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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq, National Assembly,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.0. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: The major themes in the daily newspapers on
June. 13 were constitution-drafting preparations and the
latest developments of the security situation. END SUMMARY.


A. "The New Iraq" (Al-Sabah, 6/13)
B. "Good and Bad" (Az-Zaman, 6/13)


A. "The New Iraq" (Al-Sabah, 6/13)

Al-Sabah (Iraqi Media Network, non-biased) published a
front-page editorial by Mohammed Abdul-Jabbar about the
institutions in the new Iraq:

"We need to develop new theories and descriptions for every
field of life in our new Iraq after the Iraqi people
witnessed the last half century living under illegal
governments and a dictatorial regime. The real meaning of
"the new Iraq" depends on the success of the political and
intellectual elites in developing new perceptions and their
ability to implement these perceptions into new practices,
traditions, and strong institutions that are active in
society. This new strategy can be applied in fields of
politics, economics, social relations, and the media. There
are many examples of these new perceptions and institutions
in the new Iraq.

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One such example can be derived from the position of the
armed forces in the political arena. In the new Iraq, the
armed forces must report to a civilian authority.
Therefore, the Minister of Defense should be a civilian
with knowledge of the military. Indeed, under such a
scenario, both the Army and other armed forces would fall
under the authority of the civilian political leadership.
In the past, when we lived under the control of a military
or quasi-military government, the armed forces were always
given the first and final word in all societal issues. This
scenario existed even under the authority of the Baath
party, which was supposed to be ruled by a civilian
leadership. Although the leader of the regime was a
civilian, he nonetheless often wore a military uniform and
placed the highest military rank on his own shoulders.

Another area of interest in the new Iraq is the media. In
the former Iraq, the Iraqi people grew accustomed to the
official media, which was also known as the government's
media. This official media became the lone source of news
for the dictatorship. Under this scenario, the media was
simply a form of propaganda that served and worshipped the
ruler of the state. However, in the new, federal,
constitutional, and democratic Iraq, the government will
not be able to penetrate the media. Liberating the media,
the financial market, and civil society from governmental
authority is a basic condition for establishing democracy."

B. "Good and Bad" (Az-Zaman, 6/13)

Az-Zaman (independent, lately anti-coalition) published on
last page editorial by Fatih Abdul Salam about the Baath

"In spite of all the criticism that is being directed at
Damascus, President Bashar Al-Assad seems that he has
decided to go on indefinitely boasting the political name
of the Baath by describing it as a movement for leading
both the society and state, as stated under Article 8 of
the Syrian constitution. Between Iraq and Syria, there
exists only a superficial borderline. Therefore, the Baath
Party conference that was held in Damascus sent a clear
message against the Debaathification process in Iraq.

The Baath party that has been uprooted from power in Iraq
is very similar to the Syrian Baath party that continues to
rule that country. The Syrian Baath party has restricted
all aspects of life according to what Damascus views as
suitable to its own political situation and strategy.
However, during the Baath Party's recent conference, the
Party exhibited a challenging tone to Washington as it
discussed for the first time in many years cases that were
previously forbidden to discuss. For example, the Party
granted citizenship to 200,000 Kurds, established a law for
alternative political parties, and lightened the security
restrictions throughout society.

The Baath party of Syria is also considered as an ally to
Tehran, which currently faces serious challenges from
Washington. Indeed, it appears that the regimes in Damascus
and Tehran are both caught in a standoff with Washington.
Damascus has insinuated in its latest Baath conference and
Tehran with its presidential elections that they are
challenging Washington by making steps of undetermined
reforms. But what should concern the Iraqi people is that
they will likely face a future crisis with the Syrian
regime because of the difference in ideology of the two
countries' regimes -- regardless of whether Damascus is an
ally of Tehran. We must not forget that the Baath party
originated in Syria and it is possible that it will
continue to flow into Iraq via the Euphrates and Tigris


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