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Cablegate: Erbil Rrt: Movement On the Krg Provincial Powers Law

VZCZCXRO8027
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #4078 3661532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311532Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1083
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 004078

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

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

SUBJECT: ERBIL RRT: Movement on the KRG Provincial Powers Law

(U) This is an Erbil Regional Reconstruction Team cable. It is
Sensitive but Unclassified; handle accordingly. Not for
distribution on the Internet.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The KRG Council of Ministers (COM) and the
Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA) are discussing the latest draft of
the KRG Provincial Powers Law. In a sign of the KNA's limited but
growing political independence from the KRG executive branch, the
KNA rejected the previous draft on the grounds that it did not
provide any real decision-making authority to the provincial level
of the Kurdistan Region. The Kurdistan Region lags behind the rest
of the country in devolving power to its provinces; several
provincial interlocutors were pessimistic about the law's success
and believe that the USG does not desire to see its passage. END
SUMMARY

2. (U) The Kurdistan Regional Government has formed a new committee
to discuss the latest draft of the KRG Provincial Powers law. The
committee, headed by the Minister for the Region for KNA Affairs,
Sa'ad Khalid Mohamed, and comprised of members of the legal
committee of the KNA and the heads of the three provincial councils
in the Kurdistan Region, was formed by the KRG Council of Ministers
to discuss the changes to the law suggested by the KNA. (Comment:
In a sign of the KNA's limited but growing political independence
from the KRG executive branch, the KNA rejected the previous draft
because it devolved no real responsibility to provincial
administrations. END NOTE) After one or two additional meetings,
Minister Mohamed is expected to take the results of the committee
back to the CoM for review.

3. (SBU) In a November 17 meeting with Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU)
Dohuk Branch Head Gazi Saeed, Mr. Saeed was skeptical that the CoM
will take the KNA-suggested changes into consideration because doing
so would require a weakening of the authority of the central
government in Erbil. Without a devolution of power from Erbil to
the provincial level, Saeed does not believe that the interests of
the provinces will be represented in Erbil. He requested that USG
engage the CoM now and encourage them to approve a draft that
devolves more authority to the provincial level.

4. (SBU) Dohuk Provincial Council Chairman Fadl Omar is one of the
members of the committee that met on November 18. In a conversation
with RRTOff immediately after the meeting, Dr. Fadl stated that the
committee discussed the following major points: 1) a separate
provincial-level budget allocation, distinct from the funds
allocated to ministers in Erbil, programmed to the provincial level
as the ministers deem appropriate; 2) a devolution of monitoring
authority over the work of the provincial Directorates General to
the Provincial Councils; 3) a requirement for the governor to resign
as head of the Provincial Council as soon as elected to the office
of governor. According to the Dohuk PC Chairman, Minister Mohamed
was very cooperative but said that he must present these proposals
to the COM for their consideration and approval. Dr. Fadl
reiterated Provincial Councils' desire for the devolution of
responsibility to the provincial level. He said that they would be
satisfied with a Provincial Powers Law somewhere between the draft
previously rejected by the KNA and the one counter-proposed by the
KNA.

5. (U) On another note, Mr. Saeed expressed the KIU's belief that
the US Embassy is working against the success of provincial level
governments in the Kurdistan Region. As evidence, he cited the fact
that the US Embassy went to great lengths and took extraordinary
measures to facilitate the passage of the Provincial Elections Law
Qmeasures to facilitate the passage of the Provincial Elections Law
in the rest of Iraq, but has done nothing to support the passage of
the corresponding law in the Kurdistan Region. He also noted the
pending termination of the LGP-II program in the Kurdistan Region,
while the program will continue in the other provinces of Iraq.
(NOTE: Until the program in the Kurdistan Region was terminated,
LGP-II provided capacity-building training for the Provincial
Councils. END NOTE)

6. (SBU) COMMENT: The Kurdistan Region lags behind the rest of the
country in devolving power to the provinces. Within Dohuk
especially, there is quiet but growing discontent about how
ill-represented the province's interests are in Erbil. Sometimes
referred to as the "orphan province" by residents, Dohuk's
provincial activities are funded through the KDP's 52% "share" of
the money the KRG receives from the central government, the bulk of
which is spent on Erbil province. END COMMENT

CROCKER

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