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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BAGHDAD2466
2007-07-25 17:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

BARZANI AGREES TO PUSH FOR NEW GOI ARTICLE 140

Tags:   IZ  PGOV  PREL  TU 
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VZCZCXRO2319
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2466/01 2061752
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251752Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2440
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002466 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2017
TAGS: IZ PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: BARZANI AGREES TO PUSH FOR NEW GOI ARTICLE 140
COMMITTEE CHAIR, INVIGORATE COMMITTEE

Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002466

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2017
TAGS: IZ PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: BARZANI AGREES TO PUSH FOR NEW GOI ARTICLE 140
COMMITTEE CHAIR, INVIGORATE COMMITTEE

Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) SUMMARY: In his July 19 meeting with the
Ambassador, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President
Massoud Barzani spoke passionately about the Kurdish right to
Kirkuk and the dangers of failing to hold the referendum on
time. Barzani and the Ambassador agreed it would be useful
to try to reinvigorate the Government of Iraq (GOI) Article
140 committee, beginning with sending a representative to
Baghdad to engage the Prime Minister to appoint a new chair
of the committee. The Ambassador had met with members of the
commission branch team on July 18 in Kirkuk where they had
highlighted the need to get a new chairman. END SUMMARY.

Laying out the Issues
--------------


2. (C) On July 19, the Ambassador laid out to KRG President
Massoud Barzani the need for the transparent implementation
of constitutional Article 140, particularly as it pertains to
Kirkuk, to ensure that it is viewed as legitimate at all
levels. Right now, this issue is moving in the wrong
direction, the Ambassador said. The U.S. wanted to work with
the KRG to address some of the contentious issues to calm
nerves on all sides, so that when the referendum is held, all
sides can accept the outcome.


3. (C) Barzani initially flared, thinking the U.S. was
backing away from the Article 140 process. He underlined
that a reason for the Kurds' participation in the 2003 war
against Saddam was to secure Kirkuk. The Kurds have tried to
provide legitimacy to the Article 140 process, he noted. He
disparaged the legitimacy of those opposing the Kurds pushing
the process forward. Pointing to the Iraqi Turkmen Front
(ITF), Turkey, and the Ba'athists, he asked rhetorically why
they were trying to make the process fail. The Kurds agreed
to the Transitional Administrative Law and the Iraqi
Constitution, and made concessions in order to receive in
return an assured legal solution to the Kirkuk problem. Both
former Prime Ministers Allawi and Jafari refused to move the

Article 140 process forward, and the Kurds almost decided not
to take part in the December 2005 elections to protest this,
Barzani claimed.


4. (C) Barzani pointed to messages from President Bush,
then Deputy Secretary Armitage, and former Ambassador
Negroponte assuring him that the U.S. was committed to
implementation of Article 140. Barzani asserted that the
Kurds had remained restrained despite terrorism directed
against them in Kirkuk. If Article 140 is not implemented
there will be a reaction from the Kurds, he warned. He
hinted that the Kurds might reconsider their participation in
the Iraqi government.

Solutions to a Stalled Process
--------------


5. (C) The Ambassador replied that the USG was still
committed to the Article 140 process, but that the process
had stalled. He suggested two possible solutions:
reinvigorating the GOI Article 140 Committee or looking to
the international community for assistance. He said the
national committee was not working and did not have a
chairman. The Ambassador also noted that the Article 140
branch committee in Kirkuk had told him on July 18 that of
the thousands of Wafideen Arabs (those transferred to Kirkuk
under Saddam's plan to Arabize the region) who had applied
for compensation, not one had been approved. The way to deal
with the Arab settlers is to make the compensation and
resettlement process work, stated the Ambassador.


6. (C) The Ambassador suggested that if the national
committee is not working, perhaps the U.S. and Kurds should
consider an international commission as provided for in TAL
article 58. Barzani dismissed this proposal and focused on
the Iraqi national committee. He complained about the
committee's lack of work; if it had made a genuine effort
and then required more time, shifting the timetable to 2008
would have been acceptable. Instead the committee has taken
no serious steps and now the public was confused while it
also faced threats from Turkey. He said his greatest concern
was the extreme Kurdish sensitivity on this issue. Barzani
added that he and President Talabani had been attacked for
being too soft on this issue. The Kurdish public, Barzani
concluded, is beginning to believe that outsiders will
prevent the return of Kirkuk to the Kurds.


7. (C) Barzani recalled the three stages to the Article 140
process: normalization, a census, and a referendum. At
least one, he said, should move forward. If there was some
movement towards implementation, it would be easier to
justify delaying the referendum. He said the PM is in a

BAGHDAD 00002466 002 OF 002


position to move forward on this issue. Barzani then warned
that if Maliki does not move the process forward, then the
Kurds would have difficulty supporting him as PM. (Barzani
said Maliki had proved not much better than Jafari on the
Kirkuk issue.) Barzani urged the Ambassador to pressure
Maliki to move Article 140 forward.

A New Chairman for the Article 140 Committee
--------------


8. (C) The Ambassador steered Barzani back to the GOI
committee, asking if the appointment of a new chairman would
enable the committee to start moving. Barzani agreed that
the committee needed a new chair, noting that the Kurds had
proposed National Security Advisor Muwaffuk Rubaie but had
been rebuffed. Barzani thought only an active chairman who
had backing from the PM could reinvigorate the committee.
The chair should also not be a minister so that he could
devote his full time to Article 140. Barzani and his aides
at the July 19 meeting suggested five names: Hamid Musa,
Mundir Raways, Nasir Chardarchi, Safia Suhail, and Tofik
Yasari. Barzani agreed to send his confidante Rowsch Shaways
to Baghdad to discuss with the PM nominating a new chair.


9. (C) Comment: Article 140 and Kirkuk are old issues that
seem not to move unless the U.S. decides to get involved,
even if from a distance. It has the potential to be
destabilizing if not handled adroitly with a measure of
approval from the Kurds, Arabs, Turcoman and other
communities. For this reason, prime ministers in Baghdad and
other non-Kurds with political ambition have treated Article
140 with the greatest circumspection. Barzani, though he
spoke passionately about the Kurdish right to Kirkuk, appears
ready to accept a delay in the referendum provided he has
something to show as evidence of progress. Post will follow
up with Barzani's team to get Rowsch Shaways to talk directly
with the PM as quickly as possible. After he does, Post will
talk to other key Iraqi leaders to encourage them to look at
how to reinvigorate the Article 140 committee.

CROCKER