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WikiLeaks: 2009-10-29: 09BAGHDAD2897: Kirkuk Parties Explore Coalition Options, Await Election Law

by WikiLeaks. 09BAGHDAD2897: October 29, 2009.

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 09:55 AM UT


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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD2897 2009-10-29 13:45 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
DE RUEHGB #2897/01 3021345
P 291345Z OCT 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002897 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2019 
Classified By: PRT Kirkuk Team Leader Gabriel Escobar for reasons 1.4 ( 
b) and (d). 
1. (U) This is a PRT Kirkuk Message. 
2. (U) Summary: Amid continuing uncertainty over the election 
law, political parties in Kirkuk province are hard at work 
sizing up potential coalition partners.  While final choices 
of partners will largely be determined by the election law, 
the outlines of the three major parties - Kurds, Arabs and 
Turkomans - have begun to take shape.  The Kurdish KDP/PUK 
bloc is seeking to maintain voting discipline to preserve the 
integrity of the Kurdish coalition.  Turkomans have sought to 
form a wide array of coalitions in the belief that such an 
approach will maximize their chances of securing seats.  Arab 
parties, which are essentially split between two large 
factions, are struggling to achieve some modicum of unity 
(despite differing agendas and personal enmity between the 
two groups' leaders) to bolster their chances at the polls. 
End Summary. 
Kurdish Parties 
- - - - - - - - 
3. (U) The KDP and PUK teaming up is as close a certainty as 
can be found in the province.  Whether an open list (voters 
choose individual candidates) or hybrid system (voters choose 
either party lists or individual candidates) are used for the 
parliamentary election, the Kurds will try to maintain voting 
discipline to maximize their results.  While the KDP and PUK 
ran separately in Kurdish regional elections, the Kurdish 
Islamic Union and Kurdish Toiler,s Party ran combined with 
PUK and KDP in Diyala and Ninewa in the 2009 provincial 
elections. Additionally, Kurdish-backed minority parties 
(Turkoman parties, the Assyrian Democratic Movement and 
Assyrian People,s Party, for example) have the potential to 
pick up minority or at-large seats. 
4. (U) The new variable is the Goran (Change) list, which ran 
on a strongly anti-incumbent (KDP, PUK) platform in the 
recent KRG elections. In discussions with General Rostum and 
Shorsh Hajji, they said they will run a solo campaign, and 
will entertain coalition offers after the election. Attempts 
by the KDP and PUK to intimidate Goran supporters in the 
province have had very limited success; Arab politicians from 
the sub-districts of Moltoka and Zaab have said they are 
happy to provide surreptitious financial and other support to 
Goran as payback for what they regard as past efforts by the 
PUK and KDP efforts to keep Arab parties fragmented and weak. 
Arab Parties 
- - - - - - - - 
5. (U) The Arab community remains frustrated by their 
inability to create a unified bloc to compete with the 
KDP/PUK coalition.  The two main local movements have tried 
for months to create a coalition, but those efforts have 
failed due to differences between the two main personalities 
and their backers.  Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jaburi, the Hawija 
District Council Chair, leads the Arab Unity Bloc, which is 
supported by tribal affiliates of the Jaburis and rural areas 
in the south of Kirkuk Province.  Ahmed Obeidi leads the 
Iraqi Kirkuk Front and gathers his strength from more 
educated and urban Arabs and tribes affiliated with the 
Obeidi family.  Both are trying to attract financial support 
from national level parties and find a way to unite their 
groups; those efforts have foundered on the mutual enmity 
between al-Jaburi and Obeidi and their different 
constituencies; this is shown in Ahmed Obeidi,s continual 
phone messages to the PRT accusing the Jaburi side of 
corruption, and comments from Hussein al-Jaburi,s bagman 
Hassan Nsaef that Ahmed Obeidi is &Only good for a lunch8. 
QHassan Nsaef that Ahmed Obeidi is &Only good for a lunch8. 
The relative strength of the parties for now appears to be 
6. (U) National Sunni Arab parties, such as the National 
Movement for Reform and Development and the Iraqi National 
Dialogue Front, are waiting for the election law.  If it 
prescribes a single district, closed list system, they will 
be in a good position to add local Arab parties (which would 
stand little chance of winning seats at the national level 
under a closed-list system) to their coalition.  However, if 
the law dictates a multi-district approach, whether closed or 
open, local parties will be courted by national parties. 
Local parties have stated a preference to avoid strong 
national partners, whom they perceive would be less 
influenced by their proposals on Kirkuk. 
Turkoman Communities 
BAGHDAD 00002897  002 OF 002 
- - - - - - - - 
7. (C) The current strategy of Turkoman parties, per 
discussion with Provincial Councilmen Hassan Toran and 
Tahseen Kahea, is to form coalitions with a number of parties 
to help ensure that they win seats by dint of their coalition 
partners. (Note: There are persistent rumors in Kirkuk that 
this strategy was dictated by Ankara in a series of meetings 
during Ramadan.  End note.)  Previous results by Turkomans to 
field a unified list have been disappointing; the Iraqi 
Turkoman Front (ITF) won a single seat in the December 2005 
national elections.  Shi'a Turkomans, who see their religious 
identity as their primary affiliation, will continue to 
support the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi National Alliance, 
essentially recapitulating their support for the 
Shi'a-dominated United Iraqi Alliance in 2005. 
8. (U) Interviews with Sunni and Shi'a Turkoman politicians 
admit their strategy depends heavily on the final election 
law, specifically whether or not there will be compensatory 
Turkoman seats.  Additionally, an open list would hurt the 
strategy of aligning with other parties, as individual 
candidates from Turkoman parties would stand out on a list of 
those with deeper party roots. 
Nationalist Parties 
- - - - - - - - - 
9. (C) Nationalist parties that deemphasize their sectarian 
roots, such as Prime Minister Maliki,s State of Law Alliance 
(SLA) and Ayad Allawi,s Iraqi National List, are also active 
in the province.  Currently, SLA is represented by Sheikh 
Wasfi Al-Assi, a controversial sheikh of the Obeidi tribe. 
Additionally, SLA is trying to attract Shi'a Turkomans by 
appealing to their shared Shi'a identity.  SLA also appears 
to have the support of two current COR members, Turkoman 
Abbas Al-Bayati and Omar al-Jaburi, which would help with 
name recognition should the ballot be open list.  Ayad 
Allawi,s INL has not done particularly well in Kirkuk in the 
past, but Arab Unity Bloc members Hassan Nsaef and Abdullah 
Munshed Al-Assi recently commented that they would consider 
aligning with the INL and would not back Maliki's SLA because 
of their dislike of SLA's front man in Kirkuk, Wasfi Al-Assi. 
10. (C) Comment: The modalities of the election law will not 
affect the Kurdish coalition, but will bear on the contours 
of the nascent Turkoman and Arab groupings.  Kirkuki 
political types anticipate that coalitions will form quickly 
once the law is passed, as the actors have already thought 
through their respective political calculations. End Comment. 


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