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WikiLeaks: 2008-08-13: 08BAGHDAD2560: Ninewa: Two Prominent Sunni Leaders Criticize US Policy Toward the KRG

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2560: August 12, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 04:58 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD2560, NINEWA: TWO PROMINENT SUNNI LEADERS CRITICIZE US

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2560 2008-08-13 14:04 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO9594
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2560/01 2261404
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 131404Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8819
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002560 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: TWO PROMINENT SUNNI LEADERS CRITICIZE US 
POLICY TOWARD THE KRG 
 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Leader Alex Laskaris: Reasons 1.4 (b&d) 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
 
1.  (C/NF) Summary:  Two prominent Sunni leaders in Ninewa 
Province criticized the USG, claiming that we are backing the 
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); both said that US 
support for the redrawing of Ninewa's provincial boundaries 
would lead to violence in the province, and both criticized 
the KRG for authoritarian rule within the region, and for 
heavy-handed tactics in areas of Ninewa under its effective 
control.  Both said that the experience of traversing Kurdish 
checkpoints was humiliating, and both said that Kurdish Iraqi 
Army divisions in Ninewa were not under GOI control.  Neither 
leader acknowledged the suffering of the Kurds under the 
Saddam Hussein regime or recognized the superior security and 
economic conditions in areas under Kurdish control.  End 
summary. 
 
2.  (C/NF) PRT leader paid a courtesy call on Sheikh of 
Sheikhs Abdullah, traditional leader of the Shammar tribe, on 
July 31.  Along with acting 3rd ACR RCO, PRT leader traveled 
to Rabia'a, near the Syrian border, for a meeting with 
Abdullah and his two brothers.  On August 5, PRT leader met 
with Dr. Muhammed Shakr, Ninewa head of the Iraqi Islamic 
Party (IIP) and three of his colleagues.  Both Abdullah and 
Shakr are longtime PRT and USG contacts; both profess 
friendship to the coalition and eagerness to engage in the 
political process.  Between Shakr's leadership of the IIP and 
Abdullah's overt support for Al-Hudba, the two men represent 
the visible spectrum of Sunni engagement in the political 
process.  Shakr is a UK-trained ophthalmologist, while 
Abdullah represents a form of political legitimacy that 
predates modern Iraq. 
 
3.  (C/NF) Abdullah said that there are those "who believe 
the U.S. is willing to cede parts of Ninewa to the KRG under 
the Article 140 process."  He said this could have dire 
consequences, including turning Sunni public opinion against 
the USG and emboldening the KRG to make additional demands. 
Abdullah repeatedly maintained that "all the Americans have 
to do is tell the Kurds to stop."  We noted our support for 
the UN process, and the fact that Abdullah had already made 
these views know to the UN's negotiating team, as well as to 
senior US officials. 
 
4.  (C/NF) Abdullah complained that the KRG is actively 
impeding political activity in areas under its full or 
partial control.  He said that the KRG's instrument of choice 
was Kurdish units of the Iraqi Army, and their charge of 
choice was always "terrorism."  He cited the example of a 
Yezidi member of Al-Hudba arrested by the Kurdish IA 
commander in Sinjar ) on charges of terrorism ) because he 
had tried to open party offices in the area and flown the 
Iraqi flag.  (Note:  Discussions with 3rd ACR confirmed 
Abdullah's account.) 
 
5.  (C/NF) Abdullah accused the KRG of racism against Sunni 
Arabs, citing the humiliations the latter endure at Peshmerga 
checkpoints even when they are seeking medical care.  He 
referred to Kurdish IA divisions as KDP instruments fielded 
as a means of gaining territory and oppressing Sunni Arabs. 
He said that the failure of the KDP-dominated provincial 
government was another example of Kurdish racism. 
 
6.  (C/NF) For his part, Shakr said the main impediment to 
security in the province was the Kurdish-dominated Second 
Division of the Iraqi Army.  Shakr insisted that violence 
will only recede once genuinely representative Iraqi Army and 
Iraqi police units are recruited from throughout the province. 
 
7.  (C/NF) Shakr and other members of the IIP delegation said 
they blamed the US for insecurity in Ninewa, saying that we 
had "done nothing to reel in KDP leader Barzani."   Shakr 
said that there is growing distrust of American intentions, 
with many Sunnis believing that there is a "secret deal" with 
the Kurds on Kirkuk.  We rebutted the claims.  We said that 
the security situation in the province has been steadily 
improving, and that, thanks to CF and ISF, it is better than 
the underlying socio-economic conditions would make one 
expect.  We added that the US continues to support the UN-led 
process on disputed internal boundaries, which is the means 
by which Iraqis have agreed to address the issue. 
 
8.  (C/NF) Shakr said that there should be no attempts to 
change internal borders until the Iraqi government can 
improve security and establish the rule of law.  Shakr said 
 
BAGHDAD 00002560  002 OF 002 
 
 
he believed that a solution could be worked out with the 
Kurds through dialogue.  He added, however, that only more 
violence will result if the Kurds try to reach for more 
territory in Ninewa.  We agreed on the need for dialogue, but 
said that all need to support the UN-led process and make 
clear their opposition to violence.  We noted that making 
security and the rule of law preconditions for resolving the 
issue amounted to saying that it should not be addressed at 
all. 
 
9.  (C/NF) Comment: These conversations, seen alongside 
recent PRT reporting on Yezidi and Assyrian Christian views, 
bring the issue of internal boundaries into high relief in 
Ninewa Province.  We will continue to inform our 
interlocutors of our support the UN-led process, but expect 
continued polarization on this issue.  Both Abdullah and 
Shakr are longtime contacts of the PRT and CF; although they 
have personal political interests at stake, we believe they 
are also reflecting grass-roots Sunni Arab opinion.  End 
Comment. 
CROCKER

 



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