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WikiLeaks: 2008-03-05: 08BAGHDAD661: PRT Kirkuk: Negotiations to end Turkman Boycott of Provincial Council Continue

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD661: March 05, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 11:38 AM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD661, PRT KIRKUK: NEGOTIATIONS TO END TURKMAN BOYCOT OF

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD661 2008-03-05 20:50 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXYZ2793
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #0661/01 0652050
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 052050Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6080
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000661 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: PRT KIRKUK: NEGOTIATIONS TO END TURKMAN BOYCOT OF 
PROVINCIAL COUNCIL CONTINUE 
 
REF: A) BAGHDAD 586 B) BAGHDAD 660 
 
Classified By: PRT Kirkuk Team Leader Howard Keegan for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (U) This is a PRT Kirkuk reporting cable. 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
2.  (C) The Kirkuk Brotherhood List (KBL) met with the 
Turkman Bloc on March 2 to continue discussions on a 
resolution to the Turkman Bloc's boycott of the Kirkuk 
Provincial Council.  The KBL arrived prepared to sign on five 
of the seven points, but negotiations slowed when the two 
parties could not reach agreement on the remaining two 
points.  On a positive note, negotiations were considerably 
more constructive without the presence of Ali Mahdi (Turkman 
Bloc), who was considered to be an obstructionist by members 
of both blocs during the first round of negotiations.  The 
next session is scheduled for March 6. END SUMMARY. 
 
NO SETTLEMENT; NEXT NEGOTIATION MEETING SET 
------------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) The Kirkuk Brotherhood List (KBL) met with the Arab 
Bloc on March 2 to continue negotiations regarding a return 
of the Turkman Bloc to the Kirkuk Provincial Council 
following their 14 month absence.  This session followed a 
negotiation meeting held on February 24 (Ref B).  While no 
agreement was signed between the two parties, the March 2 
meeting was more productive than the previous session with 
several points being agreed to in principle by the KBL.  Ali 
Mahdi, the previous lead negotiator for the KBL and largely 
seen as a destabilizing force by even some Turkman Bloc 
members, was notably absent from the March 2 session.  The 
next negotiation meeting is scheduled to take place on March 
6. The two parties demonstrated real concern to further the 
political reconciliation process in Kirkuk Province. 
 
KBL AGREES TO FIVE OF SEVEN POINTS 
---------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C) Rizgar Ali, Chairman of the Provincial Council and 
lead negotiator for the KBL, took a conciliatory tone during 
the meeting and encouraged the Turkman Bloc to sign on the 
points already in agreement.  KBL negotiators used this same 
tactic to successfully end the Arab Bloc's boycott of the 
Kirkuk Provincial Council in December 2007.  Using this 
approach, the KBL supported signing on the five points in 
agreement by the KBL and the Turkman Bloc, leaving the 
remaining two points for further discussion.  The KBL's logic 
for their approach stems from the desire for both blocs to 
show forward momentum on the boycott negotiations.  However, 
the Turkman Bloc disagreed questioning the tactic should they 
fail to agree on the first two points. 
 
5.  (U) The Turkman Bloc's proposals include seven points 
reported reftel.  The KBL indicated early during the 
negotiation that they were prepared to sign an agreement on 
five of the seven points.  These five points are joint 
administration of government entities, the resolution of 
contested occupation of public and private property, an 
ethnically equitable reconstruction program, 
de-politicization of the provincial reconstruction and 
development program, and cessation of Turkman DG harassment. 
 
LEGAL GUIDANCE SOUGHT FOR TURKMANI LANGUAGE ON GOVT SIGNS 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
6.  (C) While the KBL was prepared to sign an agreement on 
the five points, they also agreed "in principal" to the 
remaining two points.  The first point calls for Turkmani to 
be officially recognized as one of the official languages of 
Kirkuk Province (along with Kurdish and Arabic.)  As a 
goodwill gesture, the Turkman Bloc called for signs on all 
government buildings to include the Turkmani language.  KBL 
representatives indicated that they agreed on the importance 
to recognize the Turkmani language but had problems with 
ambiguous language within Article four of the Iraqi 
Constitution.   Article four (para 4) indicates that "the 
Turkoman language and the Syriac language are two other 
official languages in the administrative units in which they 
constitute a density of population."  KBL representatives 
want a review of the terms "population density" and 
"administrative units" by a federal judge in Baghdad.  The 
Turkman Bloc countered that a local judge could provide this 
interpretation in a more expedient manner.  No further 
progress was made on this point and the Turkman Bloc 
expressed grave concern on how long such a review by a 
federal judge could take.  In an apparent show of concern, 
the PC Chairman instructed the Legal Committee to draft a 
 
formal letter to be sent to Baghdad requesting clarification 
of the terms. 
 
TURKMAN BLOC PUSHES FOR SECOND DEPUTY GOVERNOR NOW 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
7.  (C) The second point agreed to "in principle" by the KBL 
calls for the Turkman Bloc to be allocated a position of 
leadership within the provincial government.  The Turkman 
Bloc lobbied for either the position of Governor, Deputy 
Governor, or Provincial Council Chair.  After it became clear 
that the positions for Governor and Provincial Council Chair 
were occupied, the Turkman Bloc argued for creating a second 
Deputy Governor position.  The KBL countered that it was 
prepared to offer the Chairman of the City Council position. 
The Turkman representatives dismissed this out of hand and 
continued lobbying for a new Deputy Governor position.  This 
position would be in addition to the Arab Deputy Governor 
installed in January 2008 as part of the Arab Bloc boycott 
resolution.  KBL representatives indicated that they would 
support this once the Provincial Powers Law was ratified and 
gazetted.  From their view, the Turkman Bloc would push to 
immediately install a Turkman into a second Deputy Governor 
position upon the end of their boycott. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8.  (C) While no agreement was signed, it's noteworthy to 
consider that the two parties are closer to an agreement than 
might otherwise be indicated.  The Turkman have much to gain, 
especially in regard to joint administration if one considers 
they represent only 20 percent of the provincial population 
but stand to gain 32 percent of higher level government 
positions (i.e. Director General.)  The KBL's intention to 
sign on points three through seven has merit as the two 
parties could then focus their discussions on the remaining 
two points.  In addition, the two parties could publicly show 
progress towards an agreement to end the boycott.  While not 
voiced, the KBL is also probably concerned about previous 
Turkman tendencies to shift demands as negotiations proceed. 
In fact, from August to October 2007, during a previous 
series of negotiation meetings, talks failed when the KBL 
became frustrated at the Turkman Bloc's tactic of switching 
and increasing demands as negotiations progressed. 
 
9.  (C) Ali Mahdi's absence was evident as the two sides 
negotiated constructively for the first time in these 
negotiations.  Even members of the Turkman Bloc indicated 
that they seemed to be making more progress without Mahdi. 
The PRT has encouraged the Turkman Bloc to present other 
Turkman members to negotiate on behalf of the bloc.  Thus 
far, Mahdi has not proven himself to be a savvy negotiator, 
instead resorting to lengthy tirades including negative 
language and accusations.  It probably did not help Mahdi's 
case that following the February 24 session, he resorted to 
typically caustic language accusing the KBL of not supporting 
negotiations and the PRT of inaction.  Mahdi sees himself as 
the leader of the Turkman Bloc, although privately six of 
eight members have voiced their concerns regarding Mahdi's 
abilities to negotiate.  While Mahdi was not present at the 
day's negotiation session, he still wields considerable 
influence over the remaining members. 
 
10.  (C) The Arab Bloc is watching closely from the sidelines 
and is showing signs of anxiety on the issue of a second 
Deputy Governor.  The KBL-Arab Bloc agreement, signed in 
December 2007, called for only one Deputy Governor to be 
installed.  Recently, members of the Arab Bloc, as well as 
the Arab Deputy Governor, voiced their concerns that they 
will not accept a second Deputy Governor as this would 
violate the terms of their boycott agreement with the KBL. 
END COMMENT. 
CROCKER

 



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