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06KIRKUK98 2006-04-25 13:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL REO Kirkuk
Cable title:  

BADR ORGANIZATION IN KIRKUK COOPERATING ON SECURITY AND

Tags:   PGOV KISL PHUM PINS PINR PREL IZ IR SY TU 
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1. (C) SUMMARY. The Badr Organization claims to be a
multiethnic group in northern Iraq. Badr representatives claim
most Shia Arabs in Kirkuk are Ba'ath loyalists. The Badr
representatives claimed to defer security responsibilities to
the Iraqi Army and police. The Badr Organization is postponing
provincial election plans until after negotiations on national
government formation, due to political alignments and agreements
that might result. The Badr representatives compared Kirkuk's
security situation to Fallujah. END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) IPAO's on April 16 met with Nasir al-Din Abdullah
Muhammad and Nihad al-Baqal of the Badr Organization to discuss
political issues in Kirkuk. Muhammad, a Sunni Kurd, leads the
Badr executive committee in northern Iraq and Baqal, a Shia
Turcoman, is the deputy head of Badr northern Iraq. Muhammad
led the delegation. He said the Badr Organization had
approximately 5,000 members in Kirkuk, earning the group one
electoral seat from the province on the Iraqi Council of
Ministers.

Badr Shows Multiethnic Face in Northern Iraq


--------------------------





3. (C) Muhammad emphasized that Badr was a multiethnic
organization, not just a Shia Arab party. When we asked
Muhammad what enticed him, a Sunni Kurd, to join the Badr
Organization instead of one of the revolutionary Kurdish
parties, he said he was attracted to Supreme Council of the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) founder Muhammad Baqr
al-Hakim's message for unifying all Iraqis, not just those in
Kurdistan. Muhammad said after the Kurds gained autonomy in
1991, the Badr Organization opened several offices in northern
Iraq.

Most Shia Arabs in Kirkuk Ba'ath Loyalists?


--------------------------





4. (C) Muhammad estimated that approximately 2-3,000 of the
more than 10,000 Shia Arab families in Kirkuk were affiliated
with the Badr Organization. Muhammad claimed that SCIRI, Badr,
and the Sadrists each had a stronger presence in northern Iraq
than Da'wa. Muhammad asserted, however, that most Shia Arabs in
the Kirkuk province were Ba'athists. The majority of Shia Arabs
who came to Kirkuk during Saddam's regime were poor and
uneducated, and Saddam was able to lure them to the north
because he provided jobs and homes for them. As a result, many
remained sympathetic to the Ba'ath Party, according to Muhammad.

Criminal Ba'athists in Hawijah Leadership


--------------------------





5. (C) When asked how the U.S. could help improve the security
situation in the Hawijah and Za'ab areas of Kirkuk province,
Muhammad said the U.S. needed to revamp the entire local police
force, eradicating the criminal Ba'athists within its ranks. He
complained that former senior Ba'athist officers worked for the
Iraqi police, Iraqi Army, and public services in Hawijah. He
recommended that the U.S. look for projects to employ Kirkuk
Arabs and get them off the streets. Muhammad said that the
leader of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, Salih al-Mutlaq,
was from the Kirkuk province and had tribal influence there.
Muhammad said that Hawijah residents were urging Mutlaq to work
with the Unified Iraqi Alliance, due to Mutlaq's close relations
with the Shia Arabs in Baghdad.

Badr-SCIRI Relations in Kirkuk


--------------------------





6. (C) Muhammad said that SCIRI and Badr shared the same
ideology, and both groups were led by Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim. He
added that Hakim oversaw three separate entities: SCIRI, Badr,
and Shahid al-Mihrab. According to Muhammad, the three groups
were divided according to responsibilities: SCIRI - political;
Badr - recruitment; and Shahid al-Mihrab - Islamic education.
He said that more Badr than SCIRI members were present in
northern Iraq because Badr had an older presence there.



7. (C) When asked if Badr provided security for the SCIRI
office in Kirkuk, Muhammad said Badr deferred those
responsibilities to the Iraqi Army and police in Kirkuk. He
added, however, that Badr provided security tips to the local
authorities. He did not know who attacked the SCIRI office in
late February 2006, but suspected it was a terrorist group.
Muhammad said the three most active terrorist groups in Kirkuk

KIRKUK 00000098 002.2 OF 002


were Ansar al-Islam, Tawhid al-Jihad, and Ba'athists.



Comparing Kirkuk Security Situation to Fallujah


--------------------------

--



8. (C) Muhammad complained that the Coalition forces after
Operation Iraqi Freedom prevented the Badr Organization
initially from entering Kirkuk. He compared Kirkuk's security
situation to Fallujah, with 50 percent of the terrorist attacks
occurring in southern (read: Arab) Kirkuk. (NOTE. An
overstatement meant to highlight security concerns in the Arab
areas. END NOTE.) He described Kurdish Police Chief, General
Sherko, as weak and that the provincial government should
replace him immediately.

Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) A Sunni Kurd and a Shia Turcoman representing a
primarily Shia Arab group in Kirkuk should be considered when
evaluating their positions. Some of their views surprised us,
especially their belief that most Shia Arabs in Kirkuk were
Ba'athist loyalists. The cooperative relations between Badr and
the Kurds at the national level probably affect comments made in
Kirkuk.
BIGUS