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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq, Gunmen, Dialogue, Tal,

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 002846

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, GUNMEN, DIALOGUE, TAL,
CONSTITUTION; BAGHDAD


1. SUMMARY: The major themes in the daily newspapers on
July. 7 were Talabani's and Al-Jafari's meeting with a U.S.
congressional delegation, the Minister of Defense's visit
to Tehran, the constitutional committee's preparations for
drafting the constitution, and the latest developments of
the security situation. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Dialogue with armed groups" (As-Sabah, 7/7)
B. "Will Article 9 of the TAL be ignored?" (Al-Ittihad,
7/7)

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

A. "Dialogue with armed groups" (As-Sabah, 7/7)

As-Sabah (independent) published a third-page editorial
about the recent reports on dialogue with Iraqi gunmen:

"The recent reports of a dialogue with gunmen, or those who
refer to themselves as the 'resistance,' represents a
worrisome obsession. Some observers believe that the
importance of a dialogue lies in defeating terrorism and
ending the insurgency in Iraq. Others argue that such a
dialogue merely represents tactical measures by the parties
involved. They also point out that this dialogue is not a
new development because the British Times reported last
February that secret negotiations were being conducted
between the U.S. and armed groups in Iraq.

Last week, President Talabani declared that the
negotiations with armed groups is an American affair and
the Iraqi government has no involvement in this matter. On
the other hand, the National Assembly has begun discussing
the latest demands that call for negotiations with armed
Iraqi groups. However, the National Assembly insists that
it is necessary to first identify these groups and their
objectives.

It is important to note that the vast majority of Iraqi
society opposes dialogue with the terrorists. The Iraqi
street realizes that these groups seek to hinder the new
Iraqi political project, which is established according to
peaceful dialogues that will strengthen our democratic
state. It is impossible to distinguish between resisting
the multi-national forces and killing Iraqi policemen and
government employees. The increased number of terrorist
operations that randomly target innocent civilians has led
Iraqis to realize that these groups have only one goal.
They want to retaliate against those individuals who
stepped on the dictator's statues, buried the dictatorship,
and chose the experiment of democracy and freedom.
Therefore, whoever wants to begin a dialogue with these
groups must first take into account the bloodshed of
innocent Iraqis and think twice about the real objectives
of such dialogues."

B. "Will Article 9 of the TAL be ignored?" (Al-Ittihad,
7/7)

Al-Ittihad (affiliated with PUK led by Jalal Talabani)
published a third-page column by Abdul Hadi Mahdi about the
constitution:

"Without a doubt, the constitutional stage represents an
extremely important period in the history of the new Iraq.
If the Iraqi people choose to ratify the new constitution,
it will become the document that represents all sects and
guides the country's future. All Iraqi political groups
agreed previously that the TAL would provide the foundation
for the new constitution. However, there are still articles
of the TAL that have yet to be implemented. The stated
purpose of the TAL was to administer the transitional
period until an elected government would be established
that would draft a permanent constitution. Therefore, the
former interim and current governments hold responsibility
for applying these articles of the TAL. Unfortunately, this
has not happened.

Article 58 has not yet been implemented and was postponed
without any justifiable reason. Additionally, Article 9 of
the TAL has been ignored. This article states that Arabic
and Kurdish are the two official languages of Iraq and that
all Iraqi citizens have the right to teach their children
their mother language, including Turkmen and Armenian.
Article 9 also requires that the official Iraqi newspaper
be published in both Arabic and Kurdish. Speeches and
addresses during official meetings of the National
Assembly, the cabinet, and the courts must be presented in
Arabic and Kurdish. Other official business, such as
currency, passports, and stamps, must be printed in both
languages. The federal institutions in Kurdistan must also
use Arabic and Kurdish. These are the requirements as
specified by Article 9.

Have these above-mentioned paragraphs been implemented? The
article calls for a law to be issued that would require the
implementation of these paragraphs, but no such law has
been issued thus far. As a result, Article 9 is
inapplicable because there is no enforcement mechanism. In
addition, many government offices do not accept Kurdish-
written statements. These offices return such statements to
their place of origin in order to be translated. Passports
and currencies are also being issued only in Arabic. We
believe that it is the National Assembly's duty to raise
this issue for inclusive discussion. The Assembly must
specify why Article 9 has not been implemented. We hope
that the constitutional committee members will not
disregard this article because it is necessary for the
future of Iraq."

SATTERFIELD

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