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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BASRAH77 2007-09-04 18:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN REO Basrah
Cable title:  

BASRAH GOVERNOR BESET WITH PROBLEMS

Tags:   PGOV PREL IR UK IZ 
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VZCZCXRO7793
RR RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHBC #0077/01 2471828
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 041828Z SEP 07
FM REO BASRAH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0589
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0171
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0036
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHBC/REO BASRAH 0620
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BASRAH 000077 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/4/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL IR UK IZ
SUBJECT: BASRAH GOVERNOR BESET WITH PROBLEMS

REF: (A) BASRAH 38 (B) BASRAH 44 (C) BASRAH 53 (D) BASRAH 58 (E) BASRAH 67
(F) BASRAH 71

BASRAH 00000077 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Louis Bono, Regional Coordinator, Regional
Embassy Office Basrah, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: Governor Muhammed Wa'eli visited the Regional
Embassy Office (REO) August 30 to give us a tour de force of
current issues confronting him. He told us that the court's
decision on his fate was delayed and is now expected in
mid-September. He seemed confident, but not overwhelmingly, that
the court will rule in his favor and said he was getting support
from President Jalil Talibani. He noted that the police force is
infiltrated with militias loyal to the political parties, making
their reform problematic. He maintains contact with MND-SE, but
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) refuses to speak to
him. On national politics, Fadhila was negotiating with multiple
parties to ensure its participation in
the current or a future government. Wa'eli also refuted central
government assertions that Basrah was "stealing" electrical
power. End Summary.

AND THE VERDICT IS...DELAYED


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





2. (C) Wa'eli said the court's decision has been delayed by the
Provincial Council's (PC) failure to appear (refs A, B & G).
Wa'eli also claimed that the PC's own lawyer admitted Wa'eli was
likely to win. We noted that a month ago, Wa'eli was not
optimistic, but that the momentum seems to have shifted in his
favor (ref F). He replied that the legal proceedings were
working in his favor because they were revealing the
questionable circumstances of how the no-confidence vote
occurred (refs A-C). Wa'eli also reported that Talibani told
Maliki the Council of Ministers had no authority to direct
Wa'eli to step down (ref B). Wa'eli added that during his most
recent visit to Baghdad, which included a trip to Maliki's
office, no one asked him to give up his position.

ON BASRAH'S SECURITY


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





3. (C/NF) Wa'eli lamented that the central government's recent
actions to fix Basrah's security problems were the same ones he
recommended a year ago. The governor admitted that Basrah
security chief, LTG Mohan Hafith Fahad and Iraqi Police (IP)
chief, MG Jalik Khalaf Shueil, seemed strong and made some
improvements, yet Wa'eli stopped short of a personal
endorsement. Instead, Wa'eli blamed the British for staffing
the IP with police beholden to political parties and their
militias following de-Baathification. He pointed out that the PC
is now seeking to remove Jalil because he is trying to purge the
IP of militia members. (Comment: the PC gave Jalil a
no-confidence vote two weeks ago after he dismissed 112 corrupt
members of the National Information and Investigation Agency. It
is ironic that the PC was once counting on Maliki to fire
Wa'eli, but is opposed to Jalil, who was appointed by Maliki,
because Jalil is threatening their influence. End
Comment.) Wa'eli added that the ISF are rarely seen on the
streets and the IP and Iraqi Army need to coordinate better
(ref E).

RELATIONS WITH THE BRITISH


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





4. (C/NF) Wa'eli said that his relations with the British
military were good, though he has not met or heard from the new
MND-SE commander, MG Graham Binns. His relationship with the
British Consulate was a different matter - one Wa'eli
characterized as "hostile." According to governor, the British
Consulate supported his removal in favor of his rival, Hassan
al-Rashid, the head of the Badr Organization.

FADHILA LOOKS TO ITS FUTURE


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





5. (C) Wa'eli indicated that Fadhila is negotiating with several
parties to secure its involvement in the current or a future
government (ref F). Fadhila remains critical of PM Maliki and
his Dawa advisors who, according to Wa'eli, take instructions
from Iran and are failing Iraq. But in the next breath, Wa'eli
told us that Fadhila is negotiating with Maliki's governing
coalition and may re-join the government, though it had not yet
decided. Despite local tensions and disagreements over ideology,
Wa'eli stated that Fadhila was also negotiating with ISCI and

BASRAH 00000077 002.2 OF 002


would consider unifying with ISCI were Adil Abd al-Mahdi to
become PM, given al-Mahdi's nationalist tendencies. In fact,
Wa'eli believes ISCI will play a larger role in a future
government and is strong enough to potentially collapse the
government by pulling out.

BASRAH'S ELECTICAL OUTPUT


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





6. (C) Wa'eli refuted the central government's claims that
Basrah was hording electrical power from Baghdad. He claimed
that Minister of Electricity, Karim Wahid al-Hasan, was "looking
for an excuse to save his job" because Hasan failed to improve
electrical output. According to Wa'eli, half of Basrah's 7-800
Megawatt production goes to the oil refineries and
ports, leaving only 450 Megawatts for the city. He said, "Shall
I send that 450 to Baghdad leaving us with nothing?" He admitted
Basrah had increased its electrical usage because consumers were
purchasing more electric appliances due to positive job growth.

COMMENT


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





7. (C) Wa'eli did not appear overconfident about his prospects
to remain as governor. While he claims to have a solid legal
case, another observer suggested that the court may determine
that the PC's no confidence vote, which was conducted by
signature and not in open session, is invalid. This could give
the PC the option to take another vote in compliance with the
court's instructions. Nevertheless, the opposition continues to
refer to Wa'eli as the governor, and we will continue to work
with him in this capacity pending the final resolution.
BONO