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WikiLeaks: 2008-07-21: 08BAGHDAD2271: Ninewah: Provincial Elections Chief Says Security Incidents Have Not Derailed Voter Registration

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2271: July 21, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 04:04 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD2271, NINEWAH: PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS CHIEF SAYS SECURITY

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2271 2008-07-21 17:22 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO2566
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2271 2031722
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211722Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8417
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 002271 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWAH:  PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS CHIEF SAYS SECURITY 
INCIDENTS HAVE NOT DERAILED VOTER REGISTRATION 
 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Leader Alex Laskaris, Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.    (C) Despite security incidents affecting four Voter 
Registration Centers (VRCs) since July 15, the registration 
process in Ninewa is going &better than expected," according 
to Governorate Electoral Office (GEO) Director Abdel Haleq. 
In a July 17 meeting, Abdel Haleq told us he has employed an 
aggressive outreach process, including working with local 
imams, to encourage registration.  There have been some 
relocations of VRCs; PRT is following up to ensure these take 
place on legitimate reasons, for instance on security grounds 
or in order to increase access to potential registrants, as 
opposed to being moves to disenfranchise some voting groups, 
as is sometimes alleged.  End summary 
 
Voter Registration Off to a Good Start 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2.    (C) On July 17, GEO Director Abdel Haleq met with two 
members of Ninewa PRT and three representatives from 3rd 
Armored Cavalry Regiment to discuss the status of voter 
registration.  According to Abdel Haleq, each VRC has been 
seeing an average of 100)150 Ninewa residents per day and 
1-2 Internally Displaced Persons per day. He thought this was 
on the low side, but expects the numbers to increase as the 
deadline for registration approaches.  (Note: According to 
the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), VRCs in 
Ninewa have had the largest turnout of any in the country 
each of the days the centers have been open.  End Note)  The 
ongoing voter registration awareness campaign is being 
conducted in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkoman, and Assyrian using 
television, radio, and print media.  As an additional 
measure, Abdel Haleq has recently enlisted the help of local 
imams to help get the message out. 
 
GEO Director Claims Less Violence than Expected 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Abdel Haleq confirmed there have been four security 
incidents during the registration process.  At Babjadede, an 
IHEC guard was killed by sniper fire.  At al Yarmook, a group 
of men entered the center as if they were going to register, 
then severely beat staff and destroyed furniture.  The staff 
resigned, but the VRC was restaffed and reopened in three 
days.  The staff at Tal Abta also resigned due to threats, so 
the VRC has been moved to a safer location in Al Hather.  At 
al Jazar, a VBIED went off near the center and shots were 
fired near the VRC, but there were no injuries. 
Responsibility for the incidents is not known.  According to 
the Director, security is generally adequate, and although 
&terrorist activity8 remains one of his biggest challenges, 
the level of violence is less than he expected. 
 
Some Movement of VRC Locations 
-------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) When asked about allegations that a VRC in Sinjar had 
been moved from a predominantly Arab area (Bouleje) to a 
predominantly Kurdish Area (Talabonat), Abdel Haleq said he 
was unaware but would follow up immediately to determine the 
veracity of the report.  In general, elections officials have 
been willing to move VRCs as necessary.  In addition to the 
move from Tal Abta to Al Hather for security reasons, VRCs in 
Zuhur, Gayara, and Ribiyah have been moved to locations where 
security blockades will be less of a disruption to people 
trying to access the facility. 
 
5. (C) Comment:  While so far there has been no large scale 
violence interfering with the registration process, the four 
security incidents have forced elections officials to react 
quickly lest the threat of violence selectively 
disenfranchise certain ethnic or sectarian groups.  Because 
movement of VRCs could arouse suspicion that authorities are 
seeking to suppress or augment registration of certain 
groups, PRT will follow up to ensure we understand the 
motivations and consequences of such moves.  To support GEO 
outreach efforts, PRT will inquire how other religious and 
secular leaders can help spread the word too. 
CROCKER

 



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