PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHMOS
DE RUEHKUK #0057/01 0681657
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 091657Z MAR 06
FM REO KIRKUK
TO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0518
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0554
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHKUK/REO KIRKUK 0582
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIRKUK 000057
BAGHDAD FOR POL, NCT
E.O. 12958: DECL: 3/9/2016 TAGS: PGOV PINS KDEM IZ IR SUBJECT: KRG UNIFICATION: CABINET FORMATION NEXT
REF: KIRKUK 32
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CLASSIFIED BY: Scott Dean, Regional Coordinator (Acting), Reo Kirkuk, Department of State . REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
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 days.
-- 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:
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-- 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. ORESTE