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Cablegate: Anbar Geo Director's Preparations for Provincial

VZCZCXRO2109
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3626/01 3210532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160532Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0404
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003626

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: ANBAR GEO DIRECTOR'S PREPARATIONS FOR PROVINCIAL
ELECTIONS

1. (U) This is a PRT Anbar reporting cable. This message is
Sensitive But Unclassified; handle accordingly. Not for
distribution on the Internet.

SUMMARY
-------

2. (U) On October 25, Anbar Governorate Electoral Office
(GEO) Director Khalid Rajab met with PRT PolOff and MNF-West
to discuss coalition formation, candidate nominations,
election observer preparations, and security preparations for
2009 Anbar provincial elections. The Anbar GEO has completed
the first drafts of the security plan, the logistics plan,
and the media plan for the elections. He confirmed that the
Iraqi Police in conjunction with the Anbar GEO have completed
security assessments for all 277 polling centers planned for
Anbar. He suggested having one coalition force (CF) person
at the Anbar GEO Operations Center on Election Day in order
to facilitate a rapid response to problems that may arise.
END SUMMARY.

ELECTION OBSERVERS AND POLLING STATIONS
---------------------------------------

3. (U) Khalid Rajab, the Anbar GEO, stated that trained
election observers were critical to the success of the
provincial elections, and that these election observers need
to be educated people well-trained for this task. He told of
one election observer during the voter registration period
who went to a voter registration center, put his name on the
observer list and immediately left without observing
anything. Due to stories like this, Khalid wants to ensure
the observers are "good people" who know what their
responsibilities are. He also noted that some Anbaris are
passing incorrect information about the elections and
election observers. According to the Anbar GEO, neither the
election observer registration period the training course for
observers has been defined. He plans to conduct one-day
training courses for all registered observers before election
day.

4. (U) According to Khalid, Civil Society Organizations will
have to register with the Anbar GEO Media Advisor for
observer training. Khalid estimates that there will be at
least 1,933 observers; 116 of these observers will be
assigned to polling centers in remote areas of Anbar. He
noted that there were 1,227 registered observers for the
voter registration period, many of whom provided reports to
the Anbar GEO. Khalid noted that voter registration was
successful and uneventful, and believed elections would also
be uneventful.

5. (SBU) The GEO has also verified the location and security
needs for all of the planned 277 polling centers. Each of
the 277 polling centers will have multiple ballot boxes in
order to service the projected 440,000 voters. The GEO is
planning on 400 voters per ballot box, with several ballot
boxes in each polling center. The Iraqi Police will vote a
few days prior to the election in specified voting centers.
The Anbar GEO also plans to support detainee and hospital
patient voting. He suggested having one coalition force (CF)
person at the Anbar GEO Operations Center on Election Day in
order to facilitate a rapid response to problems that may
arise. Otherwise, the GEO did not want to have CF visible to
the public at the polling stations or elsewhere.

SECURITY
--------

6. (SBU) The Anbar GEO, in conjunction with the Iraqi Police,
has conducted security assessments of all of the 277 polling
centers. He noted that there were no "hot spots" in Anbar
requiring significantly increased security. Khalid did
however note that there were two locations which had
unresolved security issues, one in Gharmah and one in Rutbah,
and three areas with a potential for violence during the
election that concerned him: Fallujah/Gharma Area,
Humayra/Angur in Ramadi, and Hit.

7. (U) During last spring and summer, Anbari notable Hamid
Heiss's unfiltered public comments raised Khalid's concern
(Heiss said that the Independent High Electoral Commission
was an IIP organization and that Khalid Rajab was an IIP
hack). Since meeting with him in September 2008, Khalid
Rajab indicates that he and Heiss now have a healthy
dialogue. However, as the elections draw near, Khalid Rajab
is understandably concerned that renewed saber rattling from
any parties will undermine peaceful elections.

POTENTIAL REASONS FOR LOW VOTER PARTICIPATION
--------------------------------------------

BAGHDAD 00003626 002 OF 002

8. (U) Khalid noted four main reasons why Anbaris might not
vote in the upcoming provincial elections:
-- They do not trust the process.
-- They are illiterate.
-- They are women.
-- Some will just stay away.

COMMENT
-------

9. (SBU) GEO Director Khalid Rajab showed PolOff and MNF-West
the completed Security, Logistics, and Media Plans for the
Provincial Elections, confirming that that they have been
coordinated with their appropriate Iraqi counterparts. He
agreed to provide a copy of the plans to MNF-W and the PRT to
support coordination in the coming week. The Anbar GEO
continues the high quality performance that made the voter
registration period successful. END COMMENT.
CROCKER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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