US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD2860

KIRKUK COUNCIL: "CONSENSUS" GOVERNMENT ELUSIVE AS NATIONAL LEADERS RAISE ANTE

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD2860
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD2860 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-07-07 17:50:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL IZ Parliament
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002860 
 
SIPDIS 
 
THIS IS A REO KIRKUK CABLE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2025 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, IZ, Parliament 
SUBJECT: KIRKUK COUNCIL: "CONSENSUS" GOVERNMENT ELUSIVE AS 
NATIONAL LEADERS RAISE ANTE 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert Ford. 
Reason 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY AND COMMENT.  Kirkuk Provincial 
Council met June 26 and 28, but postponed electing a 
Deputy Governor.  U.S. urging to secure Kurdish 
leaders' agreement to a Kirkuk "consensus government" 
that includes Arabs and Turkmen had apparently not yet 
been conveyed by July 3 to Kirkuk players.  Although 
still lacking a complete leadership lineup, the 
Council began moving ahead on committee formation, 
including a committee to liaise with the Kurdistan 
government.  Meanwhile PM Ja'aferi's public remarks 
regarding the resolution of Kirkuk issues prompted 
stern rebukes from Kurdish leaders, with steadily 
hardening demands of their own, new propaganda salvos, 
and maximum bombast from the region's ethnically 
dominated media.  It has become impossible to untangle 
the chicken-and-egg cycle of hyperbole, accusations, 
and hardening positions on Kirkuk's government and 
status.  There is much apprehension among minority 
groups, including Christians, that serious 
consequences may follow an entirely Kurd-nominated 
government.  END SUMMARY AND COMMENT. 
 
Talabani Says He Will Push Barzani to 
Accept "Real" Arabs and Turkmen 
------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) As factions debated Kirkuk Provincial Council 
outcomes in both Kirkuk and Kurdistan cities, Charge 
d'Affaires Satterfield continued to press key leaders 
in Baghdad on the need for consensus, giving 
leadership jobs to both elected Arab and Turkmen 
blocs.  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told charge 
June 28 he had managed to get Kurdistan President 
Massoud Barzani to agree to including the Iraqi 
Turkmen Front (ITF) in the Council (as Deputy 
Governor).  Barzani was still resisting including 
Arabs in the Council.  (NOTE:  Barzani told REO/Kirkuk 
in December that he hoped Arabs of Kirkuk would not 
vote in elections.  END NOTE.) 
 
Confusion Reigns: Conditions Imposed on Turkmen 
Candidates? 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3.  (C) Meanwhile, at the provincial level, there was 
no sign of progress.  During the June 28 Council 
meeting, 23 Kirkuk Brotherhood List (KBL) members 
agreed they should give Turkmen another week to select 
a candidate for the position of Deputy Governor (i.e., 
until July 4).  Mohamed Kamal, Kurdistan Democratic 
Party (KDP) caucus chair, said that any Turkmen deputy 
governor would have to accept Article 58 of the TAL, 
which he interpreted to mean Kirkuk is part of 
Kurdistan.  Sherzad Adil (KDP) suggested that the 
Deputy Governor be selected from the KBL.  Babakir 
Sadeq Ahmed, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), 
countered that Turkmen view the ITF as their most 
legitimate mouthpiece; therefore that bloc should 
nominate a deputy governor candidate.  (Comment:  This 
is in accord with what Jalal Talabani told the Charge 
June 28 in Baghdad.  End Comment.) 
 
4.  (U) PUK-affiliated newspaper al-Ittihad reported 
June 28 that Council Chairman Rizgar Ali Hamajan had 
also stated that a deputy governor nominee must accept 
that Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan.  On July 2 Kirkuk 
PolOff contacted Rizgar Ali who said the story was 
false; he denied that this was a prerequisite for 
nomination.  Ali noted that the KBL wants the Deputy 
Governor to be "100 percent Turkmen" (read ITF), 
support implementation of all articles of the TAL 
(including Article 58), and promote harmony between 
all ethnicities.  (Comment:  There is no consensus, 
even among various Kurdish parties, on what exactly 
Article 58 requires.  End Comment.) 
 
Committee Formation Commences 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU) Rizgar Ali prompted members to move forward 
with committee nominations, and tabled suggestions for 
committees on security; construction and development; 
and liaison to the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA). 
Kirkuk Regional Coordinator (RC), concerned that 
committee formations would preempt possible agreement 
by Turkmen and Arabs to return to the Council, on June 
27 sent a letter to Governor Abdulrahman Mustafa 
requesting that the Council not act on committees 
until there is agreement on leadership posts.  The 
letter also sought the Governor's view on the 
authority for the Provincial Council to elect Kirkuk's 
city mayor (on June 21), as Coalition Provisional 
Authority Order 71 stipulates that the municipal 
council elects the mayor. 
 
6.  (SBU) Arab council member Mohamed Khalil told 
PolOff June 27 that the Arabs will continue to boycott 
Provincial Council meetings until the mayor is fairly 
elected and the new Arab Assistant Governor is removed 
and replaced with an Arab who represents the Sunni 
bloc in the Council. 
 
Christian Fear 
-------------- 
 
7.  (SBU) In a meeting June 25 with the RC and PolOff, 
newly-elected Assistant Governor Edward Oraham 
(independent Chaldo-Assyrian), speculated that if 
Turkmen and Arabs did not each get key slots in 
government, violence would escalate, with dire 
consequences for Kirkuk's small Christian community. 
He felt that the Turkmen would not take up arms, but 
would remain neutral if Sunni Arabs increased their 
tolerance of Foreign Resistance Elements (FRE) in the 
province.  He offered to relinquish his seat to either 
bloc in the interests of keeping the peace.  He told 
RC that the KDP had vetoed other Christian candidates 
for his job, and that he himself could not step too 
far from established Kurdish party lines. 
 
National Leaders Call for Delaying 
Kirkuk, Prompting Kurdish Outrage 
----------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C) Baha Al-Araji, Shia Arab Sadrist and Secretary 
of the Constitutional Drafting Committee told Radio 
Sawa June 26 that Kirkuk will not be discussed in the 
context of the constitution, because it is too 
sensitive to resolve now.  He also expressed hope that 
the Kurds will accept consensus to keep Kirkuk outside 
any federal regions.  (Comment: PUK leader and Deputy 
Constitution Committee Chairman Fuad Ma'asum also told 
PolOff on July 5, that he does not believe the 
constitution should address Kirkuk.  His reasoning for 
this was quite different from Araji's, however: 
Ma'asum said he believes that Article 58 should be 
largely implemented by the time the next elections 
take place so the constitution should not need to 
address the issue.  End Comment.)  Kurdish language 
internet site Payanmar on June 29 reported that Iraqi 
PM Ja'afari told Mideast newspaper in London that 
while Kurds were mistreated and pushed out of the 
province and Arabs brought in, Ja'aferi said solutions 
must be acceptable to all parties. 
 
9.  (SBU) In a swift reaction, KDP politburo and KNA 
member Othman Mahmood said June 30 that United Iraqi 
Alliance (UIA) "wants to delay Kirkuk resolution until 
after the constitution . . . the only loser will be 
Kurdish people."  He accused the UIA of violating the 
principles of the Shia-Kurd agreement of March.  Other 
steps to counter Baghdad calls for delay of the 
process were more tangible.  USAID and REO staff 
traveling between Kirkuk and Irbil June 30 noted large 
new banners and posters along the highway claiming, 
"Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan." 
 
 
Satterfield 

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