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WikiLeaks: 2009-10-18: 09BAGHDAD2798: PRT Ninewa: Ambassador's Senior Advisor for Northern Iraq Meets Ninewa Leadership

by WikiLeaks. 09BAGHDAD2798: October 18, 2009.

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 09:46 AM UT


Viewing cable 09BAGHDAD2798, PRT NINEWA: AMBASSADOR'S SENIOR ADVISOR FOR

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD2798 2009-10-18 19:08 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO2953
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2798/01 2911908
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181908Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5130
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2//
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002798 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL IZ
SUBJECT: PRT NINEWA: AMBASSADOR'S SENIOR ADVISOR FOR 
NORTHERN IRAQ MEETS NINEWA LEADERSHIP 
 
Classified By: A/DCM Gary A. Grappo for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (U) Summary:  The Ambassador,s Senior Advisor for 
Northern Iraq, Alan Misenheimer, joined Ninewa PRT on 
September 22-24 for a tour of Ninewa, meeting key political 
and religious leaders and gaining a first-hand view of the 
province.  In extended conversations, the Senior Advisor 
heard from Sunni Arab leaders like Ninewa Governor Atheel 
al-Nujaifi and Sheikh Abdullah al-Yawar al-Shammari (details 
on the latter reported septel), Kurdish politicians (KDP 
Mosul chief Khisro Goran and Sinjar Mayor Dakhel Qasim 
Hassun) and Christian leaders in the disputed district of Tel 
Kayf.  The meetings underscored the importance of urging 
continued progress on efforts to broker a power-sharing 
agreement between Arab and Kurdish politicians in Mosul, and 
highlighted the extent to which the presence of Peshmerga and 
Assayesh elements in areas of Ninewa not considered to be 
historically Kurdish constitutes a potential flashpoint. End 
summary. 
GOVERNOR DISPARAGES GOI, PREDICTS LOW VOTER TURNOUT 
 
2. (C) On September 24, the Senior Advisor and PRT TL met 
with Ninewa Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi.  Al-Nujaifi expressed 
frustration with the central government in Baghdad.  Claiming 
the GOI wanted any measures towards reconciliation to "be on 
their terms and beneficial to their political agenda", he 
flatly said the central government did not want Arab-Kurd 
reconciliation.  He noted that there was insufficient 
political will at the national level to "pay the hard prices" 
required to achieve reconciliation, in part because PM 
Maliki's government was too thin-skinned and "could not bear 
to have anything said against it". 
 
3. (C) Al-Nujaifi predicted low voter turnout and said Iraqis 
were "lukewarm" about the upcoming national election, mostly 
because they were largely uninterested in politics.  The 
majority of Iraqis still believe the political process is 
dominated by dynamics and personalities beyond their ability 
to influence, and therefore see little value in voting or 
other forms of political participation.  The Senior Advisor 
noted that while the U.S. could provide technical support to 
the elections, it was ultimately up to the Iraqi people - 
with encouragement from their leaders - to participate. 
Al-Nujaifi claimed that political campaigning was currently 
impossible in many areas of the province because of the 
presence of Peshmerga forces, which blocked al-Hadba and 
other non-Kurdish politicians from entering them and which 
would impede free and fair voting in the upcoming election 
unless checked. 
 
GREATER U.S. ROLE DESIRED 
 
4. (C) Al-Nujaifi called on the U.S. to play a greater role 
in resolving Arab-Kurd issues in Ninewa.  Claiming the KRG 
had recently deployed additional Peshmerga forces to areas of 
Ninewa and Sinjar, he complained that the Peshmerga had 
deliberately expanded their presence well beyond positions 
they originally held as a blocking force against Saddam's 
Iraqi Army.  Peshmerga and Assayesh (Kurdish intelligence) 
forces were actively harassing non-Kurds, who believed the 
Kurds were trying to lay claim to sizeable portions of Ninewa 
as a bargaining chip in eventual final status negotiations. 
Non-Kurds were keen to prevent any further movement of 
Peshmerga reinforcements into Ninewa Province; Coalition 
Forces could and should do more to push back against 
Peshmerga and Asayish encroachment. 
 
5. (C) On the effort led by DPM Rafi al-Issawi to broker a 
provincial power-sharing agreement between al-Hadba and the 
Qprovincial power-sharing agreement between al-Hadba and the 
(Kurdish) Ninewa Fraternal League, al-Nujaifi called for 
implementation of measures the two sides had already agreed 
on.  Agreement had been reached on issues such as member 
participation in the Provincial Council, putting Kurdish 
teachers on the province's payroll, payment of damages claims 
and proportional recruitment from Ninewa of new cadres for 
the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army.  Those measures should in 
his view be implemented regardless of whether the more 
contentious disagreements over leadership positions and 
withdrawal of the Peshmerga and Assayesh were reached. 
 
THE KURDISH VIEW IN NINEWA 
 
6. (C) The Senior Advisor also met on September 24 with 
Khisro Goran, Mosul chief of the Kurdish Democratic Party and 
former Ninewa Vice Governor.  Goran reiterated his support 
for a joint security initiative in the DIBs until a permanent 
solution could be reached under the rubric of Article 140 of 
the constitution.  Goran believed DPM al-Issawi genuinely 
wanted to achieve progress in reconciling Arab-Kurd tensions 
in Ninewa, in part to burnish his image in advance of the 
national election.  He assessed that al-Issawi has "some 
 
BAGHDAD 00002798  002 OF 002 
 
 
influence" over al-Nujaifi and rejected the idea - rumored in 
some GOI circles - that negotiations between al-Hadba and the 
Ninewa Fraternal League in Ninewa be postponed until after 
the election.  At the same time, he made clear his strong 
personal antipathy toward al-Nujaifi. 
 
UNLESS KIRKUK VOTES, KURDS WILL MEDDLE WITH MOSUL 
 
7. (C) On the national election, Goran flatly said that 
unless a mechanism were found to allow Kirkuk to participate, 
the Kurds would prevent elections from happening in Mosul as 
well.  Provincial elections in Kirkuk in January 2009 had 
been canceled to prevent an electoral rout by Kurds and the 
national census had been canceled because Arabs feared it 
would substantiate claims of a clear Kurdish majority in 
Kirkuk, he said.  Kurds would not countenance exempting 
Kirkuk from the national election.  Asked about a proposal 
that parliamentary seats be apportioned on a 32-32-32-4 
(Arab-Kurd-Turkoman-Minorities) basis, Goran argued that if 
such a formula were used for Kirkuk, it should be also used 
for Mosul. 
 
ASSAYESH DO NOT (NOW) DETAIN INDIVIDUALS 
 
8. (C) Asked about allegations of extrajudicial detentions 
and abuse by the Assayesh in Kurd-controlled areas of Ninewa, 
Goran claimed it was an unarmed organization that only 
collected intelligence about extremist groups and worked to 
disrupt them. When pressed, he conceded that the Assayesh 
sometimes obtain information about "bad guys" and "asked them 
to appear for questioning8, but claimed that only occurred 
in Kurdish-held areas, and not in Mosul itself.  He quickly 
added that the Assayesh do not have the right to arrest or 
detain individuals, but conceded that there "may have been 
some incidents" in the past in which the Assayesh exceeded 
their brief. 
 
SINJARIS LIKE JCPS; CHRISTIANS DECRY LACK OF RESULTS 
 
9. (C) The Senior Advisor, PRT TL, and 3-1 Cavalry Brigade 
Commander paid a courtesy call on Dakhel Qasim Hassun, the 
Mayor of Kurdish-controlled Sinjar District in western 
Ninewa.  Dakhel expressed support for joint checkpoints 
(three of which have been proposed in Sinjar) and restated 
the Kurdish party line that the Article 140 process must 
proceed.  He also alleged that Sheikh Abdullah al-Yawar and 
Mohammed Yunis, a former Ba,athist general, worked together 
to finance terrorist operations. 
 
10. (C) On a visit to the Christian village of Al Qosh in the 
disputed district of Tel Kayf, the Senior Advisor and PRT TL 
met with Mayor Bassim Bello and later with Chaldean priests 
at the Dair Rabban Hurmiz Monastery.  At both locations, 
Christian leaders spoke about the difficulties of living 
under Kurdish forces.  Bello complained of the illegal 
presence of Peshmerga and Assayesh in his district and 
objected to the term &disputed area8 - in his opinion, 
there is no dispute that it is Christian territory (as 
opposed to Arab or Kurdish).  Bello also cited the increasing 
number of Christian families who leave the area for 
destinations outside of Iraq due to economic hardship, a 
point echoed later by one of the priests at the monastery. 
The priests also expressed displeasure with U.S. policies, 
saying people had great hope when the U.S. arrived, but now, 
despite billions of dollars spent, they still lack basic 
services. 
 
11.  (C) Comment: The Senior Advisor took advantage of his 
first trip to Ninewa to meet a wide variety of players in the 
province and to underscore to his interlocutors the high 
level of USG interest in the current situation in Ninewa. The 
meetings underscored the importance of urging continued 
Qmeetings underscored the importance of urging continued 
progress on the DPM al-Issawi effort to broker an 
al-Hadba-Ninewa Fraternal League power-sharing agreement, in 
part to help mitigate any putative effort by the Kurds to 
hold Mosul hostage to ensure that Kirkuk is able to 
participate in the upcoming election.  Gaining an 
understanding of how provocative the presence of Peshmerga 
and Assayesh elements in areas of Ninewa not considered to be 
historically Kurdish was equally important.  As we move ahead 
with efforts to promote Arab-Kurd reconciliation, we will 
need to consider what our position is with respect to the 
continued presence of Peshmerga and Assayesh in those areas. 
End comment. 
FORD

 



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