|05DAMASCUS6256||2005-11-30 15:50:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Damascus|
VZCZCXYZ0017 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHDM #6256 3341550 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 301550Z NOV 05 FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5854 INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0517 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L DAMASCUS 006256
1. (C) Sa'ad Samarai, an official of the Independent
Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in Basrah, told PolChief
November 30 that he arrived with a team of one dozen Iraqis
in Damascus in mid-November to plan out-of-country voting.
At the bustling office he has rented in the suburb of Mezzeh,
Samarai confirmed reporting reftel that they will open ten
polling centers in Damascus, to house 40 polling stations,
primarily in schools that the SARG has designated for OCV
use. Samarai plans to hire some 400 temporary polling
supervisors and election workers in the next few days and
begin training them on OCV.
2. (C) To facilitate voting by Iraqis located in other
cities and towns in Syria, the IECI is looking into renting
buses to make the day trip from a few of the largest Syrian
cities outside Damascus. When asked why the IECI did not
establish polling centers in other cities, Samarai said it
would not have been possible to exert sufficient control over
the centers. Unlike last year, voters will be able to
register and vote the same day, December 13-15. The largest
concentration of Iraqis is located in the Damascus suburb of
3. (C) Samarai said that he is working closely with several
SARG military officers in the Ministry of Interior and with
the Deputy Head of the Office of International Organizations
at the MFA. A robust publicity campaign is planned to
publicize the voting and is just getting underway. So far
the Syrians have not interfered but have demanded to review
all publicity materials before they were distributed.
4. (C) With the IECI organizing the effort this year, the
International Office of Migration (IOM), which organized the
OCV in Syria last year, is not involved, said Samarai.