Cablegate: Kirkuk Provincial Council Chair Describes Roles And

DE RUEHGB #0600/01 0610733
P 010733Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. This is a PRT Kirkuk cable.

2. (SBU) Summary: Chairman of the Kirkuk Provincial Council Rizgar
Ali convened an information sharing session on February 17 with the
district and sub-district councils of the predominantly Arab areas.
Regarding the Provincial Powers Law (PPL), he said it would not take
effect until after provincial elections but would provide the basis
for clarifying the roles and responsibilities of local government
bodies and positions. The PPL will provide a legal basis for the
conduct of local government, which has been lacking since the
institution of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), in
Rizgar's opinion. Rizgar informed subordinate level council members
on the sources of funds available to them and called on them to be
more active in coordinating local affairs with line ministry
officials, their own administrators and the Provincial Council (PC).
End summary.

3. (U) Chairman Rizgar Ali convened an information sharing session
on Februray 17 with the district and sub-district councils of the
predominately Arab areas of the Province to cover the status of the
Law of Governorates Not Organized into a Region (colloquially known
as the PPL), the financing sources for local government and how to
access them, operating and maintenance expense budgeting for local
councils, the requirement for and how to operate committees,
coordination with the local offices of the Baghdad ministries and
the Executive authorities, Councils' relationships with their
constituents and media relations.

4. (U) Regarding the PPL, Rizgar said that it still needs to be
signed by "The President and his two deputies," with no mention of
the following step of the GOI publishing it in the Gazette. It will
be implemented after the next election but until then, the
Governorates act of 1969 and CPA 71 will continue to provide the
authorities of the local councils.

5. (U) Rizgar told the council members that the sources of funds
available for local councils come from three sources: the local
(aka district) allocations of the Provincial project funding
provided through the Provincial Council; the Ministries' budgets for
their offices' operations in the province; and grants made by the
GOI and international donors.

6. (SBU) Mr. Rizgar, a PUK member and part of the Kirkuk
Brotherhood List (KBL), upon seeing Mr. Rakan, the recently selected
Arab Deputy Governor entering the chamber and attempting to take a
seat on the floor, invited him to take a seat at the Chairman's
bench at the front of the PC Chamber. (Comment: This is
significant as KBL cooperation with Mr. Rakan, a key player in the
"Arab Bloc" and well-connected Hawija district leader, is becoming
increasingly public. End comment.)

7. (U) Rizgar said that local councils should have effective
committees with at least three members on each and they should
coordinate with their PC counterpart committees. They should
coordinate horizontally with line-ministry officials and also with
their appointed administrators (aka Mayors). (Note: The term
"Mayor" is in common use for these positions, but "administrator" is
more accurate in translation and official duties. End note.) Their
local council chairs should attend the PC sessions. They should
also be available to their constituents, inviting them to local
council sessions and also including NGOs, "notable people, and
village representatives."

8. (U) Rizgar directed the councils to prepare operating and
maintenance budgets based on funding becoming available in the near
future. Councils will be able to use these funds for procurement of
vehicles and other equipment and for office supplies.

9. (U) Interspersed throughout the session, Rizgar addressed
questions posed by attendees. The district administrator of Abassi
complained that district and sub-district officials were not
involved in the strategic projects planning process and that
population figures were not correct. This error produced incorrect
PC funds allocations. The reservation of 25 percent of capital
projects funds for internally displaced persons was also raised.
Rizgar addressed the census issue by saying, "it is too difficult to
hold a census now." Another local council member complained that
they lack the resources to perform their jobs and that local line
ministry office directors do not cooperate with them. Officials
also asked for weapons carrying permits. Rizgar responded that
Coalition Forces (CF) had previously issued weapons permits but were
no longer doing so and these were now a Ministry of Interior issue.
He recommended that they coordinate with their local CF commander to
gain permission for personal carry but this would work in their
local areas only. Rizgar also discussed privatizing the State Owned
Enterprises, based on local resistance to this policy in evidence in
the meeting. Local council members called for increased PC
visibility, including Rizgar visiting their areas.

BAGHDAD 00000600 002 OF 002

10. (SBU) In discussion with IPAO following the session, Rizgar
confided that he intended to hold a similar session for the councils
of the predominately Kurdish districts "next week." (Note: Those
sessions were not scheduled at the time, IPAO confirmed immediately
following the meeting. End note.) On the topic of the
clarification of authorities, since he feels that the roles and
responsibilities between Councils and Governors and lower level
administrators (aka "Mayors") are not clear, Rizgar opined that if
the PPL is ratified, it will provide a basis for clear legal
guidance to the branches of Provincial and Local Government. He
stated, however, that the law would not go into effect until after
elections and that it was likely that local gridlock would continue
until then. Per Rizgar, while some feel that the Governor's
position was strengthened by the addition of the Prime Minister and
COR in removing a Governor, he feels that it is just an additional
mechanism and one that would be hard to use and that the Council's
power will grow as part of the overall increase in standing of
provincial government in general.

11. (U) Comment. It has been difficult to pin down Rizgar's view
on whether any relevant law existed granting powers to provincial
and local governments, with CPA 71 given only lip service.
Conversations with key advisors (reftel)indicate that the advice he
has been getting is that there is no legal basis for Council action
until the PPL is enacted, explaining much of the PC's caution to
date. As Rizgar has noted, since the PPL contains a provision that
the law would not come into effect until after elections are held,
when combined with the PPL's language calling for elections no later
than October 1, 2008, local governance stagnation will continue
until after a new council convenes. End comment.


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