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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BAGHDAD2928 2007-09-01 12:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

RRT ERBIL: PUK POLITBURO MEMBERS ON KIRKUK AND USG

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM IZ 
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VZCZCXRO6420
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2928/01 2441233
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011233Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3134
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002928 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO INR/B

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: RRT ERBIL: PUK POLITBURO MEMBERS ON KIRKUK AND USG

Classified By: Regional Coordinator Jess Baily for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

This is a Regional Reconstruction Team (RRT) Cable.



1. (C) SUMMARY: Members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK) are committed to completing the provisions of Article
140 which addresses the status of the city of Kirkuk. They
will not negotiate on changing the 2007 deadline for Article
140 implementation but hinted that they will allow for an
extension to keep the process moving forward. With little
acknowledgement of the practical matters involved in Article
140 normalization implementation, they cited funding issues
and relations with Government of Iraq (GOI) officials as the
main obstacle. Harkening back to past history (post
World-War I, 1975, 1991), PUK politburo members expressed a
fear of being abandoned by the USG and believe their
geo-strategic situation makes them vulnerable to attack. The
Kurds have an almost psychological need for a permanent US
military and diplomatic presence in the Kurdistan region.
END SUMMARY.

ARTICLE 140 IMPLEMENTATION



2. (C) On August 26, RRT Deputy Director and IPAO met with
PUK politburo members Omer Said Ali and Jalal Jawher Ali at
the Politburo headquarters in Sulaimaniyah. (Biographical
notes below). Omer Said Ali told RRT Offs:

-- Kirkuk is Kurdish and always been; it must return to the
Kurdistan Region.

-- Arabs can stay in Kirkuk and live in peace with the Kurds
but they cannot vote to reclaim the territory.

-- The PUK will not negotiate on extending the formal
deadline of Article 140 implementation.-- To keep the process
of Article 140 implementation moving, the PUK would agree to
carry out Article 140 measures past 2007.

OBSTACLES TO ARTICLE 140 IMPLEMENTATION



3. (C) For the PUK politburo members, money is the cause for
delay in Article 140 implementation. The 200,000,000 Iraqi
dinars (approximately 150,000,000 USD) set aside for
normalization must be released. When the money is there,
measures on property claims and border disputes will go
forward. At one point, Jawher upped the ante by saying one
billion dollars will solve the problem. (Note: normalization
involves the return of internally displaced people,
settlement of property disputes, and adjustment of borders
changed under Saddam to reduce the number of non-Arabs in the
province. End note.)



4. (C) PUK politburo members agreed that working with GOI
officials is an obstacle to Article 140 implementation. The
Sunnis are to blame for the failings of federalism in Iraq,
they noted. Said Ali said GOI officials have not taken steps
to make the Article 140 implementation go easier and curb the
violence in Kirkuk. He asked the USG to put pressure on GOI
leaders to make progress on Article 140 implementation.



5. (C) The politburo members told RRTOffs that Kurdish
residents of Kirkuk pushed the PUK leadership for Article 140
implementation. They added that the PUK is managing the
Kurds to prevent them from taking action into their own hands
against the Arabs. Said Ali warned RRT Offs that the people
are impatient and want to reclaim the land. The Turkomen
community also turned to the PUK for land and food, he
stated. The area of Basheer, located outside Kirkuk is
traditionally home to Turkomen, Said Ali continued, but Arabs
live there now and have killed Turkomen who wanted to reclaim
the land. Jawher told RRT Off later that he wished to speak
in more detail on the Article 140 process in a separate
meeting.

PERCEPTION OF USG


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





6. (C) Omer Said Ali said the Kurdish worry about being
betrayed by the USG. Kurdistan is a nation of 25 million
dispersed over Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, he noted. The
Iraqi Kurdistan region has its own military, natural
resources, and government but it is fearful of its Arab,
Turkish and Iranian neighbors and sees itself "living like an
island."



7. (C) The politburo members stressed to RRT Offs that the
USA must see the Kurds as its greatest ally in the Middle
East. They repeated that it is in the USG interest to
establish a permanent US presence in Iraq, both politically

BAGHDAD 00002928 002 OF 002


and militarily.

COMMENT


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





8. (C) The politburo members displayed singularly
unrealistic expectation on the practical requirements of
implementing Article 140. The money does not address the
logistical complexities and extended timeline necessary for
working through the property claims, border issues, the
census, and compensation matters. Politically and publicly,
the PUK will not negotiate the 2007 deadline. However, their
statements taken together implied a deeper tacit acceptance
to let the schedule stretch beyond 2007. Long standing
concerns of USG abandonment remain in PUK rhetoric as well as
a steadfast desire for a permanent USG military and political
presence in Iraqi Kurdistan.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES


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





9. (SBU) Omer Said Ali is a member of the PUK Executive
Bureau along with Mala Baxtiar, Head of Democratic
Organization and Dr. Kamel Fouad, Head of PUK Finance. Said
Ali was in Abu Gharib prison in 1977 and obtained amnesty in
1980, the same year he joined the Peshmerga. In 1981, he
suffered a leg injury and sought treatment in Sweden where he
stayed until 1985. In 1986, he returned to Sulaimaniyah and
lived in the mountains with the Peshmerga and made occasional
visits to Sweden for medical treatment. He is known to be
anti-materialistic and maintains a simple lifestyle,
foregoing comfortable homes and vehicles which his position
provides for.



10. (SBU) Jawal Jawher is from Kirkuk and joined the
Peshmerga in 1991. From 1991 to 1996 he was a PUK
organization member. In 1997, he became Governor of Kirkuk,
based in Darbandihkan, Sulaimaniyah Province (Kirkuk being
under the control of Saddam at the time.) In 1998, he became
Minister of Municipality, Sulaimaniyah. From 2000-2003 he
was Minister of Industry (PUK, Sulaimaniyah). In 2001,
Jawher became a member of the PUK politburo. Since 2003,
Jawher is responsible for Kirkuk affairs for the PUK. In
Kirkuk, he created a bureau to deal with internally displaced
persons. Jawher is currently responsible for the politburo's
office for Observation and Investigations.
CROCKER