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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BAGHDAD4221 2007-12-31 09:59:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

VP HASHEMI ON ALLYING WITH KURDS AND STABILIZING

Tags:   PREL PGOV PINS PINR PTER IZ 
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1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador met on 30 December with Vice
President and Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) head Tariq
al-Hashemi. Hashemi said the purpose of the IIP-Kurdish
agreement last week was to pressure the GOI to work harder
for political progress and to cooperate against increasing
violence in Mosul province, but not to threaten the Shia
parties or supplant the quadripartite "Moderates Bloc." He
called for revamping the Ninewa Provincial Council (PC),
holding provincial elections as soon as possible, and
generating formal dialogue among local leaders to reduce
perceived Kurdish political dominance in the province.
Hashemi condemned Turkish airstrikes earlier this month which
killed and displaced Iraqi civilians but promised to support
the de-Ba,athification draft in the COR and penal reform in
advance of a long-term bilateral security agreement. End
summary.

Hashimi Explains IIP-Kurd Agreement


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





2. (C) The Ambassador opened the meeting by congratulating
Hashemi on the IIP,s recent denunciation by
Usama bin Laden, for which Hashemi expressed his hearty
gratitude. The Ambassador then asked about the agreement
last week between the IIP, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP),
and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which Hashemi
described as a signal to the Maliki government to move the
political process forward. He said the agreement does not
replace the existing alliance between the KDP, PUK, Dawa
party, and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), and that
ISCI should understand the new agreement is a not a threat.

Stabilize Ninewa With Elections and Dialogue


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





3. (C) Hashemi declared his support for balancing the Ninewa
PC and holding a formal dialogue among political actors to
slow the violence in Ninewa province. Balancing the
Kurd-dominated PC is the key to provincial security, Hashemi
argued, and he expressed strong support for adding
non-Kurdish deputies to the PC in spite of the questionable
constitutionality of such a move. The Vice President said he
would tweak the PC even more than was done in Anbar earlier
this year and vowed he would not insist that IIP candidates
dominate the new spots, as long as the end result was better
proportional representation. He also claimed to support
provincial elections as soon as possible, citing May 2008 as
a target date, to break the political deadlock even though
the IIP risks losing positions in some provinces.



4. (C) The Vice President offered avenues for improving
dialogue among Kurds, Arab Sunnis, and other
groups in Ninewa. The IIP-Kurdish agreement establishes a
committee to address security in the province, which an IIP
delegation on 31 December will discuss in Erbil with
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister
Nechirvan Barzani and Vice President Kosrat Rasul. Hashemi
also detailed plans for a conference of Kurdish, Sunni,
Christian, and other leaders in Mosul.

Hashimi Condemns Turkish Bombing


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





5. (C) Hashemi condemned Turkey,s recent bombings that
killed Iraqi civilians as counterproductive. He said as the
Iraqi Vice President he was responsible for any civilians
killed or displaced, regardless of their location or
ethnicity. He also claimed he had avoided direct contact
with Turkish officials since the bombing, although he planned
to see the Turkish Ambassador later that day. The Ambassador
asked about President Talabani,s claim last week that Turkey
was disrupting security in Mosul and that Hashemi would give
more information. Hashemi said he had no concrete evidence
of such meddling and noted that the Kurdish, not Turkish,
position has contributed to
instability in Mosul.

Supporting Prison Reform and De-Ba,th Law


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





6. (C) The Ambassador commended the cabinet for producing an
amnesty bill and noted that reforming Iraq,s
detention procedures would be a major issue in upcoming
long-term security talks. Hashemi suggested the USG offer
its own prisoner release to complement the GOI amnesty, and
agreed Iraq,s prisons are not up to basic standards. He
cited his recent visit to Sousa prison in Suleimaniyah as a
hopeful example, however, saying the prison met his standards

BAGHDAD 00004221 002 OF 002


for providing services and respecting human rights. Even the
Al Qaida detainees he spoke to had not complained about their
treatment.



7. (C) Finally, the Ambassador asked briefly about the
status of the de-Ba,thification law, which Hashemi
emphatically claimed the IIP supports and would help to pass.
He said the bill was stalling because of "others" -
probably a swipe at the Sadr bloc - but that the IIP would
coordinate more closely with the Kurds on key legislation as
a result of their new agreement.
CROCKER