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WikiLeaks: 2008-11-01: 08BAGHDAD3468: Defense Under Secretary Edelman Meets Leaders of Kirkuk's Ethnic Blocs; Kurds Refuse to Attend

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD3468: November 01, 2008.

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD3468, DEFENSE UNDER SECRETARY EDELMAN MEETS LEADERS OF

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD3468 2008-11-01 06:55 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO0902
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3468/01 3060655
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010655Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0168
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003468 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: DEFENSE UNDER SECRETARY EDELMAN MEETS LEADERS OF 
KIRKUK,S ETHNIC BLOCS; KURDS REFUSE TO ATTEND 
 
Classified By: Kirkuk PRT Leader Howard Keegan: Reasons 1.4 (b and d) 
 
THIS IS A PRT KIRKUK REPORTING CABLE. 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric 
Edelman engaged Arab, Turkoman and Christian provincial 
leaders of Kirkuk on 20 October 2008 to discuss ethnic 
cooperation and Article 23 of the provincial elections law. 
Kurdish leaders declined to attend due to the inclusion of 
Sheik Abu Saddam, a Sunni Arab leader from Hawija district. 
The Turkomen representatives blamed Kirkuk,s problems on 
outside forces, claimed an increase in the activities of 
"non-official police" in the province, and expressed support 
for the draft Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) as long as it 
does not infringe on Iraqi sovereignty.  Arab representatives 
voiced their support for the Article 24 Committee, especially 
where it concerns joint administration.  They stated firmly 
that Kirkuk cannot join the KRG.  The Christian 
representative commented on the plight of Christians in Iraq, 
and criticized the removal of Article 50 (dealing with 
minority rights) from the provincial elections law.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman 
traveled to Kirkuk on 20 October 2008 to meet leaders of the 
province,s main ethnic groups.  He opened the meeting by 
praising the people of Kirkuk for their history of living and 
working together in harmony.  He stated that politics is not 
a zero-sum game, but instead requires compromise.  He said 
that the United States does not play favorites among the 
ethnicities of Iraq, and asked for patience as complicated 
issues such as land reform are tackled.  Under Secretary 
Edelman finished by commenting that the problems of Kirkuk 
will be solved through the spirit of patience and compromise, 
not from people or entities outside of Iraq that seek to 
influence events in their favor. 
 
3. (C) Absent from the event were any Kurdish leaders.  The 
PRT invited Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) Chairman Rizgar 
Ali (PUK) and Kurdish KPC member Mohammed Kamal (KDP).  Upon 
receiving the invitation on 19 October 2008, Rizgar expressed 
displeasure over the inclusion of Arab Sheik Hussein Ali 
Salih (aka Abu Saddam).  He explained that as a district 
level leader, Abu Saddam should not be elevated to the level 
of a provincial leader.  After discussions with the PRT Team 
Leader, however, Rizgar indicated that despite his 
objections, he would attend the event.  Approximately one 
hour prior to the meeting with Under Secretary Edelman, 
Rizgar surprised the PRT by advising it that he would not 
attend.  Mohammed Kamal likely followed Rizgar,s lead and 
also did not attend. 
 
4. (C) Hassan Toran and Tahseen Kahea, both KPC members, 
represented the Turkomen people of Kirkuk.  Hassan Toran said 
forces outside the province such as Saddam Hussein and the 
two main Kurdish parties (PUK and KDP) created the problems 
in Kirkuk.  While indicating that the Turkomen are not 
against the return of legitimately displaced Kirkukis, Toran 
objected to the Kurds' political abuse of the right of 
return.  Toran also mentioned that "non-official police" 
(referring to the Kurdish secret police, the Asayish) are 
increasing their activity in the province and are abusing 
human rights.  Kahea stated that the Turkomen had no 
objections to the draft SOFA, as long as its provisions did 
not infringe upon Iraq,s sovereignty. 
 
5. (C) Abu Saddam, a Hawija district leader, and Mohammed 
Khalil, KPC member, represented the Arabs.  Both Arab leaders 
commented on the Kurdish failure to follow through on the 
"December 2 Agreement" (also known as the &Thirteen Point 
Agreement8) which ended the Arab boycott of the KPC last 
December.  Abu Saddam said that, if the Kurds had acted in 
good faith on this agreement, &eighty-percent8 of the 
problems of Kirkuk would be solved by now.  Abu Saddam 
continued that Article 24 must be implemented in full, 
especially where it concerns joint administration.  He 
finished by saying, &Kirkuk cannot joint the KRG, the Iraqi 
people won,t stand for it."  Khalil predicted that the KDP 
in particular will obstruct the work of the Article 24 
Committee.  Khalil said that the Arabs support the 
reintroduction of Article 50 into the elections law &to 
protect our Christian brothers,8 and the establishment of a 
&special status8 for Kirkuk. 
 
6. (C) Sylvana Bouya, KPC member, represented the 
Chaldo-Assyrian Christians.  The removal of Article 50 from 
the provincial elections law created a problem for the 
Christians.  She hoped that the "a system8 will be 
reintroduced because it &helps the Christians and other 
minorities.8   She quoted that 30 Christian families fled to 
 
BAGHDAD 00003468  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kirkuk from the violence in Mosul.  She claimed a further 
2,354 families recently fled Mosul to other locations. 
 
7. (C) Under Secretary Edelman closed the meeting by 
expressing optimism over the following common themes he 
heard:  adherence to rule of law and the constitution; 
building on Kirkuk,s history of tolerance; and the necessity 
of humane treatment for all.  He encouraged the leaders of 
Kirkuk to work with the Article 24 Committee as they begin 
their work.  Under Secretary Edelman mentioned Article 50, 
saying that his colleagues in Baghdad are working to get the 
spirit if not the letter of the article in place.  He 
referred to the SOFA as a &very important agreement8 that 
&fully reflects Iraq,s sovereignty.8  He stated that the 
draft SOFA is consistent with agreements the USA has with 
other governments in the Middle East.  He stressed the 
importance of passing the SOFA, saying it will provide a 
basis for a strategic partnership between the U.S., Iraq, and 
the entire region. 
 
8. (U) This cable has been cleared by USD(P) Edelman. 
 
 
CROCKER

 



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