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Cablegate: Kirkuk: Pic Established; Pc Chairman Addresses

VZCZCXRO7368
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2719/01 2371248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241248Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9029
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 002719

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV PGOV ETRD ECON IZ
SUBJECT: KIRKUK: PIC ESTABLISHED; PC CHAIRMAN ADDRESSES
OUTSTANDING PROVINCIAL ISSUES

THIS IS A PRT KIRKUK REPORTING CABLE.

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Months of negotiations between the
different blocs of the Kirkuk Provincial Council (PC) ended
on 18 August with an agreement signed by representatives of
each of the major ethnicities (Kurds, Arabs, Turkomen)
establishing the Kirkuk Provincial Investment Commission
(PIC). The PIC was approved during the 19 August PC
meeting. Separately, PC Chairman Rizgar Ali approached PRT
to discuss outstanding provincial issues including joint
administration, Asayish, Turkomen language, an exceptional
budget, and provincial elections law. Raising these issues
may be an attempt to demonstrate Kurdish cooperation and
concern after the unilateral actions of the past three
weeks. END SUMMARY.

--------
Kirkuk Provincial Investment Commission Formed
--------

2. (SBU) Following at least three meetings between all
blocs of the Kirkuk PC starting on 14 August, an agreement
to form the Kirkuk PIC was formalized in a signed agreement
dated 18 August. This is the culmination of several months
of negotiations between the blocs, and is a significant
step forward for the future of investment in the province.
According to Sheik Abdullah Sami al-Assi (Arab PC member),
the Arab and Kurdish blocs came to agreement on the
framework for the PIC on 17 August, but the Turkomen still
held out and refused to sign. All three blocs met on 18
August, and the Turkomen decided on one of three agreed-
upon options to finalize the agreement. The PC, during its
normally scheduled weekly meeting on 19 August, approved
the PIC by open vote. Three Arab bloc PC members (Ramla
Obeidi, Mohammed Khalil, and Hala Norradin) attempted
unsuccessfully to derail the vote on the PIC at the last
minute by claiming now is not the time to make such an
agreement since the Kurdish bloc still refuses to honor its
commitments under the &Thirteen Points8 agreement. The
final vote saw the Arab bloc split with three Arabs voting
yes, and three abstaining.

3. (SBU) The Chairman of the Kirkuk PIC is Mr. Falah Abdul
Rahman, an independent technocrat with a bachelor,s degree
in chemistry from Baghdad University. Falah is 49 years
old, born in Kirkuk, and comes from a half Kurdish and half
Turkomen family. He has a long history as a businessman,
including previous work as a vendor for the U.S. Army.

4. (SBU) The Deputy Chairman of the Kirkuk PIC is Qahtan
Munshir al-Assi, an independent Arab technocrat. He is
also the cousin of Kirkuk PC member Sheik Abdullah Sami al-
Assi. Qahtan was born in Kirkuk, is 60 years old, and has a
PhD in electrical engineering from a university in Rome,
Italy. He lived in Italy for 30 years, and is married to a
non-Muslim Italian wife.

5. (SBU) The remaining members of the PIC administrative
council will be made up of seven representatives. Three
will be nominated by the Kurdistan Brotherhood List (KBL),
three by the Turkomen bloc, and one by the Arab bloc. The
Arab member of the administrative council will have the
&window8 position ) a gatekeeper of sorts who decides what
investors have access to the PIC. The KBL representatives
will be in charge of planning and public relations. The
Turkomen representatives will be responsible for finance,
legal, and administrative issues.

--------
Kirkuk PC Chairman Rizgar Ali Asks For Help
--------

6. (SBU) Kirkuk PC Chairman Rizgar Ali (PUK), asked to meet
with PRT officials on 18 August to discuss an &important
announcement8. The announcement turned out to be the
signed agreement on the Kirkuk PIC. Rizgar followed this
by asking for US &help and pressure8 on a set of five
issues. He asked that his message be passed to &General
Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, and PRT Team Leader Howard
Keegan8.

7. (SBU) Rizgar,s first point dealt with the joint
administration of the government in Kirkuk province. This
is in response to criticism over the perceived lack of
implementation of the 32 percent representational breakdown
agreed upon by the Arabs and the KBL in the &Thirteen
Points8 agreement (staff level up to DG ) does not refer to
the makeup of the PC). Rizgar stated that he sent several
letters to Baghdad requesting guidance on the

BAGHDAD 00002719 002 OF 003


implementation of joint administration with no response.
He said he cannot implement joint administration without
approval from the Prime Minister and the ministries in
Baghdad.

8. (SBU) Rizgar next brought up the issue of the Asayish )
the Kurdish secret police. Rizgar mentioned that COL
Mayville (Coalition Forces commander in Kirkuk in 2003-04)
cooperated very closely with the Asayish. He said if one
walks into Asayish headquarters offices you will see
letters of commendation and certificates from Coalition
Forces (CF) thanking the Asayish for all the work they have
done in fighting terrorism. Rizgar stated that he received
a letter from Baghdad in direct reference to the &Thirteen
Points8 agreement where the federal government denied the
request by Kirkuk to form a &National Security Department
(NSD)8 in the province under the 32% representational
model. Rizgar attempted to tie the NSD to the Asayish )
i.e., if the NSD is formed then the Asayish will be
removed. Since the NSD cannot be formed, the Asayish are
not compelled to leave. PRT member pointed out that the
Arabs do not read the agreement the same way; rather they
see the Asayish and the NSD as two parts of the same point.

9. (SBU) Rizgar raised the issue of making the Turkomen
language an official language in Kirkuk province. He said
that Baghdad had no objection to this, but Rizgar said
there needs to be clarification on whether or not the
Turkomen script will use the Latin or Arabic alphabet.
Rizgar said he personally prefers the Latin alphabet, but
that he is now faced with the dilemma of how to determine
which to choose.

10 (SBU) Rizgar claimed that Kirkuk was one of the most
&destroyed8 provinces in Iraq ) &more destroyed than any
other province8. He stated that he asked Baghdad for an
&exceptional budget8 to deal with the destruction in Kirkuk
in the amount of $200 million USD. This money would be
used on infrastructure related projects such as housing and
roads to allay the &destruction8. He mentioned that his
proposal was discussed in the CoR but denied by the Arab
Sunni/Shia blocs there. Rizgar asked if the USG could
pressure the Iraqi Government to allocate these funds for
Kirkuk.

11. (sbu) Rizgar believes that there is some positive
movement on the elections law front. He brought up KRG
President Massoud Barzani,s visit to Kirkuk (on 08 AUG) and
his overture to the ITF. He emphasized the importance of
this overture. Rizgar said that the PUK and the ITF have
good relations, but the KDP has never had dialogue with the
ITF. He even ventured to say that he thinks the ITF and
the PUK may have a consolidated list at some point in the
future. He claims that PC member Ali Mahdi (ITF) and
&others8 have brought up this possibility in the past.
Rizgar believes that right now the PUK must maintain their
relation with the KDP, but it is important to note that
there is no longer a &red line8 between the KDP and the
ITF.

12. (SBU) Rizgar finished by stating that he is considering
bringing a delegation from the Kirkuk PC to Baghdad to
discuss these points with the Prime Minister.

13. (SBU) In a recent previous meeting Rizgar mentioned
that he would be announcing a conference on the elections
law to be hosted in Kirkuk. He planned to invite Kirkuk
CoR bloc representatives along with Kirkuk PC
representatives. IPAO asked if Rizgar is still considering
this conference. He answered affirmatively, but implied
that the groups within Kirkuk must come to an agreement
before that could occur. He agreed with IPAO that the
blocs must move quickly on this, because it would likely
have to happen before Ramadan. At the 19 August PC meeting
Rizgar addressed this issue in his opening speech. He
explained to the PC members that an agreement reached in
Kirkuk will be backed by the USG in Baghdad, and encouraged
the different blocs to engage in dialogue and discussions
on a solution. He also asked for the Kirkuk CoR members to
be in contact with the Kirkuk PC.

14. (SBU) COMMENT: The establishment of the PIC is a very
important step forward for the Kirkuk PC. Not only does it
provide a framework for allowing financial investment in
the province, it also demonstrates that the different
ethnic blocs can sit down and create a balanced and
cooperative agreement. The test will be to see if this
cooperation can carry over to an agreement on the elections
law. PC Chairman Rizgar,s diverse list of items to be
discussed in Baghdad may be an attempt to show that the
Kurds are not operating unilaterally. The Kurdish parties

BAGHDAD 00002719 003 OF 003


appear to be feeling pressure after the 28 July bombing
incident, the 31 July invocation of the Regions Law, and
the failure of the CoR to agree on an elections law. END
COMMENT.
BUTENIS

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