|06KIRKUK57||2006-03-09 16:57:00||CONFIDENTIAL||REO Kirkuk|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIRKUK 000057
1. (C) INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY. On February 28, RC met
separately with Falah Bakir, a close aide to Kurdistan Regional
Government-Erbil PM Barzani, and with Kurdistan Democratic Party
Politburo Secretary Fadil Mirani on the unification of the two
KRG's. The next step is for KRG President Masud Barzani to ask
PM Nechirvan Barzani to form a government. He will give him 30
days. Bakir says PM Barzani wants technocrats in his cabinet.
Planning to merge ministries must await the new ministers; Bakir
estimated that work might start in June if the cabinet took
office in April. Mirani said neither party could lay off
government workers in connection with KRG unification. The KDP
is proposing to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan that each party
nominate 3 candidates for each cabinet slot. Mirani says the
KDP can do this because all its candidates reflect a unified KDP
view. The PUK must worry which PUK leader its nominees would
follow. Mirani said that Iran is holding back from creatingQproblems for the Kurds because the Kurds were cooperating with
the Iraqi Shia; Iran could not win much support in Iraq's Sunni
north; and Iran wanted to avoid problems with its own Kurds.
END INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY.
NEXT STEP: CABINET FORMATION
2. (C) Bakir said:
-- The recent delay in KRG unification had not been because the
Kurds were waiting for Baghdad government formation. (Cf.
reftel.) Indeed, Talabani had wanted to press ahead. Rather,
the problem was the PUK delay in picking a Deputy PM.
Initially, the KDP had 5 candidates: PM Omar Fattah, Arselan
Baiz, Deputy PM Emad Ahmed, Minister of Interior Othman Haji
Mahmud, and Mohammed Tawfiq.
-- The next step was for President Masud Barzani to ask PM
Nechirvan Barzani to form a government. He would give him 30
-- PM Barzani wanted technocrats in his cabinet. The PM and
Deputy PM would head a committee to pick ministers.
-- The smaller ministries, such as Human Rights and Education,
would be easier for the two KRG's to merge. Those plans could
begin only after the new ministers had started work. They might
start in June if the cabinet took office in April.
3. (C) Mirani (AMCIT) said:
-- Neither party could lay off government workers in connection
with KRG unification: the workers would join the opposite party.
Instead, the KRG could suspend hiring, though new graduates
looked to the government for jobs.
-- The KDP wanted technocrats in the cabinet. It was proposing
to the PUK that each party nominate 3 candidates for each
cabinet slot, then let the PM and deputy PM decide. The KDP
could do this because all its candidates would reflect a unified
KDP view. The PUK had to worry whether its nominees would
follow Talabani, Noshiwan Mustafa, or Kosrat Rasul.
-- The PM and deputy PM would have more latitude to pick deputy
ministers than they would have on ministers. It would be better
if a deputy minister were from a different party than the
minister -- preferably from a smaller party so the deputy could
not challenge the minister. (COMMENT: Rather inconsistently,
he then said that it was not a problem for a minister from a
smaller party to have a KDP or PUK deputy minister. COMMENT.)
-- For provincial elections, people wanted to vote for an
individual to represent their geographic area, rather than
(province-wide) party lists.
4. (C) On Iran, Bakir commented that KRG unification would
help the KRG deal with Iran. As it was, the KRG-E sometimes
arrested people from Iran and sent them to the KRG-Sulaymaniyah
to return to Iran.
5. (C) Mirani said that Iran held back from creating problems
for the Kurds for three reasons:
KIRKUK 00000057 002.2 OF 002
-- the Kurds were cooperating with the Iraqi Shia and Iraq
could use those Shia to do its bidding;
-- Iran could not win much support in Iraq's north, where there
were few Shia; and
-- Iran wanted to avoid problems with its own Kurds.