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WikiLeaks: 2007-02-07: 07BAGHDAD408: Kurds Delay Budget Over Funding for Peshmerga

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD408: February 07, 2007.

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 08:37 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD408, KURDS DELAY BUDGET OVER FUNDING FOR PESHMERGA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD408 2007-02-07 09:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO0331
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0408/01 0380941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 070941Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9467
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000408 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2017 
TAGS: ECON EFIN PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: KURDS DELAY BUDGET OVER FUNDING FOR PESHMERGA 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 290 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Baghdad 
coordinator Dilshad Miran (KDP) told Poloff February 1 that 
negotiations on the security and defense portion of the 
national budget were still ongoing but had stalled because of 
disagreement over GOI funding for the Kurdish Peshmerga 
security forces that to date, have not transformed into an 
internal regional force compliant with the Iraqi Constitution 
and law.  Miran said the KRG's Peshmerga security forces 
should be funded, trained, and equipped by the GOI.  These 
sentiments were echoed by former Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch 
Shaways (KDP) and others in separate meetings.  Negotiations 
are continuing in the Council of 
Representatives (CoR) since the Kurd walk-out during the 
budget discussion at the January 27 session, but Embassy 
Kurdish contacts as of February 4 were expressing less 
optimism about reaching agreement.  Post will continue to 
press both sides to come to a resolution so that the budget 
can be passed, allowing the government to focus its attention 
on the real challenge of successful capital budget execution. 
 END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------- 
Budget Negotiations Stalled 
--------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Baghdad 
Coordinator Dilshad Miran (KDP) told Poloff February 1 that 
negotiations on the security and defense portion of the 
national budget were still ongoing but had stalled.  The 
major issue still to be resolved remains the funding of the 
Kurdish Peshmerga, according to multiple Kurdish contacts, 
some of which explicitly blame the Shia Alliance and the 
Da'wa party for the dispute.  Miran said negotiations with 
the Prime Minister on this issue have gone well, but when 
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Safa al-Safi gets 
involved negotiations broke down.  Safi tries to dictate to 
the Kurds, he said, something they cannot accept. 
 
3.  (C) Miran emphasized that the Peshmerga are a regional 
security force allowed by the Iraqi Constitution and thus 
should be funded, trained, and equipped by the central 
government. (Note:  The Government of Iraq and the Kurdish 
Regional Government have not reached an agreement on 
transformation of the Peshmerga into a unified regional force 
consistent with Iraq's Constitution and federal laws.  The 
talks ended in stalemate in October and the GOI continues to 
argue the Peshmerga is not a legal entity until it comes into 
compliance.  End Note.)  He said as other regions form they 
should be permitted to raise a regional guard and seek 
funding from the central government as well.  Asked about a 
potential reduction in numbers of Peshmerga forces he said 
the Peshmerga are a source of pride and tradition in the 
Kurdistan Region and the KRG needs current troop levels to 
deal with security in their mountainous region that shares a 
border with Syria, Turkey, and Iran.  However, he said the 
KRG had agreed to draw down as security permits. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
Shaways Echoes Miran's Regional Guard Sentiments 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
4.  (C) Former Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways (KDP) 
told Poloff on January 26 that he thought all sides had 
agreed in principle on central government funding for the 
Kurdistan Regional guard, but he said negotiations remained 
on the mechanism and the details.  He said they agreed to 
limit the number of regional guards based on population. 
He could not remember the exact figure but thought it was 
around 1 guard per 50 people.  He also said this limit will 
be delayed until the security situation improves.  He thought 
90,000 regional guards would be appropriate.  Dilshad Miran's 
figure was 120,000.  (Note:  At the October 10 talks with the 
Iragi Government on the transformation of the Peshmerga into 
an internal regional force in compliance with Iraqi 
Constitution, the KRG delegation claimed to have 
approximately 190,000 peshmerga: 120,000 active and 70,000 
reservists. They also expressed a desire to maintain this 
size until Iraq security situation improves.  End Note.) 
 
---------------------- 
CoR Delays Budget Vote 
---------------------- 
 
5.  (C) Negotiations continue between the Kurds and Shi'a 
parties after the Kurd walk-out during the budget discussion 
at the January 27 session (reftel).  While the initial 
dispute revolved around the $55.5 million allocation for 
 
BAGHDAD 00000408  002 OF 002 
 
 
'social benefits' for the Presidency Council, the issue has 
become much larger.  Yunadam Kena (Assyrian - Rafidayn), 
member of the CoR Economic Committee, told econoff on 
February 4 that the Kurds were now demanding that the central 
government pay for the pashmerga.  "They want each person to 
get $1000 plus benefits, and there are 90,000 peshmerga, so 
it adds up to more than $1 billion," he said.  "They agree in 
private, but then in public they disagree," he said in 
explanation of the new dispute. 
 
6.  (C) Kurdish Alliance head Fu'ad Masum told Pol LES 
February 4 that the Kurds had presented their requests to the 
Prime Minister, who responded with several options which the 
Kurds then intended to present to KRG President Massoud 
Barzani.  On February 5 Masum told Pol LES that Barzani had 
insisted on central funding of the regional guard but had 
agreed to make minor changes.  He also blamed the Da'wa and 
Fadilah parties for the impasse.  The budget was not on the 
agenda for the February 4 or 5 sessions, and CoR members are 
considering voting on the budget without resolving this issue 
to the satisfaction of the Kurds. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7.  (C) Kurdish contacts had generally expressed optimism as 
recently as January 26 that the budget could be resolved.  As 
of February 4, most seemed resigned to a long negotiation. 
The constitution stipulates that regional internal security 
forces are administered by the regions.  While it does not 
specifically mention central funding for regional internal 
security forces, Article 121 (Third) states that regions 
shall be allocated an equitable share of national revenues 
sufficient to discharge their responsibilities.  By most 
accounts, the Kurds have already done well in the budget 
formulation process, with 17 percent of the budget after 
"sovereignty expenses" were removed.  Post will continue to 
press both sides to come to a resolution so that the budget 
can be passed, allowing the government to focus its attention 
on the real challenge of successful capital budget execution. 
KHALILZAD

 



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