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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq, Constitution, Shiites,

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002809

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/PPD, NEA/PPA, NEA/AGS, INR/IZ,
INR/P
E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO IZ
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ, CONSTITUTION, SHIITES,
SUNNIS, NEGOTIATIONS, INSURGENCY; BAGHDAD

1. SUMMARY: The major themes in the daily newspapers on
July. 3 were the preparations for drafting the
constitution and the latest developments of the security
situation. END SUMMARY.

-----------------
TABLE OF CONTENTS
-----------------

A. "Yesterday's prey and today's hunter" (Al-Ittihad, 7/3)
B. "Negotiations with resistance solve an American and not
Iraqi problem" (Al-Mada, 7/3)

----------------------
SELECTED COMMENTARIES
----------------------

A. "Yesterday's prey and today's hunter" (Al-Ittihad, 7/3)

Al-Ittihad (affiliated with PUK led by Jalal Talabani)
published a fifth-paged editorial by Faryad Rawanduzi about
the constitution:

"Some individuals are asking why the Americans are
insisting on Sunni participation in the constitutional
committee and the political process in Iraq? Those with
inside knowledge may be asking why the U.S. is choosing to
intervene directly on this issue while discussing other
issues indirectly. In order to answer these two questions,
we must ask if the Bush administration is afraid of failure
in Iraq. Is it afraid of the current Iraqi politicians who
have begun to implement this new project in Iraq?

Without a doubt, the U.S. began reconsidering some of its
policies regarding Iraq because the new situation has led
the Shiites and Kurds - the winners of the political
process - to dominate the political process. On the other
hand, the Sunnis boycotted the elections because they
thought that the Iraqi-American project opposed their own
n
aspirations. However, the U.S. objectives in Iraq also
oppose some official and unofficial Shiite viewpoints. For
this reason, the U.S. has had to resort to the "lost son"
in order to restore balance to the unfair political
process. The "lost son" that we are referring to is the
Arab Sunni community. Indeed, the recent American
discussions with the Arab Sunnis clearly indicates that the
U.S. administration is confident with the Shiite
understanding of the American role in Iraq.

We realize that the U.S. has depended largely on the
Shiites after it guaranteed the Kurds a major political
role in an attempt to establish a country without anti-
American sentiment. It is true that the participation of
the Arab Sunnis is important to the Americans but it is
also important for Iraq. In fact, the recent American
insistence on supporting the Arab Sunnis represents a
strong message to the Arab Shiites. This message informs
the Shiites that the American strategy is to ensure the
redistribution of the political balance in Iraq. The U.S.
is conveying this message and providing concessions to the
Arab Sunnis in an attempt to gain their participation and
to end the Sunni insurgency. As a result, the Sunnis will
participate in the U.S.-engineered political project.

It appears that the Arab Sunnis have finally realized that
they must knock at the American door if they want to
participate in the political process. However, it is
useless to knock on this door unless there have been real
changes in the Arab Sunni's political strategy toward the
American presence. Once that occurs, there will be American
guarantees for Sunni participation in the political
process. From their perspective, the Arab Shiites have
begun to understand the significance of the new American
orientation toward the Arab Sunnis. The Shiite political
parties have been put on a state of alert because they
understand that any American gesture to the Sunnis will be
made at their expense. This implies that the Shiites will
lose some positions and privileges. Therefore, if the
Shiites do not make a gesture to support the new American
position, the Iraqi equation will become more complicated.

It is possible that the constitution will not be completed
on time or new factors in the Iraqi political scene may
come to the fore. The hawks in the White House will not
hesitate to fly over the Sunni Triangle. Nor will they
hesitate to build nests in the middle of the insurgency.
The hawks will not hesitate to give yesterday's prey to the
hunters in order to experience political profits in Iraq."

B. "Negotiations with the 'resistance' solves the American
problem, not the Iraqi problem" (Al-Mada, 7/3)

Al-Mada (independent) published a front-page editorial by
Jamal Abdul Rahim about the American negotiations with the
Iraqi insurgency:

"Over the past few days, the American government has
announced that it has held negotiations with the Iraqi
resistance. The Iraqi and foreign media outlets paid great
attention to this frank confession. We all have the right
to hypothesize that these negotiations will prove
successful. But what would success mean to the Iraqi
people? Which party to the conflict will be able to free
itself from its problems by experiencing success? Is it
Iraq? The U.S.? Perhaps both?

The answer to this question is very important for all
Iraqis who are determined to stop the bloodshed in Iraq.
The Iraqi people can urge the government to actively
participate in these negotiations. However, our problem is
that the real Iraqi picture is different from what the
media outlets are portraying. The truth is that these
negotiations will never improve the stability of the
security situation in Iraq. Perhaps such negotiations can
reduce pressure on the American government by leading to a
reduction in the number of American loses in Iraq. I say
that hypothetically because the Americans are negotiating
with leaders of the Iraqi 'resistance' who supposedly only
target foreign troops, not Iraqis. Is there any proof that
verifies this statement?

I think it is reasonable to discuss recent Iraqi and
American reports that were published just days ago about
the losses of Iraqi and American life in Iraq. The Pentagon
published statistics stating that the number of American
soldiers killed since last January has reached 307.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced that
the Iraqi loses reached 8,175 killed and 12,000 wounded
during this same period. These two results indicate that
the American loses represent no more than 4 percent while
the Iraqi losses make up 96%.

It seems that the success of the negotiations with the
resistance is aimed at reducing American loses. On the
other hand, we do not know whether or not these
negotiations will decrease the amount of Iraqi casualties.
However, achieving success on this issue may uncover some
armed groups that have insisted on provoking a civil war.
These groups are undertaking operations under the slogan of
jihad against the occupier. The supposed goal of these
operations is to divide the Iraqi people into those that
support the foreign forces and those that oppose them,
thereby threatening Iraqi unity.

I discuss these issues while remembering the anniversary of
transferring sovereignty to the Iraqis. Thank God that we
have obtained our full sovereignty, at least in general.
However, we still face minor issues that must be addressed.
For example, we do not control the presidential palace, we
were not advised that the Americans wanted to build the
largest embassy in the world here in Baghdad, and nobody
asked for our opinion in choosing and replacing American
ambassadors. Additionally, we do not have any input
regarding Saddam's trial. If the reports on American
negotiations with the resistance are true, then we can also
add this issue to the list. In our completely sovereign
state, neither the government nor the National Assembly
know anything about these negotiations."

SATTERFIELD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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