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WikiLeaks: 2006-02-06: 06DAMASCUS421: Kurds Dismiss Latest SARG Gestures on Stateless Issue

Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 at 07:45 PM CT


Viewing cable 06DAMASCUS421, KURDS DISMISS LATEST SARG GESTURES ON STATELESS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06DAMASCUS421 2006-02-06 11:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Damascus
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0421 0371131
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061131Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6882
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0615
C O N F I D E N T I A L DAMASCUS 000421 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON FOR TSOU, PARIS FOR ZEYA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SY
SUBJECT: KURDS DISMISS LATEST SARG GESTURES ON STATELESS 
ISSUE 
 
 
Classified By: CDA Stephen Seche for reasons 1.4(b)/(d) 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY: According to recent media reports, a 
delegation of 43 Kurdish tribal leaders recently met with 
high-ranking Syrian officials to discuss the restoration of 
citizenship for Syria's 300,000 stateless Kurds.  While the 
SARG publicly touted the meeting as a further step towards 
resolving the issue, Kurdish political activists dismiss the 
claim, noting the absence of Kurdish political figures from 
the meeting and that this promise had already been made twice 
before in 2005 by President Bashar al-Asad. 
 
2.  (C)  Media reports indicate that a delegation of 43 
Kurdish tribal leaders met January 30 with Regional Command 
National Security Office head Hisham Ikhtiyar and Ba'th Party 
Regional Command Assistant Secretary General Mohammed Sa'id 
Bukhaytan.  Press reports indicate that President Bashar 
al-Asad had intended to meet with the delegation but was 
unable to do so due to a scheduling conflict.  Media reports 
quoted Shakib Hajoub, a representative of the Kurdish 
Haderkan tribe, citing a statement by Bukhaytan that "an 
order will be issued within the next month granting 
citizenship to about 300,000 Kurds" but that it was unclear 
whether the citizenship would be granted to all stateless 
Kurds immediately or if the process would be gradual. 
 
3.  (C)  This announcement is another in a series of recent 
public statements by the SARG regarding the issue of 
stateless Kurds.  The topic was mentioned as part of a 
package of reforms announced by President Bashar al-Asad 
during the Tenth Ba'th Party Congress held in June.  During 
his November 10 address to the nation, Bashar also discussed 
"the census problem", noting that political developments had 
delayed any action on the issue but said that the issue would 
soon be solved as "an expression of the importance of 
national unity in Syria." 

4.  (C)  Kurdish activists, however, reported later that the 
tribal leaders present were "angered" and unhappy with the 
meeting results.  Yekiti Party activist Faisl Badr told 
Poloff that, based on conversations with Kurds who were 
present at the meeting, the Kurdish tribal leaders were 
angered that they had been lured to the Presidential Palace 
with promises of seeing Bashar, only to end up meeting with 
second-tier Ba'th officials.  According to both Badr and 
Azadi Party activist Luqman Ois, the SARG officials insisted 
that the stateless issue is a social and not/not a political 
issue, a stance which is rejected by both parties.  Ois added 
that Ikhtiar and Bukhaytan described Hassekeh province in 
northeastern Syria (a Kurdish stronghold) as being 
historically Armenian, Arab, and Assyrian (thus implying no 
Kurdish history), and suggested that one condition of 
resolving the stateless issue would be to require Kurds to 
register in districts other that Hassekeh.  (NOTE: As 
registrations determine voting location, this step would, in 
effect, dilute the voting power of Kurds in any future 
elections.)   Both Badr and Ois commented that the SARG's 
timing was in reaction to international and domestic 
pressure, with Ois adding that it was an attempt to divide 
the Kurds from the rest of the opposition. 
 
5.  (C) COMMENT: Skepticism towards this latest promise of 
resolving the Kurdish problem is certainly warranted, given 
Bashar's failure to act on earlier promises.  SARG officials 
have quite a history of picking up one aspect or another of 
the Kurdish issue for short-term political gain for PR 
purposes, designed for the international community, and then 
dropping it after an initial splash of publicity.
SECHE


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