Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD559, NINEWA: KURDS' HEADLONG RUSH TOWARDS KRG
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9693
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000559
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/17
TAGS: PGOV PBTS PREF KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: KURDS' HEADLONG RUSH TOWARDS KRG
REF: A. (A) 06 BAGHDAD 02048 (B) 06 BAGHDAD 04364
¶B. (C) 06 BAGHDAD 04584 (D) BAGHDAD 00455
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Team Leader James Knight:
1.4 (B) and (D).
¶1. (C) Kurds in Ninewa continue to press forward to
incorporate significant areas of Ninewa Province
into the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) through
the 'disputed territories' process foreseen by
Article 140 of the current Iraqi Constitution. In
this headlong effort, Ninewa's Kurdish Alliance
leadership appears to be reaching far beyond law or
regulation so far promulgated for the Article 140
process. Kurd efforts are being pursued with
single-minded imperiousness which is uniting
Ninewa's Sunni majority and most minorities against
the KRG expansion agenda -- most anti-KRG voices
point out that violent opposition to the process is
inevitable if it continues to move forward in this
way. END SUMMARY.
THE VIEW FROM MOSUL . . .
¶2. (C) Ninewa's Deputy Governor Khasro Goran is the
Kurdistan Democratic Party Chair for the province
and head of the Kurdish Alliance, whose list won 30
of the 41 seats on Ninewa's Provincial Council in
the 2005 provincial elections. Khasro is the
leading proponent of KRG expansion in Ninewa; Ninewa
PRT IPAO Holtsnider met Khasro 31 January to clarify
incidental discussion of Khasro's disturbing current
views on the Article 140 process with Team Leader
Knight at an earlier unrelated meeting.
¶3. (C) Khasro's current effort pivots on the
'normalization, census, referendum' process outlined
by Article 140, but adds a disconcerting element of
directed rather than electoral resolution. Khasro
currently believes that 'normalization' will include
land grants and compensation to Arabization settler
families that return to their pre-1968 place of
residence. In Ninewa, such returning families will
receive ID 5 mn (about USD 3,900). Returnee
households must register with the local authorities
and provide proof of pre-1968 residency. Land
disputes arising from such resettlement will be
resolved by the Iraq Property Claims Commission
(IPCC). Goran is optimistic that renormalization
will be well underway in March 2007 for the
districts of Sinjar, Tal'Afar, Tal Kaif, Shikhan,
Hamdaniya, Makhmur, and portions of Mosul district.
¶4. (C) In Khasro's view, Districts and Sub-
Districts will be returned to their pre-1968
provincial assignments as part of the
'normalization' process. These realignments will be
formalized by letters originating from the President
of Iraq. Per Khasro, if the GOI acts at the
national level, assignment of a district to a
province in the KRG will obviate the need for a
referendum there since such territories will longer
be disputed. Only in cases where the GOI cannot
come to consensus at the national level will
¶5. (C) Khasro expects that the census required by
the Article 140 process will be satisfied by the
Iraqi national census anticipated summer 2007.
After the census is completed, referenda will
ascertain whether voters in each 'territory' --
i.e., those remaining in dispute after GOI
reassignments to former provinces -- wish to join
¶6. (C) Khasro stated that he believes the Article
140 process overrides provincial elections -- which
in any case should be scheduled after disputed
territories are resolved. Accordingly, he believes
provincial elections are unlikely to occur in 2007.
. . . FROM UPCOUNTRY NINEWA . . .
BAGHDAD 00000559 002 OF 003
¶7. (C) After this discussion with Khasro, Ninewa
IPAO Holtsnider followed up with meetings 6-7
February with Mayor of Sinjar District Dakhel Qasim
Hassoun, Ba?aj District Mayor Abdulrahim Qasim
Muhammad, and Zumar District Mayor Mizahim Sulaiman
al-Sa?doon. All three indicated that the range of
'disputed territories' continues to widen. The
Mayor of Ba?aj -- whose Sub-District of al-Adnaniya
is a salient target for KRG expansion -- predicted
that precipitous attempts to incorporate al-Adnaniya
into the KRG will cause fighting quote that will
last until the last man is killed unquote.
¶8. (C) The Sinjar District Mayor -- a KRG appointee
-- was predictably more insouciant about the Article
140 process. He currently expects Sinjar to be
assigned to the KRG at the national level without a
referendum, in accordance with Khasro's program.
. . . AND AT THE SINJAR ARTICLE 140 OFFICE
¶9. (C) Also on 7 February, IPAO Holtsnider met with
the Director and staff of the Article 140 office
recently established in Sinjar. Office Director
Saeed Jaradu Matto -- a KRG appointee -- leads a
staff of seven currently compiling registers of Kurd
families wishing to return to Sinjar and Arabization
program settlers who might be induced to depart.
¶10. (C) Matto, unlike Khasro and the Mayor of
Sinjar, continues to believe that Article 140
referenda will be held in every disputed territory
of Ninewa. However, he also confirmed that the
Article 140 process will encompass previously
undisputed areas in Ninewa, including Tal Kaif
District. In Matto's understanding, 'normalization'
will be completed by the end of March 2007; the
necessary census will be undertaken in July 2007;
and referenda will be scheduled in November 2007.
Matto further noted that he hopes for U.S.
facilitation of international donor support for
Article 140 relocation compensation funds.
MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE
¶11. (C) Ninewa's minorities include several kinds
of Christians, Shi'a and Sunni Turcomans, Yezidis,
and Shabaks. All are riven by factions, including
divisions along the pro-/anti-KRG axis, but most of
our interlocutors suggest that anti-KRG sentiment
predominates. While the USG and the KRG follow
Christians and Turkey monitors Turcomans, Yezidis
and Shabak have no strong external support.
¶12. (C) Yezidis are generally ignored in the
Article 140 debate, but Kurds are often insistent
that Shabak are in fact a Kurdish group. Khasro in
particular is insistent that the Shabak are in fact
Kurds, and dismisses claims to the contrary.
However, Ninewa's minorities as a whole are likely
to join the province's Sunnis to resist KRG
expansionism to the extent they believe it is safe
to do so.
¶13. (C) The most significant minority group
favoring the KRG are some Assyrian and other
Christians currently benefiting from patronage
channeled through KRG Minister of Finance Sarkesi.
Sarkesi in particular favors establishment of a
Christian area on the Ninewa Plain (basically
between Mosul city and the KRG's current boundaries)
which would be a de facto protectorate of the KRG --
again, this 'minority' agenda is generally believed
to be another face of KRG expansionism.
¶14. (C) Some areas of Ninewa adjacent to the
current KRG may be incorporated through the Article
140 process without great anguish elsewhere in
Ninewa -- particularly Makhmur and Shikhan Districts
and the Sub-District of Zumar, as noted reftels.
However, Kurdish expansionism elsewhere will meet
BAGHDAD 00000559 003 OF 003
resistance that will almost certainly be disruptive
and may turn violent. One recent example of fallout
from preemptory Kurd efforts in favor of KRG
expansion was the revolt of Sunni and minority
Provincial Council members on 8 February (reftel D);
more such instances are sure to follow.
¶15. COMMENT CONTINUED. Ironically, the current
guarantor of relative peace in Ninewa in this
critical year is fear of the KRG's Peshmerga militia
-- already widely deployed in Ninewa -- and the
perceived likelihood that Peshmerga will forcibly
intervene to protect KRG interests if resistance to
those interests becomes violent. END COMMENT.