Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09BAGHDAD77
2009-01-12 13:29:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

PRT SALAH AD DIN: GEO PREPARES FOR PROVINCIAL

Tags:  PGOV PREL PTER PINS IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4688
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0077/01 0121329
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121329Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1189
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000077 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PINS IZ
SUBJECT: PRT SALAH AD DIN: GEO PREPARES FOR PROVINCIAL
ELECTIONS, FEARS FRAUD AND INTIMIDATION

REF: 08 BAGHDAD 1684

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor John Fox for reasons 1.4 (a)
and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000077

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PINS IZ
SUBJECT: PRT SALAH AD DIN: GEO PREPARES FOR PROVINCIAL
ELECTIONS, FEARS FRAUD AND INTIMIDATION

REF: 08 BAGHDAD 1684

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor John Fox for reasons 1.4 (a)
and (d).


1. (U) This is a PRT Salah ad Din reporting cable.


2. (C) SUMMARY: PRT Salah Ad Din (SaD) and local Coalition
Forces (CF) met recently with the SaD Governorate Elections
Officer (GEO) to discuss preparations for upcoming provincial
elections. The GEO detailed the procedure for holding
elections in SaD, and said preparations are going smoothly.
He acknowledged the need for voter education and described
voter outreach efforts. The GEO voiced concern about
potential electoral fraud and fears that current provincial
officials may intimidate political rivals. He lacks
confidence in the Iraqi Police (IP),who are providing
election security in SaD. The GEO has requested close
involvement by CF to counteract this, maintaining that a
visible U.S. presence on election day would not taint the
elections' legitimacy. END SUMMARY.


3. (SBU) In a January 3 meeting the SaD GEO, Dr. Hatim
Abdulhamid, said that the Independent High Electoral
Commission (IHEC) had approved 591 out of 615 candidates to
run in elections in SaD. Hatim said that the majority of the
24 disqualified were due to Ba'ath party connections. The
candidates will run in 45 different political entities
(parties, coalitions, or independent candidates) for 28
provincial council seats.

--------------
VOTER EDUCATION EFFORTS
--------------


4. (SBU) Hatim believes voters in SaD are largely uninformed
about the elections; for this reason IHEC began holding voter
education seminars at the end of December. The PRT informed
him of its province-wide voter outreach program sponsored
through a local NGO. Hatim agreed this was a good idea and
approved of the NGO chosen.

--------------
ELECTION PREPARATIONS
--------------


5. (C) According to Hatim, ballots will arrive in SaD from
Mosul, will and be transported to the GEO warehouse in
Tikrit. From there they will be distributed to branch
warehouses and then to the 280 voting centers in SaD. Iraqi

Police (IP) under Provincial Director of Police (PDOP) Major
General Hamed Al-Namis will move the ballots to voting
centers; the Iraqi Army (IA) will serve as backup. The
ballots will arrive sealed with serial numbers, which
supervisors will verify at each voting center prior to the
elections. Each voting center will have approximately five
stations with 400 voter names. The voter registration lists
at each voting station correspond to Public Distribution
System (PDS) name lists and distribution sites.


6. (SBU) Five voting centers will service a remote area to
the west of Tikrit near Lake Tharthar. Area residents could
travel to vote in a PDS-based voting center, or stay in the
Tharthar area for convenience. Hatim had originally
requested 24 centers for remote areas.


7. (C) After the elections, votes will be tallied and sealed
in boxes with a serial-numbered lock. Three copies will be
made of the official vote tallies; one will remain with the
voting center manager, and two will be sent with the ballots
back to the GEO warehouse. Once there, one copy will remain
with the GEO and the other will be forwarded to Baghdad.


8. (C) Hatim said on election day he will work out of an
operations center in the Provincial Governorate building in
Tikrit. Local CF confirmed that they will have liaisons at
the center who will be in contact with CF HQ. During the
meeting Hatim and his security assistant, Waddah Ibrahim
Mohammed, repeatedly requested that CF maintain a visible
QMohammed, repeatedly requested that CF maintain a visible
presence in SaD--on the ground and in the air--on election
day. He disagreed with USG's assessment that U.S.
involvement in elections would taint their legitimacy. CF
assured him they will have this capability. CF and the Iraqi
Security Forces are conducting joint security reviews of all
voting centers in the province.

--------------
SECURITY CONCERNS
--------------


9. (C) Hatim said that the IP will provide primary security
for elections, with IA as backup. Locations with known

BAGHDAD 00000077 002 OF 002


insurgent activity will have additional security. He has
been troubled that the IP have been telling him that known
troubled areas are "all clear." Hatim said he has more
confidence in CF security arrangements.

--------------
POTENTIAL INTIMIDATION CONCERNS
--------------


10. (C) Hatim voiced concern that current provincial
officials may use their positions to influence the election.
He has received reports that Major Ahmed Fahal, Head of the
SaD Police Department Counterterrorism Unit, had attempted to
prevent a political party from registering for the election.


11. (C) In a separate meeting with the PRT, Hatim said that
Fahal supports Deputy Governor Abdullah Jebara, and expressed
concern that Fahal might target Abdullah's political rivals
on election day. Hatim feared that anyone running against
Abdullah could be accused of terrorist activity and be
arrested by Fahal. (NOTE: Deputy Governor Abdullah was
initially disqualified from running by the de-Ba'athification
Commission; his candidacy has since been reinstated. END
NOTE). Hatim maintains that Abdullah and Fahal respect CF,
and requested CF protection to prevent election-day
irregularities by them.


12. (C) Hatim told us that Abdullah has a record of
intimidating GEOs: he had had the previous GEO (before
Hatim) arrested (reftel). Hatim said that after becoming
GEO, Abdullah told him about his predecessor's arrest in an
effort to intimidate him.

--------------
POTENTIAL FRAUD CONCERNS
--------------


13. (C) Hatim worried about potential electoral fraud. The
five remote voting centers near Lake Tharthar create the
potential for double voting, since they would be outside the
PDS name-list system. Hatim said there will be a cordon of
these areas and a curfew will be imposed near the remote
stations to reduce the chance that double-voting will occur.
Hatim didn't explain why there are special arrangements for
the Lake Tharthar area, but not for other equally remote
areas.


14. (C) As another counter-fraud measure, voting center
managers will continually compare the number of ballots cast
with the voter sign-in sheet. The number of ballots cannot
deviate from the number of signatures by more than four
percent (e.g., 300 votes allows a maximum of 12 signatures to
be missing). Hatim said he will insist on a clean election
in SaD, in spite of any intimidation attempts. Yet he
expects that following the elections all disappointed parties
will accuse him of voter fraud.
CROCKER