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Cablegate: Prt Kirkuk: Councils Convocation Ii -

VZCZCXRO0173
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0695/01 0691035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091035Z MAR 08 ZDK NUMEROUS SVCS
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6129
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BAGHDAD 000695

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI ECON IZ

SUBJECT: PRT KIRKUK: COUNCILS CONVOCATION II -
THE KURDISH SESSION

REF: BAGHDAD 600

BAGHDAD 00000695 001.2 OF 004


1. (U) This is a PRT Kirkuk reporting cable.

2. (SBU) Summary: Rizgar Ali, Chairman of the Kirkuk Provincial
Council (PC), convened a second information sharing session on
February 24 with the primarily Kurdish and Turkman district and
sub-district councils to discuss council operations, roles and
responsibilities. Rizgar focused his introductory remarks on an
emerging conflict with the Ministry of Oil (MoO) involving the
transfer of two oil drilling rigs from the Northern Oil Company
(NOC) to the Southern Oil Company (SOC). He complained about the
lack of clear instructions from the Ministries of Finance (MOF) and
Planning and Cooperative Development (MOPDC) on how to execute
projects, which he feels undermines the PC's ability to provide
adequate project oversight. Rizgar also called for the GoI to
conduct a new census due to outdated population data. During 2008,
Rizgar said he will initiate a project to provide Internet
connectivity to the local councils (LCs). He also called for all
LCs to create committees corresponding to the PC's to coordinate
projects vertically. He further intends to reestablish an informal
system to function like district-based representation between the PC
and district constituents. End Summary.

3. (SBU) Rizgar Ali, Chairman of the Kirkuk PC, convened the second
of two information sharing sessions on February 24 with the
predominantly Kurdish and Turkman districts and sub-districts
(reftel), to discuss the roles and responsibilities of councils.
Rizgar also spoke on the possible impact that implementation of the
Provincial Powers Law (PPL) will have on budgeting and finance
processes, funding sources, capital projects issues, and
coordination between different levels of government and with the
national line ministries.

4. (SBU) During his introductory remarks, Rizgar shared his views
on the developing situation with a Ministry of Oil (MoO) mandated
reassignment of two of the country's nine oil drilling platforms
from the Northern Oil Company (NOC) area to the Southern Oil Company
(SOC) area. Rizgar feels this pending move will only serve to
exacerbate Kirkuki perceptions of GoI favoritism toward the Shi'a
south. He used the example of the GoI's resistance to building a
refinery in Kirkuk to bolster his point, opining that the MoO's
overall design is to ensure that the Northern provinces cannot be
both large-scale producers and refiners. Rizgar complained that the
MoO still maintains absolute control of hiring for the NOC and
accused it of employing people from other provinces to work in
Kirkuk before considering the existing qualified workforce that
resides in Kirkuk.

5. (SBU) Rizgar stated that during a recent conversation with the
Commander of the 4th Iraqi Army Brigade, the Commander informed him
that, contrary to previous information, the Brigade would play no
role in the redeployment of the drilling platforms. Discussing the
possibility of Coalition Forces (CF) involvement in such a move,
Rizgar stated that relations between CF and the PRT would be
severely damaged. He did not specify with whom such relations would
suffer. (Comment: Rizgar seems to suggest that military assistance
will be necessary for the redeployment of the drilling platforms to
guard against any armed resistance. End Comment.)

6. (SBU) Rizgar reported that the Minister of Oil had recently made
more than one "secret" trip to Kirkuk using CF transportation, and
that, "doing so was a mistake." Rizgar also noted that although
Kirkuk produces high quality crude oil, in return the Province
receives low quality refined products, suggesting further evidence
of Baghdad-based bias against Kirkuk.

7. (SBU) Rizgar also raised the Article 140 issue and the presence
of Wafideen NOC employees, who are principally Shi'a Arabs who
Saddam moved into Kirkuk province as part of his resettlement
program. He accused the MoO of neglecting to facilitate their
resettlement. Rizgar concluded that the "SOC's budget is larger than
NOC's," and that he didn't understand the need to redeploy the
drills. (Comment: It was unclear whether Rizgar was speaking as the
PC Chairman or as a senior provincial PUK official and between which
parties CF involvement would harm relations. End Comment.)

8. (U) While discussing council funding sources, Rizgar said
without clear instructions from the MoPDC and MOF on how to execute
projects, there was confusion about how or when the PC should become
involved in the budget execution phase. Rizgar explained that part
of the confusion stems from the rejection of "Bremer's Law," (CPA
71) and the absence of a legal basis for PC action. Without clear
instructions, he warned that the PC would "pull back" from the
project process. Rizgar cited as an example that the PC had hired
40 project engineers in 2007 who are still without work assignments
because of existing confusion about budget execution.

9. (SBU) A heated exchange erupted between several local council
members when Rizgar raised the PC's population-based method for

BAGHDAD 00000695 002.2 OF 004


allocation of project funds. One Yaychi sub-district council member
argued that the forced emigration of the Saddam-era led to
inaccurate population counts. According to Rizgar, in Sargaran
sub-district there are no registered public distribution system
ration cards, so using PDS as a population source would deny any
funding. Sargaran sub-district residents temporarily residing in
Kirkuk City have re-registered there for the ease in receiving their
rations but maintain their residency in Sargaran sub-district.
UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS
PROG 03/09/2008
PRT:HKEEGAN
PRT:BEMCFARLAND
PRT:APDELOREY POL:MDALE
POL

AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
SECSTATE WASHDC ROUTINE
INFO IRAQ COLLECTIVE

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI ECON IZ

SUBJECT: PRT KIRKUK: COUNCILS CONVOCATION II -
THE KURDISH SESSION

REF: BAGHDAD 600

1. (U) This is a PRT Kirkuk reporting cable.

2. (SBU) Summary: Rizgar Ali, Chairman of the Kirkuk Provincial
Council (PC), convened a second information sharing session on
February 24 with the primarily Kurdish and Turkman district and
sub-district councils to discuss council operations, roles and
responsibilities. Rizgar focused his introductory remarks on an
emerging conflict with the Ministry of Oil (MoO) involving the
transfer of two oil drilling rigs from the Northern Oil Company
(NOC) to the Southern Oil Company (SOC). He complained about the
lack of clear instructions from the Ministries of Finance (MOF) and
Planning and Cooperative Development (MOPDC) on how to execute
projects, which he feels undermines the PC's ability to provide
adequate project oversight. Rizgar also called for the GoI to
conduct a new census due to outdated population data. During 2008,
Rizgar said he will initiate a project to provide Internet
connectivity to the local councils (LCs). He also called for all
LCs to create committees corresponding to the PC's to coordinate
projects vertically. He further intends to reestablish an informal
system to function like district-based representation between the PC
and district constituents. End Summary.

3. (SBU) Rizgar Ali, Chairman of the Kirkuk PC, convened the second
of two information sharing sessions on February 24 with the
predominantly Kurdish and Turkman districts and sub-districts
(reftel), to discuss the roles and responsibilities of councils.
Rizgar also spoke on the possible impact that implementation of the
Provincial Powers Law (PPL) will have on budgeting and finance
processes, funding sources, capital projects issues, and
coordination between different levels of government and with the
national line ministries.

4. (SBU) During his introductory remarks, Rizgar shared his views
on the developing situation with a Ministry of Oil (MoO) mandated
reassignment of two of the country's nine oil drilling platforms
from the Northern Oil Company (NOC) area to the Southern Oil Company
(SOC) area. Rizgar feels this pending move will only serve to
exacerbate Kirkuki perceptions of GoI favoritism toward the Shi'a
south. He used the example of the GoI's resistance to building a
refinery in Kirkuk to bolster his point, opining that the MoO's
overall design is to ensure that the Northern provinces cannot be
both large-scale producers and refiners. Rizgar complained that the
MoO still maintains absolute control of hiring for the NOC and
accused it of employing people from other provinces to work in
Kirkuk before considering the existing qualified workforce that
resides in Kirkuk.

5. (SBU) Rizgar stated that during a recent conversation with the
Commander of the 4th Iraqi Army Brigade, the Commander informed him
that, contrary to previous information, the Brigade would play no
role in the redeployment of the drilling platforms. Discussing the
possibility of Coalition Forces (CF) involvement in such a move,
Rizgar stated that relations between CF and the PRT would be
severely damaged. He did not specify with whom such relations would
suffer. (Comment: Rizgar seems to suggest that military assistance
will be necessary for the redeployment of the drilling platforms to
guard against any armed resistance. End Comment.)

6. (SBU) Rizgar reported that the Minister of Oil had recently made
more than one "secret" trip to Kirkuk using CF transportation, and

BAGHDAD 00000695 003.2 OF 004


that, "doing so was a mistake." Rizgar also noted that although
Kirkuk produces high quality crude oil, in return the Province
receives low quality refined products, suggesting further evidence
of Baghdad-based bias against Kirkuk.

7. (SBU) Rizgar also raised the Article 140 issue and the presence
of Wafideen NOC employees, who are principally Shi'a Arabs who
Saddam moved into Kirkuk province as part of his resettlement
program. He accused the MoO of neglecting to facilitate their
resettlement. Rizgar concluded that the "SOC's budget is larger than
NOC's," and that he didn't understand the need to redeploy the
drills. (Comment: It was unclear whether Rizgar was speaking as the
PC Chairman or as a senior provincial PUK official and between which
parties CF involvement would harm relations. End Comment.)

8. (U) While discussing council funding sources, Rizgar said
without clear instructions from the MoPDC and MOF on how to execute
projects, there was confusion about how or when the PC should become
involved in the budget execution phase. Rizgar explained that part
of the confusion stems from the rejection of "Bremer's Law," (CPA
71) and the absence of a legal basis for PC action. Without clear
instructions, he warned that the PC would "pull back" from the
project process. Rizgar cited as an example that the PC had hired
40 project engineers in 2007 who are still without work assignments
because of existing confusion about budget execution.

9. (SBU) A heated exchange erupted between several local council
members when Rizgar raised the PC's population-based method for
allocation of project funds. One Yaychi sub-district council member
argued that the forced emigration of the Saddam-era led to
inaccurate population counts. According to Rizgar, in Sargaran
sub-district there are no registered public distribution system
ration cards, so using PDS as a population source would deny any
funding. Sargaran sub-district residents temporarily residing in
Kirkuk City have re-registered there for the ease in receiving their
rations but maintain their residency in Sargaran sub-district.
Rizgar stated that the GoI needs a new census but that the PDS was
the only reasonable source of data for the near future and that,
"adjustments would have to be made."

10. (U) To improve communications between councils and their
constituents, levels of government and line ministry local offices,
Rizgar committed to establishing legislative Internet connectivity.
He authorized each council to hire two staff members to administer
and maintain a communications system, including an Internet/email
system. He also told the councils that they would need scanners and
computers so they could transmit documents more quickly rather than
relying on couriers who are regularly associated with multi-day
delays.

11. (U) Rizgar said that all district and sub-district councils
should have the same committee coverage as the PC, offering that LCs
could have committees covering multiple topics. The committees
should send representatives to PC committee meetings and the
councils themselves should have representatives attending PC
sessions. These representatives should report back to their
respective committees and councils as part of their meeting agenda
items.

12. (U) Rizgar's comments on councils' budget preparations prompted
a discussion on how four councils were four months behind in
receiving cash deliveries to support their monthly budget
allocations. Rizgar explained that until the council passes a FY
2008 budget, all councils will be two months behind on their budget
allocations and promised to investigate the FY 2007 missing
transfers. Several council leaders requested that Rizgar visit
their councils to hear their concerns, to which Rizgar agreed, and
promised to visit these councils in the near future.

13. (SBU) The budget discussion also included discussions on
non-capital fixed assets. According to Rizgar, Coalition Forces
have provided vehicles to local councils, but they hadn't been
titled to the councils, and would require that the councils
reregister them. Rizgar also said councils need to report all fixed
assets in future resource requests.

14. (SBU) A Dibis council member noted that several CF vehicles
were inoperative and the Council had no means to maintain these
vehicles. He explained that the staff shared the costs of operating
a CF-purchased bus so they could get to work.

15. (SBU) During the open discussion segment, the sole Arab bloc PC
member present, Mohammed Kadeer, responded to an LC member's point
about Ministry of Education (MoE) lack of assistance stating that
the local MoE office hired "over 700" teachers last year for the
outlying districts but that few if any were actually teaching there.


16. (U) Rizgar argued that communication plans should include
re-establishing district-based council representation. He pledged

BAGHDAD 00000695 004.3 OF 004


he would implement this type of system and designate PC members to
represent the various districts. Rizgar also emphasized the
importance of open meetings and the use of the media to broadcast
councils' messages. He felt that much of the public's frustration
with local government was based on the public's ignorance of
councils' activities.

17. (SBU) Comment: The Kurdish and Turkman district councils
attended this second convocation, following one Rizgar held for the
primarily Arab districts. His message was consistent between the
two with the exception of the Ministry of Oil lecture. Given his
primarily Kurdish audience and the sensitivity of the oil-drill
issue, it is tempting to attribute more significance to it than it
might deserve - it was a breaking story in the local media.
Nevertheless, Rizgar did take skillful advantage of the media
coverage to get his prepared message out. Regarding budget
execution, without a continuing resolution process, not passing the
budget causes difficulties in government operations. A growing wave
of public dissatisfaction with the Turkman DG of Education is
becoming a rallying point for the Turkman bloc's ongoing boycott of
the PC. The Turkman bloc recently added a demand to "cease
harassment of the Education DG" as a condition of ending the PC
boycott. End Comment.
CROCKER

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