|Wikileaks:||View 05BAGHDAD4200 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PGOV PNAT PHUM IZ Sunni Arab|
|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 03 BAGHDAD 004200 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/2015 TAGS: PGOV, PNAT, PHUM, IZ, Sunni Arab SUBJECT: WATCH SALAH AD-DIN AND NINEWA PROVINCES TO DETERMINE FATE OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION REF: A. (A) BAGHDAD 3898 B. (B) BAGHDAD 4090 C. (C) BAGHDAD 4143 D. (D) MOSUL 149 E. (E) BAGHDAD 572 F. (F) KIRKUK 205 Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 1. (C) SUMMARY. A last-minute political compromise to elicit Sunni Arab leader public expressions of support for the Constitution could help ensure its passage in the October 15 referendum. That deal apparently is sealed. Were it to fall through, the outcome of the referendum will probably be very close in a couple of predominantly Sunni Arab provinces. If three provinces see 2/3 of voters reject the draft, it will fail as per the Transition Administrative Law. Poll results and other data indicate that three provinces - Anbar, Ninewa and Salah ad-Din - may vote against the draft by sufficient margins to reach that 2/3 threshold. Polling, done well before the last- minute constitution deal, suggests Anbar and Ninewa's large Sunni Arab majorities will vote solidly against the constitution. Ninewa's Kurdish minority appears too small to stem the anti-constitution vote in Ninewa alone. Salah ad-Din, a province with a Sunni Arab majority and a significant Shia minority, would appear to be the key swing province. Violence that targets and intimidates Sunni "no" voters or Shia "yes" voters could be decisive in moving the results a couple of percentage in points in either direction. If public backing for the constitution from Sunni Arab Islamist leaders at the last minute swings a few percentage points of the Sunni Arab vote, that too could be decisive in keeping Ninewa and Salah ad-Din provinces from reaching the 2/3 rejection threshold. End Summary. Poll Results Consistent ----------------------- 2. (C) Three statistically valid polls conducted during September by the International Republican Institute (IRI), INR, and the UN consistently show that the no vote on the October 15 referendum is significant in the heavily Sunni Arab populated areas of Ninewa (ranging from 89 to 95 percent), Salah ad- Din (from 64 to 77 percent) and Diyala (36 to 49 percent). No polling was conducted in Anbar province for security reasons. If two-thirds of voters in three or more provinces vote no in the referendum, the Constitution will be defeated, triggering elections for a new transitional government. Anbar ----- 3. (C) The only data available from the heavily Sunni Arab Anbar province, where security considerations prevent regular polling, comes from surveys conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of participants in constitutional outreach events in September and October. Though non-scientific (the sample is not unbiased), it does provide a measure of the views of likely voters who have taken the time to become more acquainted with the provisions of the draft Constitution. Over 91 percent of 2,551 survey respondents in Anbar planned to vote no, up from 84 percent of 1,317 respondents a week earlier. Provincial and Baghdad contacts widely expect the constitution to fail there. Ninewa ------ 4. (C) The results of all polls from Ninewa province consistently show an overwhelming no vote among likely referendum voters. The UN poll of very likely voters in Mosul puts the no vote at over 95 percent; an INR poll puts the no vote in the city at 92 percent. IRI polling in the entire province puts the "no" vote at 94 percent. INR puts the provincial "no" vote at 89 percent. Since there is a sizable Kurdish and Christian minority in the province, the scale of the "no" vote (ranging from 89-95 percent) raises questions about bias in the sample size. The unscientific NDI survey results show a more modest (though still significant) no vote of 79 percent of 5,962 respondents, down from 81 percent of 1,799 a week earlier. 5. (C) Only 17 percent of eligible voters turned out for the January TNA elections that were generally boycotted by the Sunnis (compared to turnouts of 92 percent and 84 percent respectively in the heavily Kurdish provinces of Dohuk and Erbil). This suggests that more than 80 percent of the voters in Ninewa may be Sunni Arabs. If most Ninewa Sunni Arabs turn out on October 15, and roughly 75 - 80 percent vote against the draft, the outcome will be near and could surpass the all-important 2/3 threshold. Our Christian community contacts suggest the Christians will vote against the draft too; if they do so in large numbers they will help cancel out the Kurdish "yes" vote (reftels C and D). 6. (C) There were credible charges of vote rigging and other electoral irregularities in Ninewa province in January. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) is using Iraqi security forces to help deliver materials - just as it did in January when these forces were accused of unscrupulous vote rigging (see ref E). There is, therefore, the risk again of vote fraud. Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to Kurdish President Barzani, confidently told PolCouns October 9 that the pro-constitution camp will prevail in Ninewa. PolCouns strongly cautioned Hussein against vote irregularities such as those seen in January, urging Hussain to help ensure the referendum is credible. Hussein appeared unimpressed. Salah ad-Din ------------ 7. (C) Polls show Salah ad-Din on the brink of a "no" vote, which given the outlook in Anbar and Ninawa could spell defeat for the Constitution. However, the margin in Salah ad-Din is close enough to make the province the key battleground in the referendum. The UN poll of very likely voters in Tikrit in early September showed 64 voting no with 26 percent undecided. The IRI poll from mid-September indicated that 66 percent would vote "no" in Salah ad-Din. INR's poll from the third week in September put the no vote at 77 percent for Salah ad-Din provinces and 49 percent for Tikrit/Baquba. There was a slight hint that the number of persons planning to vote against the constitution in Salah ad-Din was dropping in early October: an unscientific NDI survey in October indicated that 66 percent of 6,008 respondents would vote against the draft, down from 74 percent of 3,983 respondents a week earlier. Only 29 percent of eligible voters took part in the January 2005 TNA vote indicating a sizable Sunni bloc in the province. Diyala ------ 8. (C) Poll results in Diyala, which show a no vote ranging from 36 to 49 percent among very likely voters, are still sufficiently high to warrant attention. Only 33 percent of eligible voters turned out in the January TNA election indicating that a sizable Sunni electorate may be able to swing the district into the no category, though likely not with a sufficient margin to defeat the Constitution. The IIP is campaigning hard in Diyala to mobilize a no vote (reftel F). Kurds Confident, Shia Apprehensive ---------------------------------- 9. (C) Kurdish leaders such as Fuad Hussein (para 6) are publicly confident that the referendum will be successful. However, Shia and Kurdish leaders have expressed worry that carefully targeted terrorist attacks will deter Shia voters from getting to the polls (reftel B). Notably, they highlighted concerns about Salah ad-Din. In response, the TNA passed a since-reversed highly prejudicial resolution that defined voters in such a way as to ensure approval of the constitution. The incident underscored the uncertainty, despite confident utterances, felt by the Kurd/Shia governing coalition about the prospects of voter intimidation in Salah ad-Din and other areas. 10. (C) Well-connected Shia politician Ali Debbagh told PolCouns on October 10 that Grand Aytollah Sistani will issue a special statement to urge his followers to vote yes in the referendum. The call has been delayed because, as one Shia interlocutor put it, "the Constitution is not yet finished." Tipping the Balance - Turnout, Violence, Fraud --------------------------------------------- - 11. (C) Many Sunni leaders, especially from the National Dialogue Group and the Iraqi Islamic Party had gone public with their campaign urging voters to reject the constitution. National advertising campaigns, including newspaper ads and posters urging a "no" vote are in full swing in many Sunni Arab areas. 12. (C) The last minute political compromise to garner Sunni Arab politicians' public support for the Constitution could help chances of its passage in the referendum. This would be particularly true if the head of the Sunni Waqf instructed imams to publicly express support for the compromise, something he has privately indicated he may do if the Iraqi Islamic Party also supports the draft. From the above polling data, it appears that a swing of even a few percent in the Sunni Arab vote could keep Salah ad-Din and Ninewa from reaching the critical 2/3 "no" voter threshold. Barring that, other factors could tip the balance. Violence in the next few days in key Sunni cities such as Tikrit, Samarra, and Mosul could constrain the Sunni Arab voter turnout. Similarly, violence against Shia - more likely - in Salah ad-Din towns such as Balad, Bayji, Tuz Khurmato and Dijayl, and Diyala towns like Balad Ruz, Baqubah, and Khalis could limit the Shia "yes" vote turnout. Khalilzad
Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04