists by 
comparing the names with its existing database. The 
database includes names of all individuals in the NDC 
investigation pipeline. (This process is similar to 
our consular name check.) 
Appeals vice Exceptions 
7.  (C) The NDC receives thousands of applications for 
Appeals and Exceptions annually. To qualify for an 
appeal an individual must be able to provide 
documentary evidence that discounts case evidence. 
Al-Muhanna stated that it is a rare occasion when an 
appeal succeeds. He claimed that only 4-5 appeals have 
succeeded this year. 
8.  (U) To qualify for an Exception, an individual 
must have been a Level 4 Ba'ath Party Group (Udw 
Firqah) member or below, admit to Ba'ath party 
membership, and be innocent of criminal activities. 
To file for an Exception an individual must submit the 
following to its local NDC branch office: 
- a complete curriculum vitae 
- denunciation of the Ba'ath Party 
- testimony from the workplace 
- testimony from friends, neighbors, relatives 
- surrender any and all weapons 
9.  (U) The NDC branch office reviews the above 
information and submits it to the NDC Legal 
Directorate in Baghdad.  If the information is in 
order, the Legal Directorate grants an Exception.  An 
Exception allows a Level 4 Group Party Member to 
return to his/her place of work demoted to a lower 
position and to receive a pension. An Exception has a 
one-year probationary period during which the 
individual's activities are monitored. According to 
al-Muhanna, exceptions are rarely denied.  To the best 
of his knowledge, 17,500 exceptions have been granted 
this year.  The exception process is reported to take 
4-5 months. 
10.  (C) Comment.  Although the NDC General Secretary 
has provided clear guidelines for the de- 
Baathification process orally, there is evidence that 
exceptions have not been executed within the customary 
time frame and appeals are very hard to win.  It is 
very much our sense that the Shia Islamists are 
driving the de-Baath process.  The Kurds have absented 
themselves from the commission's work, and we never 
hear contacts like Yonnadam Kanna or Raja al-Khuzai 
discuss de-Baath issues with us.  This Shia engine in 
turn leads their political opponents to claim the 
commission's work is highly politicized.  Stories of 
corruption in the process, and the somewhat Kafka- 
esque manner in which the de-Baath bureaucracy churns 
forward have raised many complaints too.  Ayed Allawi 
has called for an end to the commission's work, and in 
a sense the commission has become an election issue. 
End Comment.  Shia Islamist support for the De-Baath 
Commission, and criticism from people like Ayed Allawi 
and Sunni Arab political leader Salih Mutlak suggest 
that the National Assembly's De-Baath review laid out 
in the new constitution could be contentious. 

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