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WikiLeaks: 2007-08-23: 07BAGHDAD2827: Article 140: Ninewa Faces Serious Downside Risks from Encroaching Green Line

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD2827: August 23, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 05:57 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD2827, ARTICLE 140: NINEWA FACES SERIOUS DOWNSIDE RISKS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD2827 2007-08-23 13:40 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO8064
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2827/01 2351340
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 231340Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2962
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 BAGHDAD 002827 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/21/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PTER KDEM PREL MARR PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: ARTICLE 140: NINEWA FACES SERIOUS DOWNSIDE RISKS 
FROM ENCROACHING "GREEN LINE" 
 
REF: A. 06 BAGHDAD 04017 
     B. BAGHDAD 00559 
     C. BAGHDAD 001849 
     D. BAGHDAD 02154 
 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Team Leader Jason Hyland:  1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
 
Summary 
------- 
1.  (S/NF) Ninewa borders the Kurdish Regional Government 
(KRG) and has a substantial Kurdish population.  Because of a 
Sunni Arab boycott of provincial elections in 2005, the 
Kurdish Alliance (KDP/PUK combined list) has complete control 
over provincial government with a three quarters majority in 
the Provincial Council (PC).  Though Ninewa Governor 
Kashmoula is a Sunni Arab, he was elected on the Kurdish 
list.  The senior PC leadership is Kurdish and Vice-Governor 
Kashro Goran is the Ninewa KDP chairman.  Peshmerga are 
deployed throughout the northern and eastern parts of the 
province and the two Iraqi Army Divisions (2nd and 3rd IAD) 
are majority Kurd.  The areas with Kurdish Security Forces 
(KSF ) both Peshmerga and Assiyash, Kurdish secret police) 
enjoy a relatively permissive environment.  KSF are highly 
capable and closely partnered with Coalition Forces in 
neutralizing terrorist threats, both operationally and 
through intelligence cooperation.  The KRG is an easily 
accessible getaway place for provincial officials. 
 
2.  (S/NF) On the other hand, Sunni Arabs, who constitute the 
clear majority in the province (Note: though exact numbers 
are impossible, the PRT bases its broad estimate on the PDS 
food distribution system and the results of the 2006 
elections. End Note), are counting on a transparent and fair 
Article 140 process to protect what they view as their 
territory.  Through this majority they strongly expect to 
assume political control in the next provincial elections. 
Moderate representatives of the Sunni Arab majority have 
stressed the importance of a transparent Article 140 process 
that will address their core needs.  However, the KDP has 
filled the legal void in the Article 140 process left by the 
central government.  Their aggressive efforts, along with the 
Sunni Arab sense of territorial patrimony, have left an 
opening for terrorists to inject their rejectionist religious 
radicalism with an element of anti-Kurd nationalism.  The 
many minority communities of Ninewa are caught in the middle. 
 Article 140 is the subtext to nearly ever political question 
in Ninewa and mismanagement of this process courts serious 
political and security risks, including increased violence. 
 
Benefits of Kurdish Influence 
----------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU) The Kurdish Alliance (KDP/PUK - in Ninewa primarily 
the former) effectively represents its constituency (perhaps 
15-20 percent of Ninewa's population).  The provincial 
government's administration incorporates educated bureaucrats 
from across Ninewa's diverse population and, when enabled by 
the central government, is an effective executive.  The PC 
has developed institutionally with its current composition, 
with an active committee structure and high attendance 
(reftel). 
 
4.  (S/NF) The most effective Iraqi security forces in Ninewa 
are primarily Kurdish, whether integrated into the Iraqi 
Army, or operating in de facto fashion.  The operational and 
intelligence cooperation they provide to the Coalition is 
invaluable.  As well, almost all senior provincial leadership 
keeps their families in the KRG, inoculating them from 
certain threats from AQI/ISI. The Yezidi leadership lives 
under very heavy Kurdish security ) unlike the villages 
targeted in the August 14 attacks ) so much so that one 
needs to recheck on a map to confirm that they are inside 
Ninewa Province, and not neighboring Dahuk. 
 
Challenges of Kurdish Presence 
------------------------------ 
 
5.  (C/NF) The August 14 bombings in the Yezidi towns of 
Qahtaniya and al Jazeera in western Ninewa are only the 
latest in a series of attacks on Kurdish or 
Kurdish-affiliated targets in the province.  The Kurdish 
Democratic Party (KDP) is a primary target due to its 
aggressive efforts in implementing Article 140, particularly 
as it relates to those disputed territories the Kurds would 
like incorporated into the Kurdistan Regional Government 
(KRG). 
 
6.  (S/NF)  The friction caused by Kurdish expansion into 
 
BAGHDAD 00002827  002 OF 004 
 
 
Ninewa province has allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the 
Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and other terrorist groups to 
interject their agenda with an element of Sunni Arab 
nationalism.  The August 14 attacks took place on the front 
line of forward-deployed Peshmerga units that abut Sunni Arab 
tribal areas to the south.  Sunni leaders in Ninewa have 
warned of a violent response to the Kurdish expansion of the 
KRG. 
 
Arab Community Chafing 
---------------------- 
 
7.  (C) All signals indicate that the Kurdish moves to expand 
the KRG are viewed with suspicion and hostility by the Sunni 
Arab majority in Ninewa.  Sunni Arabs freely admit their 
mistake in boycotting the 2005 elections and are eager for a 
second shot at power through the ballot box.  Provincially, 
both man-on-the-street reporting and discussions with 
high-level Sunni Arab contacts indicate that resistance to 
the Kurds may become increasingly violent.  The Mayor of 
Sunni Arab-dominated Ba'jj (located just south of the August 
14 bombing sites), for example, told the PRT on February 7, 
"Qahtaniya will be part of 140; expect violence from Sunni 
Tribes." (ref D) 
 
8. (C) Dr. Mohammad Shakir (Sunni Arab, Iraqi Islamic Party 
Ninewa Chairman, moderate) condemned the bombings in a 
meeting on August 16 and in a public statement issued by his 
party.  He said the terrorists do such things for the money; 
the question is who pays them.  Hypothesizing on who stands 
to gain from the Qahtaniya bombings, he hinted that the Kurds 
just might be behind it. (Note: We see no basis for this 
notion.)  He also has told the PRT that Kurdish statements 
and actions in regards to Article 140 "help the terrorists." 
 
Article 140 Implementation in Ninewa: 
   Process vs. De Facto Annexation 
------------------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) Steadily, the so-called "Green Line" separating the 
near-normalcy of the KRG from the rest of Iraq has already 
moved deep into Ninewa.  Peshmerga exert a highly productive 
security influence over the districts of Tal Kaif, Hamdaniya, 
Shekhan, Sinjar, and Makhmur ) areas that trace an arc along 
the Dahuk border.  The KDP politically controls the last 
three districts, with a heavy political influence throughout 
northern and eastern Ninewa.  Mayors' offices typically fly 
the Kurdish flag and Dahuk provides significant support. 
During a July 24 meeting in Sinjar with IPAO Polacheck, the 
Mayor let slip that the governor of Dahuk was planning a 
significant number of projects in all three districts but he 
refused to discuss it further. Checkpoints throughout these 
areas also fly the Kurdish flag and are manned by uniformed 
Peshmerga.  In meetings with local notables, the Assiyash 
commanders (Kurdish secret police) openly identify themselves 
as such to the PRT and CF. 
 
10.  (C) Ninewa Deputy Governor Goran repeatedly raises 
European historical analogies to the PRT, and talks 
expansively about the need to bring peace to Iraq by 
following the "Yugoslav example."  In recent months, he said 
the constitution should be reformed to create three "ethnic 
regions" with Baghdad being "open to all, like Belgium." He 
said this idea was behind the Kurdish Alliance's efforts to 
bring the "disputed territories" into the KRG by "reforming" 
the constitution.  Based on TAL 53, Article 143 in the Iraqi 
constitution defines the territory of the KRG and a 
"reformed" definition could simply include the "disputed 
territories."  In any case, he said, "Kurdish security 
forces" were actively "securing" large parts of Ninewa. 
Sinjar KDP district chief Sarbast told the PRT recently that 
"if we were given a free hand, we could secure all of western 
Ninewa and then the people could vote their hearts to join 
the KRG."  The bombed Yezidi villages of Qahtaniya and al 
Jazeera lay along a major fault line claimed by both Sinjar 
district and the Sunni-dominated district of Ba'jj. 
 
11. (S) In Ninewa, Kurdish political parties have rushed to 
fill the vacuum left by slow progress on Article 140 
implementation at the national level.  The "disputed 
territories" in Ninewa stretch strategically along the 
eastern bank of the Tigris up across the northern border with 
Syria.  The minorities who inhabit these areas face a 
difficult choice during the Article 140 process between the 
nationalism of the central government and the relative 
normalcy of the KRG.  Due to security issues, the process 
appears to increasingly hinge on the question of community 
survival rather than a simple preference for which political 
entity they wish to belong. 
 
 
BAGHDAD 00002827  003 OF 004 
 
 
12.  (C) The provincial Article 140 office is located in 
Sinjar, with district offices in Makhmur and Hamdaniya. 
According to officials in these offices, Deputy Governor 
Goran is the Ninewa Article 140 coordinator and they receive 
his "regular technical guidance."  During a June 10 visit to 
the Sinjar office, former-TL Knight and IPAO Polacheck 
observed a well-functioning operation, with over a dozen 
employees busy taking forms from returnees (ref C).  By the 
next visit on July 24, Sinjar-based director told IPAO 
Polacheck that in Sinjar district and Qahtaniya sub-district 
the first two phases (i.e., normalization and census) were 
complete. The director, who is Yezidi, explained the "census" 
mentioned in Article 140 would be the 1957 census which makes 
no reference to ethnicity.  One needs to prove having lived 
in the disputed territories (or be a descendent) to qualify 
as a voter for the referendum.  The director claimed that 
with continued cooperation with the central committee in 
Baghdad, he could not foresee any reason the process would 
not be completed this year. 
 
Ninewa Is Full of Disputed Territories... 
Minorities Are Often Caught in the Middle 
----------------------------------------- 
 
13. (S/NF) Ninewa province has several districts and 
sub-districts that are considered "disputed territories" 
under Article 140 that could be joined to the KRG in a future 
referendum.  Some districts contain divisions between 
majority groups (Sunni Arab, Sunni Kurd), while some contain 
significant minority populations.  These fault lines include: 
 
-- Shikhan district in the northwest and Sinjar district in 
the east (predominately Yezidi with pockets of Sunni Arabs 
and Kurds); 
 
-- Tal Kaif and al Hamdaniya districts east and adjacent to 
Mosul, aka the "Ninewa plain" (predominately Shabak, a 
primarily Shia, Kurdish-speaking cultural minority; and 
Christian with Kurdish influence politically but not 
demographically); 
 
-- Mosul city (Sunni Arab, Kurd; most minorities have fled 
the city): Some KRG and KDP officials have publicly expressed 
their ambitions for the eastern half of the city; 
 
-- Makhmur district in the southeast (predominately Kurd): 
the KRG administers this district although it is technically 
a part of Ninewa province; 
 
-- Tal Afar city in the northwest (Overwhelmingly Turcoman 
Shia and Sunni); 
 
-- Tal Afar subdistrict of Rabe'a, (tribal Sunni Arab, Kurd), 
Rabia town has the Port of Entry with Syria and is the 
significant transit point for foreign fighters and smuggled 
goods; 
 
-- Tal Afar subdistrict of Zumar (predominately Sunni Arab), 
under Kurdish pressure because of historical Kurdish ties and 
because it would provide a bridge from Sinjar in the west to 
the KRG in the east. 
 
14.  (S/NF) The political leadership of all four minority 
communities expressed strong skepticism of Kurdish intentions 
at the beginning of the year and expressed these concerns to 
the PRT and MND-N.  However, earlier in the same day of the 
bombings, the Yezidi emir made a 180-degree turn, insisting 
the Yezidis were Kurds and that the KRG was necessary for 
their protection (reftel).  During Deputy Prime Minister 
Salih's visit to Qahtaniya on August 16, some Yezidi 
villagers said they did not like the extremely heavy Kurdish 
security presence and some placed blame on the Kurds for the 
terror attack because they felt targeted by their association 
with the Kurds. Simiarly, the provincial leadership of the 
Assyrian Democratic Movement, though strongly opposed to 
Article 140, has predicted to the PRT and MND-N that 
Christians will resign themselves to KRG rule as the only 
path to security. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
15.  (S/NF) The August 14 attacks demonstrated that the 
current security measures and the political climate make soft 
targets increasingly desirable.  AQI can burnish Arab 
nationalist credentials while demonstrating that KRG-levels 
normalcy have not fully taken root the parts of Ninewa with 
heavy Kurdish influence.  The attacks may make minority 
communities across the province more willing to accept or 
even demand Peshmerga and Assiyash presence in their 
 
BAGHDAD 00002827  004 OF 004 
 
 
communities.  Kurdish expansion, by whatever methods, is 
present in nearly all political discussions in Ninewa.  This 
has served as propaganda fodder for terrorist groups like AQI 
and ISI in soliciting support by integrating Sunni Arab 
nationalism and the fear of the Kurds with their own 
radicalized Islamic agenda. In Ninewa, the "Green Line" is a 
political and security minefield, and a careful navigation 
will be required. 
CROCKER

 



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