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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08BAGHDAD1763 2008-06-10 18:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

MEETING BETWEEN S/I AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD AND

Tags:   PGOV PREL IZ IR 
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VZCZCXRO5793
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1763/01 1621835
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101835Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7751
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001763 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ IR
SUBJECT: MEETING BETWEEN S/I AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD AND
DEPUTY COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER SHEIKH ATTIYA,
JUNE 8, 2008

Classified By: Political Counselor Matt Tueller for reasons 1.4 (b, d).



1. (C) Summary: In a June 8 meeting with S/I Satterfield,
Deputy Speaker Sheikh Khalid Attiya said that most remaining
obstacles to a new election law can be resolved, but that
there is no agreement on the division of seats for the Kirkuk
council. Delaying the election there might be the most
practical way forward. Attiya favors an open list approach,
which he claims is supported by Iraqis and "most" of the
ruling coalition. He declined to predict quick passage of
the election law. Attiya pled for greater U.S. engagement
with moderate Iraqi Shia. He criticized the Sadrists and
approved the government's approach aimed at weakening them.
End Summary.

Law on elections -- Kirkuk a stumbling block


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





2. (C) On June 8, S/I Satterfield met with Sheikh Khalid
Attiya, Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives
(CoR), at Attiyah's home. Satterfield opened by asking about
prospects for the law on provincial elections. Attiya
responded that most obstacles to a new law could be resolved,
but that the division of seats in the Kirkuk provincial
council was a true stumbling block -- a theme he returned to
several times. He referred to the Turcoman proposal to
divide the seats evenly among themselves, the Kurds and the
Arabs. The other two groups had not agreed to this, and
Attiya believed that a UNAMI proposal to postpone the
election in Kirkuk might be the only practical way forward.
The Kurds would welcome such a delay, but Attiya did not know
whether the Turcomen and Arabs would accept one.



3. (C) Satterfield asked how the representation of women in
provincial elections would be handled in the draft law.
Attiya said the fundamental issue was not how the "quota"
would be managed in an open or closed list system. It could
be implemented "without difficulty" in either case. The real
issue under debate in the CoR was whether in fact the fixed
quota was Constitutionally mandated for provincial elections
or was specified only for the national CoR election. Attiya
said there was no clear majority or consensus view on this;
some opponents of applying the quota at the provincial level
cited the "tribal character" of local society and the
difficulty in "imposing" women candidates/representatives in
such circumstances.



4. (C) On the electoral system itself, Attiya said that he
favored an open list in the provincial elections. Waxing
animated, Attiya said that this was the approach "people
wanted," and was the only way to restore credibility to
politics - by establishing a greater bond of confidence than
now existed between elector and elected official.
Satterfield asked whether there was consensus within the UIA
on an open list. Most of the UIA was agreed, Attiya said.
On timing of the electoral law passage, Attiya doubted that
the draft law would be done quickly quickly, i.e., within the
next week. Other problems could be solved, but the issue of
representation in Kirkuk was not near resolution.

Attiya asks for attention to moderate Shia


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





5. (C) Telling Satterfield he wished to "open his heart" to
him, Attiya began a lengthy complaint that the Congress and
people of the United States had a distorted image of the
"moderate Shia majority" in Iraq (and Lebanon). Sunnis claim
that Shia are extremists, but the Shia message is one of
toleration and coexistence. Nor is the Sunni claim true that
Iraqi (or Lebanese) Shia are loyal to Iran. The United
States, he said, had an excellent official dialogue with Shia
leaders in Iraq and those same leaders were repeatedly
invited for meetings in the U.S. - but this was not
sufficient. The U.S. had to build a deeper relationship
beyond the "leaders you talk with all the time" and both
reach out to a broader number of "moderate Shia" and bring
them to the U.S. for dialogue both with the Congress and the
American people. Satterfield commented that we agreed on the
distorted image - both in the region and outside - of the
Shia community in Iraq and elsewhere in Arab states. Arab
perceptions of Iraq were beginning to change for the better,
however, and with that change should come a better
understanding of the region's Shia communities as well.

Trends within Sadrist movement


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





6. (C) Satterfield asked for Attiya's current assessment of
the Sadrist political movement. (Note: Attiya has been a
scathing critic of the Sadrist Trend - especially the conduct
of its CoR members. End Note.) Attiya approved of the

BAGHDAD 00001763 002 OF 002


methods used by the government to restore order in Jaysh
al-Mahdi (JAM) controlled areas, but underscored the
importance of following kinetic measures with
economic/humanitarian steps, especially provision of
essential services and generating employment. Attiya called
the Sadrist approach "immature" and said a strategy - along
the lines he noted - had to be worked out to combat it and to
strengthen the government.

BUTENIS
BUTENIS