US embassy cable - 06MOSUL24

KURDISH VIEWS FROM NINEWA

Identifier: 06MOSUL24
Wikileaks: View 06MOSUL24 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: REO Mosul
Created: 2006-03-01 08:54:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINS PINT PGOV PHUM IZ MARR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO2866
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMOS #0024/01 0600854
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 010854Z MAR 06
FM REO MOSUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0423
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 0001
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0004
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0021
RUEHMOS/REO MOSUL 0441
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 MOSUL 000024 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  3/1/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PINS, PINT, PGOV, PHUM, IZ, MARR 
SUBJECT: KURDISH VIEWS FROM NINEWA 
 
MOSUL 00000024  001.2 OF 005 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Cameron  Munter, PRT Leader, Provincial 
Reconstruction Team Ninewa, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 
 
 
 
------------------- 
SUMMARY AND COMMENT 
------------------- 
 
1.  (C) PRT Mosul had lengthy discussions with three Kurdish 
leaders in late February: two top Kurdistan Democratic Party 
(KDP) officials and one from the rival Patriotic Union of 
Kurdistan (PUK).  All were united in their support for continued 
American presence in Iraq, the difficulties Ja'afari faces in 
forming a new government, the need for change in the rules 
governing provincial elections, the focus of Kurdish leaders on 
Article 58/Kirkuk, and their wariness about Turkish motives in 
northern Iraq.  There were some differences between the 
Mosul-based leaders (representing both parties) and the KDP 
leader from Irbil on the formation of the Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG) and the merger of the parties:  the Moslawis 
were optimistic, but Karim Sinjari, interior minister of the 
KRG, foresaw a difficult and protracted fight among the Kurds 
over the next year.  Similarly, Sinjari was somewhat more 
forthcoming about economic problems, including energy shortages 
and corruption, than his more sanguine counterparts to the 
south.  Speaking before the bombing in Samarra, all expressed a 
cautious optimism about opportunities in Ninewa province and 
Kurdistan as a whole, and a determination to tackle tough 
problems head-on.  PRT Mosul got the strong impression these 
leaders think time is on their side: they seemed to believe they 
can push ahead patiently on economic development and other key 
issues unimpeded by strife elsewhere.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
2.  (SBU) PRT Leader and TF-BOB Brigadier General Rife met with 
Karim Sinjari, Interior Minister of the Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG) and one of the leading figures in the Kurdish 
Democratic Party (KDP), on February 19 in Irbil.  PRT Leader and 
Poloff met with Khassro Goran, Ninewa Vice Governor and 
provincial KDP Director, at KDP Mosul Headquarters on February 
21.  PRT Leader and Poloff met with Aso Mamand, Patriotic Union 
of Kurdistan (PUK) Ninewa Director and one of the leading 
figures of the party, Abdelbari Mohammed Faris Al-Zebari, Ninewa 
Deputy Director and National Assembly Delegate, and Sheikh 
Mayadeen Ma-roof Moyadeen, Ninewa PUK Spokesman, at PUK Mosul 
Headquarters on February 22. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
FORMATION OF THE NEW NATIONAL GOVERNMENT 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Kurdish leaders in Ninewa estimate that formation of the 
new Iraqi Government might take some time.  Asked whether they 
believed Ja'afari would remain as Prime Minister, Sinjari 
replied "we have to accept him," but added that it depended on 
how Ja'afari negotiated.  Sinjari, Goran, and Mamand all noted 
that (Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq -- 
"SCIRI's" nominee) Abdul al-Mahdi would have been a better 
candidate, but the Shia had chosen Ja'afari, and that was their 
decision.  Of course, they added, Iran would now have greater 
influence.  And so would Al Sadr, who was a front for Iran as 
well, as evinced by Iran "moving Al Sadr all over the region 
now," said Sinjari.  "We don't like Ja'afari," Sinjari went on, 
"he gets nothing done.  But you reject him and you reject the 
Shias."  Mamand doubted Ja'afari could bring the country 
together, but all agreed it was better to have Al-Sadr inside 
the tent rather than outside. 
 
4.  (C) Goran, Sinjari, and Mamand presumed the Kurds would 
retain the presidency and that the biggest changes would take 
place within the ministries.  Goran said he did not believe a 
Kurd would serve as minister of Defense or the Interior.  He 
claimed such a post would be widely resisted by Arabs, since any 
action by a Kurdish minister would be seen as an "attack against 
Arabs."  Sinjari disagreed believing that the Kurds must get a 
power ministry, such as Defense.  Goran speculated the Kurds 
would get Foreign Affairs instead.  Sinjari stated it would 
improve things if former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi were to get 
a post; until now, the Shia coalition had said no to this, but 
perhaps he could surface as Interior or Defense Minister. 
 
-------------------- 
PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS 
-------------------- 
 
5.  (C) There was wide consensus among the Kurdish leaders that 
 
MOSUL 00000024  002.2 OF 005 
 
 
provincial elections would not take place for a while.  "The new 
government needed to be formed and new election laws drafted 
first," said Goran.  While he thought elections could come as 
early as August, Mamand and Sinjari said they did not expect 
anything to occur that early.  Mamand claimed there had to be a 
strong central government before provincial elections could be 
called.  Sinjari and Mamand also believed it should be possible 
to have elections at different times in different provinces: in 
key provinces, as soon as possible.  Sinjari urged the U.S. to 
work with governors and the Independent Electoral Commission of 
Iraq (IECI).  Sinjari said the IECI should be changed based on 
lessons from previous experience, since it was important that 
the balloting be safe and secure.  Mamand claimed local IECI 
Director Oday Abed (a Sunni Arab) purposefully prevented 
"thousands" of displaced Kurds from voting in the election.  He 
accused Abed of ensuring displaced Arabs could vote in Tal Afar, 
but made no effort to help the Kurds.  Mamand said voting 
requirements should be re-written to make them more flexible, 
especially for the displaced.  Expecting the Kurds who left 
Ninewa for security reasons to return to Mosul was unrealistic, 
he said. 
 
6.  (C) Sinjari believed that in Ninewa province, security at 
previous elections had been good, but the process needed 
technical help.  He had seen a change in Mosul over time:  the 
electorate did not just follow the lead of mullahs any more, but 
rather, people made their own choices.  He suggested that to 
guard against tampering of ballots, representatives of all 
parties should oversee the counting process, which should take 
place at the sites where ballots were cast.  He said the public 
did not believe that ballots were tamper-free once they left the 
site.  All three men requested United Nations play a role in 
observing the elections as well.  Regarding any outcome from the 
elections, the Kurdish leaders were split.  Goran and Mamand 
said "without a doubt" that the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) would 
gain control of the provincial government.  Sinjari said he 
thought the balance of power in Ninewa would not change.  Goran 
said he realized how important the provincial elections would be 
for Sunnis when he received information recently that Sunni 
groups had been meeting regularly to strategize on how to "take 
back" the provincial government.  Goran seemed more concerned, 
however, about a possible "fight" if the government changed 
hands.  He said the Kurds had been discriminated against 
historically in Mosul, and had even been refused to own property 
under the former regime.  Goran said he feared a return to these 
old policies if Sunnis took control. 
 
------------------------------------- 
MERGER OF THE PUK/KDP AND THE NEW KRG 
------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) Although they all seemed optimistic that the KDP-PUK 
merger would be complete a year from the time of the signing, 
historical tensions among the parties were still evident. 
Sinjari took some shots at the PUK, accusing Iraqi President 
Jalal Talabani of not sticking to agreements.  He also said the 
PUK was difficult to negotiate with since they were a collection 
of several groups.  However, he said talks were going well at 
the top levels.  Goran said the parliament would serve in Irbil, 
and that any offices in Suleimaniya would eventually be moved. 
It was hard work, Sinjari admitted, but it would get done on 
time, that is, in December of 2006.  He concluded, "Nothing is 
more important than this." 
 
8.  (C) Goran said proceedings for the new Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG) were moving forward as well.  He noted talks, 
which began on February 22, would be completed within two weeks. 
 Sinjari said he anticipated changes: the Interior Ministry 
would go over to the PUK and the KDP would get the position of 
State Minister in the Ministry (which Sinjari himself might 
fill).  He believed Finance and Peshmerga would go to the KDP, 
Justice and Interior to the PUK.  The number of ministries would 
expand to match the number of ministries in Baghdad, so the 24 
ministries would expand to match the GOI ministerials.  For 
example, Sinjari said, the KRG ministry of Transportation and 
Communication would become two separate ministries, as in 
Baghdad.  Some would go to KDP, some to PUK, and some to 
minorities. 
 
--------------------------------- 
ARTICLE 58 AND THE "KIRKUK" ISSUE 
--------------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) An issue of importance for the Kurds is resettlement of 
the displaced.  Interpretation of Article 58 (of the TAL), and 
specifically what happens to Kirkuk, had been at the root of the 
debate.  They had faith neither in Prime Minister Ja'afari nor 
 
MOSUL 00000024  003.2 OF 005 
 
 
in the Iraq Property Claims Commission (IPCC).  Goran called 
IPCC judges "cowards" with "no money to compensate anyone." 
Referring to it as a red line issue, Sinjari said the Kurds 
wanted settlement of the Kirkuk issue before the December 2007 
deadline.  He said the KDP would push this issue hard in the 
coming year.  Mamand, on the other hand, seemed more confident 
the Kirkuk issue could be solved within the legal framework of 
the national assembly.  He also proposed that the people of 
Kirkuk should ultimately decide through a referendum.  Goran 
said the most important event that could help decide the issue 
would be the census coming up in 2007.  He claimed it would be 
the first "real" census since 1957 and would prove once and for 
all that "Kurds" were in the majority in Kirkuk.  Goran said the 
census would be important not for purely political reasons. 
Knowing who the population was, he said, would allow the 
government to better target resources in the country. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
CORRUPTION AND PRIVATIZATION IN THE KRG 
--------------------------------------- 
 
10.  (C) Sinjari said the KRG would press forward on private 
enterprise since it was the only way to achieve a strong 
economy.  The KRG had a law read this month, and this law, when 
passed, would encourage outside investment to bid on state-owned 
enterprises, making them able to own land in the KRG, for 
example, or enter into a joint venture.  He said there would be 
a conference of investor states in Irbil in April with 
representatives from two hundred countries.  Sinjari claimed 
corruption was being dealt with.  "Corruption exists, but not on 
the scale some claim," he said.  He said the government had 
created a supreme control/audit commission to make sure 
privatization bids were transparent, and that any tender would 
go through the government office.  Mamand said that any U.S. or 
foreign company investing in Iraqi Kurdistan would have no 
better friend than the PUK.  He said they would be on the side 
of industry if it faced any sort of interference. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
TURKEY: NEW BORDER CROSSING AND MOSUL CONSULATE 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
11.  (C) The Kurdish leaders seemed skeptical about the 
possibility of a second border crossing between Iraq and Turkey. 
 Sinjari noted that the Turks wanted this second crossing so the 
road could run directly through Tal Afar, thereby avoiding 
Kurdish areas of control altogether.  U.S. Assistant Secretary 
of State David Welch had visited the site of a possible second 
border crossing and, Sinjari claimed, had agreed that it was a 
non-starter.  The Habur Gate border crossing, Sinjari said, was 
capable of handling 3,000 vehicles either way in a day; the 
Turks, he said, allowed only 600-700 through daily.  But there 
were plans on the Iraqi side to improve the existing Habur Gate 
crossing.  The Iraqis planned to build a tunnel that 
"straightens out" the road at the border, and to build a second 
bridge alongside the existing one to increase capacity for 
traffic.  He looked toward an opening "in the spring." 
 
12.  (C) On the recent visit of a Turkish diplomatic delegation 
to Mosul to plan for the reestablishment of a consulate, Sinjari 
said he said it would be good for business and Turkish 
investment.  On the other hand, he said it was less positive if 
the Turks would engage in intelligence activities.  Mamand 
agreed but remained skeptical that the consulate would in fact 
be a "political office."  Mamand said Iraq needed all the help 
it could get from the international community, but that problems 
were bad enough in Mosul -- with "Islamic fanatics" and "former 
Baathists" -- without interference from the Turks.  Sinjari 
commented on Turkish bases in Iraq, and Turkish complaints that 
Peshmerga harassed them.  He said that there was no problem with 
the bases, but that the Turks should operate in the open.  They 
traveled, he said, in civilian clothes and unmarked cars.  Thus, 
when they came to checkpoints, they were stopped until their 
identities could be established.  He suggested the Turks should 
tell Iraqi/Kurdish authorities where they wanted to go and that 
they should travel in uniform, so there would be no such 
misunderstandings.  "They tell us in advance, and we'll let them 
through," he said.  He called for clear dialogue. 
 
------------------------- 
TURKEY, IRAQ, AND THE PKK 
------------------------- 
 
13.  (C) When asked about his party's relationship with the 
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Sinjari answered, "we consider 
the PKK a terrorist organization."  But when questioned whether 
reports that the KDP turned a blind eye to PKK activity, Sinjari 
 
MOSUL 00000024  004.2 OF 005 
 
 
said, "we neither help nor hinder them."  Goran expressed more 
sympathy for the beleaguered party from Turkey, especially 
noting the large number of Kurdish refugees residing in 
Makhmour.  Although Sinjari claimed the camp was a breeding 
ground for terrorists, Goran approached the issue differently. 
He called the PKK and Makhmour camp issue a Turkish problem that 
was "beyond time" for settlement.  "In 2006, there is no 
justification for continuation of the Turk's program," he said. 
Sinjari said the inhabitants would go home to Turkey if the 
Turks were wise enough to propose an amnesty.  The Turks, 
however, would not bend on the PKK leadership, and would not go 
in this direction.  He suggested the Turks should look at the 
political, social, and economic aspects of the problem of 
refugees at Makhmour, but instead they only looked at the 
military aspect.  Sinjari commented that he believed the Turkish 
civilian authorities were unable to sway their military 
counterparts.  Goran and Mamand agreed that any Turkish designs 
on entering the European Union would be dashed if they could not 
"solve their internal problems with minorities."  Sinjari noted 
that the Turks had five armored bases in Kurdistan, and four 
bases with Special Forces.  Their putative mission, he said, was 
to fight PKK, so they do nothing because armor is little help 
against rebels in the mountains. 
 
----------------------------- 
OIL AND FUEL IN NORTHERN IRAQ 
----------------------------- 
 
14.  (C) Asked about the energy situation, Sinjari noted that 
there was a significant problem.  Iraq exports oil, but security 
was abysmal, he said.  With regards to reports that Iraq's oil 
industry lost 6.5 billion dollars last year, Sinjari suggested 
the Iraqis should spend "that 0.5 billion" to secure and protect 
the industry and pipelines.  Those the Iraqi government pays to 
protect pipelines -- tribes in western Iraq -- were the ones 
that were causing the damage, he averred.  In Kirkuk, there were 
terrible security problems.  Sinjari said that 10,000 persons 
worked in the oil industry there, and 99 percent of them were 
loyal to Saddam; historically, only Arabs favored by Saddam had 
received jobs in that strategic industry.  Sinjari said that the 
problem was at the heart of the oil industry's security and that 
the people who ran the refineries were the ones who were 
allowing it to be sabotaged.  He suggested that the current 
staff be sent home "with their pay" and that the Russians who 
built the refinery and installations in the first place should 
be brought back to make the oil industry work.  Asked about the 
capabilities of Oil Minister Chalabi, Sinjari said, he "thinks 
about his pocket" only. 
 
15.  (C) Regarding accusations of trafficking and smuggling of 
fuel with complicity by the authorities on the KRG border, 
Sinjari became somewhat defensive.  He said there were shortages 
in the KRG too.  He explained that each region was given its 
share by the representatives of the oil company and "we get our 
share like anyone else."  At the moment, Irbil had enough 
propane and benzene, and the recent agreement by Iraqi and 
Turkish authorities on payment of overdue fees meant the 
situation would ease soon.  Sinjari confirmed reports that 
Norwegian exploration efforts, financed through the Northern Oil 
Company, had hit low-sulfur oil north of Dohuk.  He added that 
they were planning to build a new refinery near the site.  He 
said that in fact, there would be a new refinery in Irbil as 
well since it was sitting on a "sea of oil."  Every city should 
have its own refinery, Sinjari said, which would help 
distribution woes. 
 
----------------------------- 
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN NINEWA 
----------------------------- 
 
16.  (C) In addition to oil problems, Goran noted Moslawis were 
receiving fewer hours of electricity than they had a year 
before.  He believed such conditions only bred discontent and 
fed directly into the hands of terrorists.  Goran admitted the 
public had "every right" to be upset since the provincial 
government had "done nothing for three years."  He said they 
needed to bridge this credibility gap by showing that they were 
solving problems.  Goran said press reports of disgruntled 
Americans questioning the viability of reconstruction projects 
in Iraq were understandable.  He said he was frustrated that the 
Iraq Government could not move beyond its highly centralized 
past, which complicated provincial government efforts.  Goran 
said the biggest problem Ninewa faced was that it lacked funding 
(although he admitted there was money being sent soon from 
Baghdad).  He said the provincial council had a list of 
prioritized projects and that all it needed was the resources to 
start them.  He said the Provincial Reconstruction and 
 
MOSUL 00000024  005.2 OF 005 
 
 
Development Committee (PRDC) had completed several projects in 
Ninewa.  Taking a dig at USG and Coalition Force efforts, 
however, Goran said that almost the same number of projects had 
been done "without the PRDC's involvement."  Goran said it was 
"very important" that Iraqis have a role in project oversight 
and management.  Goran appeared to blame contracting corruption 
and overcharging on American ignorance.  He said "only Iraqis" 
knew the "real" prices and quality of materials.  And therefore 
the PRDC would be the best way to ensure the integrity of any 
project. 
 
17.  (C) Although Goran claimed Iraqis had made gains in areas 
such as freedom of speech, travel and association, he claimed 
the most important issue was to have a good economy.  Goran and 
Mamand claimed poor economic conditions allowed terrorists to 
more easily spread their propaganda.  Goran said many youth are 
brainwashed by terrorists who use them to plant bombs and commit 
attacks.  Using Mosul University as an example, Goran noted 
there were several student groups who opposed the U.S. presence 
in Iraq by "breeding hate."  He said the best way to combat such 
sentiments was to have more cultural exchanges.  Noting his own 
experience studying in Europe, Goran said he believed exchange 
opportunities for the young were crucially important to bridging 
the cultural gap and ease tensions.  Mamand said the PUK has 
worked in Ninewa to develop several "apolitical" youth centers. 
He claimed it was important to ensure youth were engaged in 
positive activities. 
 
---------------------------------- 
SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS AND CONCERNS 
---------------------------------- 
 
18.  (C) Goran said the security situation in Mosul has been 
improving and that security forces have been making progress. 
Goran said now that the Iraqi Police (IP) and Iraqi Army (IA) 
were doing a good job, the provincial government could 
concentrate on more important issues, such as trying to provide 
basic services.  Goran noted the recent bombing of a popular 
restaurant frequented by IPs where two police and six civilians 
were killed.  He said the people of Mosul were "tired of bombs 
and attacks," and after the incident many people were calling 
into television programs to denounce violence.  Mamand said new 
Provincial Chief of Police (PCOP) Wathiq Al Qudir had made 
improvements in the city but that there were still corrupt 
people in the force left over from his predecessor.  He said he 
has been working hard to get Al Qudir to remove these officers 
from the force.  Goran commented that more should be done 
regarding background checks on volunteers since terrorists could 
easily enter the force.  Goran and Mamand said they also hoped 
for a more representative IP, which could better provide 
security in Mosul and surrounding minority villages.  Mamand 
said the launching of the Mosul Airport would be a bad idea, 
since the city was still overrun by terrorists.  He recommended 
that efforts to continue with the project be put on hold until 
the security situation improved. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
19.  (C) The Kurds are uniformly thankful for the American 
presence in the north, and clearly choose to portray themselves 
as closely aligned to U.S. goals.  All interlocutors spoke of 
their parties' commitments to freedom and prosperity in Iraq, 
emphasizing that the legitimate goals of Kurds and other 
distinct groups should be respected; they portrayed their 
electoral and economic successes as successes of American policy 
as well, feigning surprise when, in discussions of security 
issues, their American guests spoke of the need to curb Kurdish 
enthusiasm for expansion south and west.  It is telling that the 
Kurds living in Mosul, KDP and PUK alike, see the issues of 
Ninewa and Kurdistan through similar lens; Goran is not only the 
vice governor of Ninewa, but a significant player in Kurdistan 
politics, and Mamand, while director of the PUK in Ninewa and a 
leading member of the party nationally, is clearly up to his 
elbows in Kurdistan politics as well.  Gently, patiently, these 
Kurds are assessing their chances to effect change on such key 
issues as the fate of Kirkuk and maintaining control of 
provincial governments in the next elections.  If they have 
their way, they will do so in such a manner that they can claim 
they are championing American goals in Iraq at the same time. 
MUNTER 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04