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📕 Sara: My Whole Life Was a Struggle
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Atatürk and the Kurds
Author(s): Andrew Mango
Source: Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, Seventy-Five Years of the Turkish Republic
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📝 Rrt Erbil: Profile Of Puk Nawshirwan Mustafa | Group: Documents | Articles language: 🇬🇧 English
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Rrt Erbil: Profile Of Puk Nawshirwan Mustafa
Date:2009 March 15, 11:17 (Sunday) Canonical ID:09BAGHDAD676_a
Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions-- Not Assigned --
Character Count:11843
Executive Order:-- Not Assigned -- Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:IZ - Iraq | PGOV - Political Affairs--Government; Internal Governmental Affairs | PINR - Political Affairs--Intelligence Concepts:-- Not Assigned --
Enclosure:-- Not Assigned -- Type:TE - Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:-- N/A or Blank --
Office Action:-- N/A or Blank -- Archive Status:-- Not Assigned --
From:Iraq Baghdad Markings:-- Not Assigned --
To:Iraq Iraq Collective | Secretary of State | United States Central Command | United States European Command
B. BAGHDAD 430
C. BAGHDAD 623

Classified By: Regional Coordinator Lucy Tamlyn for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d).

This is an Erbil Regional Reconstruction Team (RRT) cable.

1. (C) Summary. This cable profiles Nawshirwan Mustafa, the
former Deputy Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and leader of the unofficial PUK reformist
movement in Sulaimaniyah. Long an advocate of change within
the PUK, he continues to be a gadfly to the PUK establishment
and perhaps harbors long-term aspirations to succeed Talibani
as PUK General Secretary. End summary.

2. (C) Former PUK Deputy Secretary General Nawshirwan
Mustafa is widely considered to be the leader of the
self-proclaimed reformist movement in the PUK. His recent
decision to run an independent slate in the upcoming
parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region has shaken
the carefully balanced PUK-KDP coalition and thrust him into
renewed prominence (ref A). The following profile is drawn
from a series of conversations with RRTOff and identifies his
political and economic views. (Note: Nawshirwan is known by
his first name. The first syllable is pronounced like the
English word, no. End Note.)

Mini-biography of Nawshirwan
----------------------------

3. (SBU) Nawshirwran was born in Sulaimaniyah in 1944 and
graduated from Baghdad University with a degree in political
science in 1967. In 1969, he established a weekly magazine,
Rizgari (Freedom), to expound his ideas; and in 1970, he
founded a clandestine political organization, Komala. (Note:
The Komala was originally a Marxist-oriented group, but over
time it became a more generally leftist group, finally ending
up as a nationalist group. End Note.) After the Iraqi
government shut down his magazine and put Komala on a list of
proscribed organizations, Nawshirwan fled to Austria to live
in exile.

4. (SBU) Nawshirwan studied international law at the
University of Vienna. He was in his final year preparing for
his doctorate when the Kurdish rebellion led by Mullah
Mustafa Barzani collapsed in 1975. At Jalal Talabani's
request, Nawshirwan abandoned his doctoral studies to join
him in Damascus to create the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan,
and was one of the seven people who signed the statement that
declared the party's creation. Nawshirwan brought his own
Komala faction under the PUK umbrella and became the PUK
Deputy General Secretary.

5. (SBU) After the PUK lost to the KDP in the elections for
the Kurdistan National Assembly in 1992, Nawshirwan claims he
argued that the PUK should assume the role of an opposition
party rather than join the KDP in the coalition which was
ultimately formed. He also said he called for electing the
PUK Politburo and General Secretary by a vote of all the
party members rather than by just senior leaders, placing
clear limits on the authority of party officials, and
instituting transparency in the way the party was managed.
After Talabani rejected Nawshirwan's advice and agreed with
Masoud Barzani to divide the government 50/50 between the PUK
and the KDP, Nawshirwan left Iraq for London. There he wrote
the first of his Kurdish history books. He returned to
Kurdistan only to leave again before the PUK-KDP civil war
broke out in 1994. He did not return until after a PUK-KDP
accord was brokered with USG help.

6. (C) After the liberation of Iraq in 2003, Nawshirwan
Q6. (C) After the liberation of Iraq in 2003, Nawshirwan
pressed for reform, leading a movement within the party to
make the PUK a more democratic institution. In 2004, he
circulated a petition among senior PUK members asking for
Talabani to make the decision-making process in the party
more democratic. Talabani rejected these demands, but
promised changes after the elections that were to be held
toward the end of 2005. However, the promised changes were
never fulfilled, and in December 2006 Nawshirwan resigned as
PUK General Secretary but kept his party membership.

7. (C) Reportedly as a reward for his services to the party,
Talabani provided Nawshirwan with a generous retirement
package that he used to establish a media company, which now
consists of a newspaper, a website, and an all-news
television station. Several sources claim that Talabani
continues to fund Nawshirwan's media company and is not happy
that Nawshirwan has used his media operation to air his ideas
and give extensive coverage to critical of the PUK.

8. (U) Married since 1981, Nawshirwan has three children: a

BAGHDAD 00000676 002 OF 003


son born in 1982, and twins (a son and a daughter) born in
1984. The oldest son graduated with a degree in
international economics from Imperial College (UK). The
younger son is currently studying economics at Harvard, and
his daughter is pursuing a degree in medicine at Imperial
College. Nawshirwan speaks Kurdish, Arabic, English, German,
and Farsi.
Nawshirwan's Views on Corruption
--------------------------------

9. (SBU) When asked what concerns him most, Nawshirwan
singles out government corruption. He cites a lack of
transparency, and the fact that only a handful of people know
how the billions that Baghdad sends to the Kurdistan each
year are spent. Nawshirwan alleges that no senior official
is ever punished for corruption because the judicial system
itself has been corrupted. According to him, the public is
deeply unhappy with this state of affairs; they are fully
aware that corruption is responsible for the decrepit
infrastructure and woefully inadequate public services in the
region.

10. (SBU) To fight corruption, Nawshirwan advocates a system
of accountability that will render government finances
transparent. He wants to establish a truly independent
judiciary that is willing to tackle corruption at all levels.
He says that he seeks a political system in which the party
is separate from the government and no longer interferes in
its day-to-day affairs. He is particularly incensed by the
interference of political parties on daily life and commerce.

Economic Reform
---------------

11. (SBU) Economics also figures prominently in Nawshirwan's
reform agenda. He believes that a flourishing democracy
depends on a strong private sector, which in turn depends on
economic opportunity. To achieve that, he believes that the
Kurdistan Region must break with the statist economic model
that has prevailed in Iraq for decades, with its bloated,
unproductive public sector subsisting entirely from oil
revenues. Nawshirwan readily admits that his belief in the
free market economy is a complete reversal from the Marxist
beliefs that he held in his youth, a change he attributes to
experience and observation of the real world.

12. (SBU) Nawshirwan advocates basing the economy on
agriculture and related industries, taking advantage of the
Kurdistan Region's rich soil and water. His plan rests on a
four-step process, which would initially be financed by oil
revenues:
- Build dams in order to control the region's water supplies.

- Bring in foreign experts to teach advanced agricultural
techniques, including irrigation.
- Carry out land reform of state-owned land, ensuring that
farmers have economically viable plots and that land is used
for its best possible agricultural use.
- Build new market towns to help revitalize rural areas that
were devastated by Saddam's Anfal campaign, which destroyed
thousands of villages, by linking isolated villages and
providing them with access to medical clinics, schools, and
other services that currently do not exist.

In addition, Nawshirwan envisions rebuilding the Mosul-Basra
railroad, with feeder lines to the Kurdistan Region; this
would enable the region to economically transport
agricultural products, particularly sheep, to profitable
markets in the Persian Gulf.

Kurdistan Region Must Be Integrated with a Democratic Iraq
--------------------------------------------- -------------

13. (SBU) Nawshirwan does not believe in creating an
Q13. (SBU) Nawshirwan does not believe in creating an
independent Kurdistan: The day of the mini-state is over.
He resolutely supports full Kurdish integration with a
strong, democratic Iraq, whose constitution he views as a
bulwark that will protect the Kurds and guarantee their
rights. He argues that vesting the central government with
total responsibility for distributing all Iraqi oil revenues
is a prerequisite to ensuring transparency of the funds that
reach the Kurdistan Region. He supports the Minister of Oil
Shahristani's views that there is a lack of transparency as
to who profits from existing oil production sharing
agreements in the KRG.

14. (C) Nawshirwan feels strongly that the Kurds must not
say or do things that will inflame Iraqi public opinion
against them. He is upset that some Kurdish leaders have
used intemperate rhetoric and advocated policies that have
unnecessarily created tension between Arabs and Kurds. He
cites statements calling for the US to establish military
bases in the Kurdistan Region as an example. He says the

BAGHDAD 00000676 003 OF 003


Kurds must better manage the relationship between the
Peshmerga and the national army and police, another source of
tension.

15. (C) With regard to Kirkuk, Nawshirwan thinks that the
Kurdish leadership has badly misplayed its hand. The KRG
cannot force the Arabs or Turkomen to join them. Instead, he
argues that it must make things attractive for them with
real, as opposed to merely symbolic, power sharing. The KRG
must also appeal to Arab and Turkomen on economic grounds by
reducing corruption, building infrastructure, and creating
employment opportunities, he adds.

Comment
-------

16. (C) What does Nawshirwan want? Were he motivated purely
by power and money, he would have had no incentive to walk
away from the number two position in the party, which he did
in December 2006. His motives for running an independent
list in the upcoming KRG elections against the joint KDP-PUK
list are unclear. Logically, if he is unhappy with PUK and
believes in his reform policies, he should start his own
party. However, Nawshirwan refuses to do so. Perhaps
Nawshirwan still holds fast to his long-term goal of becoming
PUK General Secretary after Talabani (ref B) or perhaps he
recognizes he has no political or financial backing to
succeed on his own. PUK and KDP leaders have pointed out his
limited regional appeal. Even his own reform-minded
followers have pointed out that he does not meet with the
general public and his popularity is limited to Sulemaniyah.
When his reform group resigned from the PUK on principle,
Nawshirwan abandoned his flock to continue cutting his own
deal (ref C). Most KDP leaders outright despise him, perhaps
because they fear his reformist tendencies, but more likely
because of his voluntary absence in the 1994-1998 civil war.
Both KDP and PUK insiders accuse Nawshirwan from running away
to Europe whenever the going gets tough. Nawshirwan himself
admitted that he could never set foot in Erbil because KDP
Assayesh would kill him. It would be extremely difficult for
him to assume a PUK leadership role, if that is true. For
now, Talabani will decide how to handle Nawshirwan in order
to keep the PUK-KDP accord intact for upcoming KRG elections
and for the Kurds to effectively spar with Maliki and the
GoI.
BUTENIS
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