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05BAGHDAD3758 2005-09-12 17:48:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
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1. (C) Senior Shi'a Coalition official and Deputy Speaker of
the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) Hussein Ibrahim
Saleh al-Shahristani confirmed to Charge on the evening of
September 12 that the Shi'a Coalition (and the Najaf clergy)
have agreed to language in the draft constitution regarding
the water resource management authorities. Shahristani asked
Charge to confirm if Kurdish President Masood Barzani had
indeed agreed to the same language.

1. (C) Later September 12 Charge met with the senior-most
Kurdish leader currently in Baghdad, Rowsh Shaways (a KDP
Barzani ally), who said he knew nothing about the agreement.
He commented, however, that the language appeared reasonable.
Shaways then contacted Barzani, who confirmed agreement to
the language on water as long as Article 135 specifies that
there will be two Deputy Prime Ministers vice an unspecified
number of Deputy Prime Ministers (in Arabic, naibain vs.

2. (C) Later in the evening, Charge conveyed Barzani's
position on the Article 135 language to Shahristani. When
Shahristani argued for keeping the number of Deputy Prime
Ministers unspecified, Charge reminded him that the original
text of the draft constitution referred to only two.
Shahristani acknowledged this had been the case and agreed to
meet with Kurdish leader Fouad Masoom September 13 to iron
out the details. If these details are fixed, the TNA
Constitution Committee will turn the finalized text over to
the UNAMI team here to use for the public outreach campaign.
Charge urged Shahristani to use the occasion of presenting
the draft to the Assembly as an opportunity for a resolution
of support -- bolstering the status of the constitution in
the face of Sunni challenges re: the text's "legitimacy."
Shahristani said he would work the issue in the Assembly.

3. (C) Also on September 12, the TNA passed the election law.
It features 230 seats allocated to 18 governorates using the
voter registry data from the January election as basis and 45
compensatory seats allocated to a single national district.
TNA Deputy Speaker Shahristani told us that the law gained
votes from the Shia Coalition, the Kurds and even the Iraqi
List bloc of former Prime Minister Allawi. TNA Legal
Committee Chairman Mushen Sadoon Noah (a Kurd) was similarly
pleased and said the draft electoral law enjoyed both Shia
and Kurdish party support. During the TNA session, each of
the 30 articles were individually read, voted on, and passed.