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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08BAGHDAD2739
2008-08-26 06:23:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

MINISTER OF STATE SEEKS TO PULL PROVINCES INTO

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8456
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2739/01 2390623
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 260623Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9061
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002739 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINR IZ
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF STATE SEEKS TO PULL PROVINCES INTO
STATE ORBIT

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Robert S. Ford, Reasons 1.4
(b) and (d).



1. (C) "We must teach the provinces the meaning of
centralization," the new Minister of State for Governorate
Affairs told PolMinCouns and DepPolCouns (notetaker) during
their August 24 courtesy call. Mrs. Khulud Sami 'Azarah Al
Ma'jun, who was confirmed in late July to fill a long vacant
cabinet spot, commented that there had been no effective
ministerial control of the provinces since "the Collapse of
2003". Noting that her portfolio had been very active during
the Saddam years, she suggested that Baghdad's lighter touch
in recent years had misled the provinces into believing they
were independent of the central state. Greater coordination
between the provincial and central governments was imperative
and her office would strive to fulfill a missing managerial
role. Poloffs told the Minister of State that Coalition PRTs
aim to build local administrative capacity according to a
menu of projects agreed upon with local governments. There
obviously needs to be coordination between the central
government and the provinces, they noted, but it is also
important to build local capacity -- a point the Minister of
State readily accepted.

Governorates Show Competency Deficit


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





2. (C) Khulud suggested there were significant unresolved
questions, chiefly, where did governors themselves fit into
the state apparatus. Was a governor subordinate to his or
her Provincial Council (PC) or to a central ministry? Khulud
suggested her shop should take on greater oversight of
governors and provide a link for the governorates with the
Office of the Prime Minister as well as key service
ministries like the Ministry of Municipalities and Public
Works. Adding to the urgency of reform was the patent
incompetence of many governors and governorates, which she
said was evident in many their failures at project
management. Khulud declared it vital to stand up the
capacity of the governorates, if only to free the Office of
the Prime Minister from having to step in on project
management. There was need of a systematic, legally-based
review of the governorates, she said, mentioning a draft law
currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice which
would address the qualifications of Provincial Council
members and Governors.


Governorate Affairs: A Little Shop Around the Corner


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



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





3. (C) Khulud stated that resources at the Governorates
Affairs office were insufficient, especially given its
responsibilities for the whole of Iraq. She had added two
secretaries to a staff of 16, which included two legal

advisers alongside largely administrative support. Khulud's
efforts to set up a team for tribal outreach had stalled
after her proposed candidate failed to win central approval.
She would continue to flag for the Prime Minister the need
for further resources. Any USG support would be welcome,
especially funding, she commented, prompting PolMinCounselor
to caution that we could not provide financing. He suggested
instead the possibility of technical assistance with regard
to legislative drafting, and the Minister said this, too,
would be of interest.

Teaching Khulud about the PRTs


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





4. (C) Khulud claimed ignorance of the PRT program and
PolMinCouns provided a short explanation of the scope of
their assistance throughout the provinces. PolMinCouns
volunteered he would work with OPA Director to facilitate
encounters with Team Leaders and explore opportunities for
encounters with the PRTs, which Khulud suggested she might
pursue in conjunction with local officials when visiting the
provinces. (Note: OPA Director will request a meeting with
the Minister to provide a briefing on PRT mission and will
offer assistance in arranging briefings from PRTs when the
Minister is traveling to a province. Hopefully, these will
be joint briefings with the provincial governments. End
Note.)

Comment: Message -- Bring the Governorates to Heel


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



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





5. (C) Comment: Khulud lost no time in defining her mandate
in terms of reestablishing a degree of control over the
governorates so as to correct their growing if mistaken sense
of independence from the central government. Her approach
was consistent with efforts of PM Maliki to impose anew the
authority of Baghdad on the periphery, notably through

BAGHDAD 00002739 002 OF 002


military operations in Basra, Maysan, Diyala and Mosul, which
brought pressure to bear on both governors and the PC to toe
the line. Her questioning of the true autonomy of governors,
let alone their competency, recalled past attempts to relieve
governors in Basra and Maysan and it echoed the battle royale
waged during passage of the Provincial Powers Law about
whether the Prime Minister, the Council of Representatives,
and the PCs should have the authority to dismiss governors
and what would constitute due process. In sum, her views
mirror those of many of our contacts in Baghdad who have
never seen a truly federal state in Iraq or elsewhere in the
region. Instead, she spoke of a vision of state affairs far
closer to what she has known since she was a young law
student.

Biodata for Minister of State for Governorate Affairs


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



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





6. (U) Born in 1950, Mrs. Khulud Sami 'Azarah Al Ma'junKhulud
holds a Bachelors of Law from Baghdad University (1972), as
well as Diplomas in Legal Studies and Criminology and a
Doctorate in Criminal Law from Cairo University. An Iraqi
citizen, she also holds Saudi citizenship through her father,
who was granted political asylum in Saudi Arabia in 1971.
Khulud said she had lived over 24 years abroad, working for
14 years in Saudi Arabia at a College of Administrative
Science. She worked at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior from
2007 until her appointment to Minister of State in 2008.
Born in 1950, she is married and has two daughters and a son.
Khulud, who professes to belong to no party, has roots in
the United Iraqi Alliance.


BUTENIS