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WikiLeaks: 2007-02-11: 07BAGHDAD455: Ninewa: Anti-Kurd Coalition Defeats Move to Strengthen Pro-KRG Control of Provincial Council

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD455: February 11, 2007.

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 08:42 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD455, NINEWA: ANTI-KURD COALITION DEFEATS MOVE TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD455 2007-02-11 14:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO4211
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0455/01 0421405
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111405Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9547
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC//
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000455 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA:  ANTI-KURD COALITION DEFEATS MOVE  TO 
STRENGTHEN PRO-KRG CONTROL OF PROVINCIAL COUNCIL 
 
REF: 06 BAGHDAD 04017 
 
Classified By: PRT Team Leader James Knight, Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team 
(PRT) message. 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) At the Ninewa Provincial Council's 4 
February weekly meeting, the majority Kurdish 
Alliance (30 of 41 members) attempted to impose a 
complete reshuffle of Council committees, including 
abolition of some committees and addition of an 
Article 140 committee to oversee 'disputed 
territories' resolution in Ninewa (Note:  Article 
140 is the article in Iraq's current Constitution 
which offers the option of referenda to resolve 
'disputed territories'.  End note). 
 
2.  (C) This heavy-handed attempt to place pro-KRG 
hardliners in control of all key Council committees 
was vigorously and successfully opposed by the 
Council's minority opposition -- including 
Christian, Sunni, and Shi'a members, joined by some 
disaffected Kurdish Alliance adherents.  This 
unprecedented unified opposition and its expert 
deployment were satisfying examples of democracy at 
work.  More important, this Kurdish Alliance attempt 
may signal still more energetic efforts by the 
Council's Kurdish majority to promote incorporation 
of significant areas of Ninewa into the KRG.  In 
particular, provincial councils are now key to 
distribution of very substantial GOI development 
funds, and thus offer great leverage to political 
factions which control them.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
THE KURDS MAKE AN UNEXPECTED MOVE . . . 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Efforts to reorganize some Ninewa Provincial 
Council (PC) committees have been under discussion 
for some time -- especially the Reconstruction and 
Human Rights committees, both of which have 
problematic leadership and key to some Ninewa PRT 
programs.  The 4 Feb meeting was expected to 
reorganize those committees.  However, the PC 
meeting was delayed by an unexpected convocation of 
Kurdish Alliance PC members hosted by Deputy 
Governor Khasro Goran and Governor Kashmoula at 
Provincial Hall (across the street from Ninewa's 
Council Hall).  30 of the 41 Ninewa PC members were 
elected from the Kurdish Alliance list (dominated by 
the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the 
Patriotic Union (PUK); Deputy Governor Khasro is the 
head of the Kurdish Alliance as well as Chair of the 
Ninewa branch of the KDP.  Interestingly, PC Chair 
Salim al-Haj Issa was specifically excluded from 
this Alliance meeting, although he too was elected 
as a member of the Alliance. 
 
4.  (C) At the Kurdish Alliance meeting prior to the 
Council session, Khasro and other Alliance members 
apparently presented at length a detailed plan for 
reorganizing all/all PC committees and replacing all 
Council committee chairs.  After the Alliance 
meeting finally ended, the group went to Council 
Hall and the scheduled PC meeting began nearly an 
hour late.  Governor Kashmoula and Khasro attended 
the PC meeting with other Alliance members. 
 
--------------------------------- 
. . . AND STIR UP A HORNET'S NEST 
--------------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) After PC Chair Issa dealt with some routine 
business, Deputy Governor Khasro brought up 
committee reorganization and presented a new matrix 
of committee assignments for the PC as a whole to 
complete -- clearly anticipating rote insertion of 
key members as directed at the Alliance meeting. 
However, Khasro's introductory remarks were 
immediately followed by vigorous objections from 
several minority PC members, especially those 
representing the Supreme Council for Islamic 
Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI-- mostly Shi'a), the 
 
BAGHDAD 00000455  002 OF 003 
 
 
Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM -- Chaldean and 
Assyrian Christian), and the Iraqi Islamic Party 
(IIP -- mostly Sunni).  Raucous debate focused on 
efforts by quote the Kurdistan parties unquote to 
dominate the Council.  (Note:  Although Sunnis 
represented by the IIP formally boycotted the 
January 2005 Provincial elections, the IIP remained 
on the ballot and, in the event, gathered enough 
votes to encumber two PC seats.  End note.) 
 
6.  (C) Several peripheral Kurdish Alliance members 
(a number are not ethnic Kurds) echoed the emergent 
Sunni-Shi'a-Christian coalition, agreeing that 
interests of non-Kurdish citizens should be 
reflected despite the anomaly created by the Sunni 
boycott in 2005.  As debate became more heated, both 
Governor Kashmoula and Deputy Governor Khasro 
asserted that their proposed realignment of PC 
committees was simply an effort to make the Council 
more effective. 
 
7.  (C) Governor Kashmoula became quite exercised 
after IIP member Mamtuz Mahmud Ibrahim rebutted his 
'effectiveness' argument in detail.  The Governor 
loudly insulted Mamtuz before the Council, 
stridently noting that anyone who would question his 
intentions 'had a black heart' -- then stormed out 
of the session. 
 
8.  (C) Faced with unexpected ferocious opposition 
to his Kurdish Alliance proposal and lost control of 
the meeting, Deputy Governor Khasro proposed a 
meeting of Alliance and opposition parties at a 
later time to discuss committee changes.  Khasro 
then left the Council meeting as well.  At the end 
of the day, no committees were reconfigured and no 
Council chairs were changed; PC Chair Issa adjourned 
the meeting shortly after Khasro departed. 
 
--------------------------------- 
A SUNNI-SHI'A-CHRISTIAN COALITION 
--------------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) After the Council session ended, four of the 
non-Alliance members who sparked the Council's 
rejection of the Alliance's committee reshuffle 
proposal requested an urgent meeting with PRT Leader 
Knight, who also attended this contentious PC 
session.  ADM member Gevara Zia Yokhanna, SCIRI 
members Aref Yousif Qamber and Muhamad Ibrahim Ali, 
and IIP member Hasan Thannoon Saleem accordingly met 
Team Leader Knight and other PRT members 5 February 
at PRT offices. 
 
10.  (C) All four emphasized that their efforts to 
contain hardline Kurd agendas at the Council were at 
best only modestly effective.  Despite their success 
at the 4 Feb meeting, all insisted that they will 
meet future power grabs of this kind by ceasing to 
participate in Council meetings.  Team Leader Knight 
noted that such boycotts are rarely an effective 
means to pursue political action, but the group 
countered that the opposition's withdrawal would 
deprive the Council of moral authority and render it 
ineffective.  ADM member Gevara pointed out that if 
the non-Alliance members decide to boycott PC 
meetings, they will present their decision and its 
justification to the public on local television. 
 
11.  (C) IIP member Hassan suggested the opposition 
Council members may propose appointment of an 
unelected group 'similar to Ramadi's Salvation 
Council' (NFI) to supersede the current Provincial 
Council.  He pointed out that although such a 
council would not be elected, it would still better 
represent the population of Ninewa as a whole than 
the current Kurd-controlled PC. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
12.  (C) Defeat of the Kurdish Alliance leadership's 
imperious effort to place pro-KRG hardliners in all 
key Council positions suggests that anti-Kurd 
coalition-building -- pursued especially by Ninewa's 
IIP -- is bearing fruit (reftel).  As such, this 
episode indicates growing political maturity among 
the political leadership of Ninewa's majority Arab 
 
BAGHDAD 00000455  003 OF 003 
 
 
Sunnis, Shi'a, and other non-Kurds.  However, it 
remains to be seen whether they can sustain this 
victory -- a Council quorum is reached with 19 
members present; the Kurdish Alliance now encumbers 
30 seats. 
 
13.  (C) More worrisome, this episode illustrates 
how aggressive Ninewa's Kurdish Alliance leadership 
has become in support of the KRG's expansion agenda. 
The volatility of this issue is clearly growing in 
Ninewa.  Ninewa's Kurdish leaders expect Article 140 
referenda in several Districts this year (septel), 
and remain unconcerned about political consequences 
-- or inflaming tension between Kurds and Ninewa's 
non-Kurd majority. 
 
14.  (C) Equally troubling is the risk that 
opposition withdrawal from the Provincial Council 
could trigger progressively more popular opposition 
to Ninewa's current Kurdish leadership, both at the 
Governor's office and in the Provincial Council. 
The popular credibility of Ninewa's government has 
been reasonably sound, despite the firm grip the 
Kurdish Alliance holds on both executive and 
legislative institutions.  However, Kurd control of 
the province unbuffered by Arab and minority 
participation in government could evaporate that 
legitimacy, especially if Ninewa's non-Kurds come to 
believe they are safer under the IIP umbrella as the 
Kurds press onwards towards their vision of Greater 
Kurdistan, and while new provincial elections remain 
a distant hope.  END COMMENT. 
 
KHALILZAD

 



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