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WikiLeaks: 2007-04-16: 07BAGHDAD1304: PRT Kirkuk: PC Boycott Talks Start, Stop Again

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD1304: April 16, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 04:43 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD1304, PRT KIRKUK: PC BOYCOTT TALKS START, STOP AGAIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD1304 2007-04-16 11:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO6569
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1304/01 1061148
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161148Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0745
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001304 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ
SUBJECT: PRT KIRKUK: PC BOYCOTT TALKS START, STOP AGAIN 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 754 
 
Classified By: PRT Team Leader Jim Bigus for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
This is a PRT Kirkuk reporting cable 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY.  Negotiations to end the Arab-Turkoman 
boycott of the Kirkuk Provincial Council began in earnest in 
February and March, focusing on division of top provincial 
positions, security and the return .  However, talks have 
stopped as key players travel outside of Iraq, and several 
factors -- especially Arab leaders' anxiety about their 
community's role in Kirkuk,s future -- could prevent final 
resolution.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (SBU) As reported in reftel, since November 2006, most 
Arab and Turkoman Kirkuk Provincial Council (PC) members have 
boycotted its weekly sessions and select committee meetings. 
Without the boycotting members, only PC members elected on 
the Kurdish-dominated Kurdish Brotherhood List (KBL) which in 
addition to its 20 Kurdish members includes two Arabs, two 
Turkoman, and one Assyrian,  have participated in PC 
business.  On February 12, at a CF-called meeting, the three 
blocs agreed to resume formal negotiations and, on March 15, 
their representatives adopted a five-point negotiating 
agenda, agreeing to discuss the division of high-level 
provincial positions among the blocs, corruption, security, 
occupation of government and private property by Kurdish 
returnees, and the allocation of 2006 reconstruction 
projects. 
 
3.  (SBU) On March 26, the Arab bloc representative, Rakan 
Saed Al-Jabouri, told PRT officer that two additional points 
regarding Iraqi Constitution Article 140 had been put aside 
for now because the representatives of each bloc  felt that 
including them would block progress on other points. 
 
----------------------------- 
LET,S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS... 
----------------------------- 
4.  (SBU) On March 29, fifteen members of the Kirkuk 
Provincial Council (PC) from all three blocs gathered in the 
first of a planned series of talks on the five points. 
Discussion centered on the division among the blocs of top 
provincial positions: governor, PC chairman, and Kirkuk city 
mayor, all of which are held now by Kurds.  KBL members, 
noting that the governor and PC chairman had been chosen 
through a democratic process, refused to consider conceding 
these positions, and Arab and Turkoman bloc members finally 
seemed to accept the point.  However, KBL members appeared 
willing to concede the Kirkuk city mayor job.  The Kurdish 
incumbent was appointed by the governor, rather than in an 
election, and is generally considered weak.  The Turkoman 
bloc wants this position, believing that, as the MoI 
representative formally in control of IP within Kirkuk city, 
the position could become more powerful.  Also, because the 
province's Turkoman population is concentrated in Kirkuk 
city, the position is important to that community. 
 
5.  (SBU) Participants also discussed division of second-tier 
provincial positions: deputy governor, chair and deputy chair 
of the yet-to-be-formed Kirkuk City Council, and the deputy 
chairman of the province's planning and development 
committee.  KBL participants appeared to be open to conceding 
these positions as well.  However, when discussion of 
lower-level positions arose, they resisted assertions of 
Kurdish domination, pointing out that most of the positions 
at the North Oil Company (NOC) and affiliated 
petroleum-sector entities are held by Arabs and Turkomen. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
...UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING BETTER TO DO. 
------------------------------------------ 
6.  (SBU) Participants covered only the first of the five 
points, agreeing to meet again on April 2 to resume 
discussion of the first point and take up the second.  That 
meeting was canceled, however, because key Arab bloc 
participants were abroad to participate in "future of Kirkuk" 
conferences.  The PC chairman has since gone abroad as well, 
and discussions likely will not resume until he returns at 
the end of April.  Until then, the boycott remains, leaving 
key positions )- such as the deputy governor )- unfilled. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
COMMENT: A GOOD START, BUT PITFALLS AHEAD 
----------------------------------------- 
7.  (C) The tone of the March 29 meeting was generally open 
and constructive, with little grandstanding, and the outlines 
of a possible KBL-Turkoman bloc deal were apparent.  Turkoman 
bloc members were very active and focused on gaining 
particular positions, which seems to be an end in itself for 
them.  This is a change from the February 12 meeting, at 
which Turkomen did not appear to be negotiating seriously. 
 
BAGHDAD 00001304  002 OF 002 
 
 
This could be due to the absence abroad of influential 
Turkoman bloc member Ali Mehdi, who is known for his 
ideological inflexibility. 
 
8.  (C) In contrast, Arab bloc members remained aloof from 
the horse-trading, engaging only sporadically, and then only 
with abstract concerns about increasing the Arab share of 
Kirkuk government positions at all levels.  This reflects 
Arab leaders' anxiety about their community's waning status 
and influence in Kirkuk.  While Arabs dominated during 
Saddam's reign and Kurds were second-class citizens, Kirkuk 
is increasingly Kurdish-populated and controlled.  Its 
accession to the KRG under an Article 140 referendum would 
cement this current reality.  On March 28, influential sheik 
Hussein al-Jubouri (a.k.a. Abu Saddam) )- who likely will be 
one to bless any boycott agreement reached by Arab bloc 
representatives -- told PRT officer that the main issue is 
"the future of Kirkuk," not "division of administrative 
positions," and that increasing Arab participation in the 
Kirkuk government is but a means to secure that community's 
place in Kirkuk,s future. 
 
9.  (C) Though the March 29 meeting was an encouraging step, 
pitfalls await.  On the KBL side, key KDP PC members )- who 
tend to take a harder line than their PUK colleagues )- were 
absent, and their approval will be necessary for any deal. 
On the Turkoman side, Ali Mehdi's return could encourage an 
inflation of Turkoman demands beyond what the KBL is willing 
to accommodate to end the boycott.  On the Arab side, Abu 
Saddam's warning means that any deal will be contingent on 
the Arabs community's perception that it has gained some real 
authority and preserved its place in Kirkuk. 
CROCKER

 



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