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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq Constitution and Sunni

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
July 25 were the constitutional committee's preparations
for the referendum, drafting the constitution, and the
latest developments of the security situation. END SUMMARY.


A. "Is it assassination of individuals or attitudes?" (Al-
Ittihad, 7/25)
B. "Saddam's trial is a national demand" (Al-Bayyan, 7/25)


A. "Is it assassination of individuals or attitudes?"

Al-Ittihad (affiliated with Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
led by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani) published a third-
page editorial by Abdul Hadi Mahdi about the assassination
of the Sunni members in the constitutional committee:

"Right now the political situation in Iraq is at its most
dangerous and sensitive point. Any disruption in the
political process has the potential to demolish the
building that we are constructing - the new Iraq. Iraqis
have paid for that building with their blood and we must
continue to build it.

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The current stage requires peace from all Iraqi groups.
Those who originally boycotted the elections only agreed to
participate in the constitutional committee after some very
difficult negotiations, resulting in 25 Sunni members being
added to the constitutional committee.

The constitutional process continues to move forward
despite disagreements among the members of the
constitutional committee. We believe that such
disagreements benefit the constitutional process. We
believe that they are creating a new document, with new
ideas that will benefit Iraq. We deny that they are doing
this for personal profit or from a constitution drafted

I believed that the Iraqi people can work through these
disagreements and finish the constitution on time.

Unfortunately, the assassination of the three Sunni members
of the constitutional committee may have changed all of
that. This assassination is an attempt to prevent the
constitutional committee from doing its duty and drafting
the constitution to meet the August 15th deadline.

After the assassination, the Sunni group in the
constitutional committee suspended its membership. However,
it did not withdraw from the committee. There is a big
difference between suspension and withdrawal.

The Sunni members suspended their membership to protest
against the assassination of three of their own. They have
a list of demands that they want the government to address
before returning to the committee. The government has
announced that it will address all of their demands as well
as provide protection for constitutional committee members.

This assassination did not targeting specific figures,
rather it intended to thwart the whole constitutional

The Iraqi people have started to ask questions about the
assassinations. They want to know what group or groups
were responsible for the killing. Who benefited from this
assassination? What are the causes of this assassination?
Why were those Sunni members targeted? There are only 20
days before the draft of the constitution is due. We hope
that the Sunni members will return to the constitutional
committee as soon as possible in order to complete the
constitution on time.

We have to admit that because the government took a long
time to form the constitutional committee, the process has
been delayed. This postponement has not been good for the
process. However, we are confident that the Sunni members
will return to the constitutional committee and the
assassinations will serve as a strong motive for all
political groups to finish drafting the constitution. They
are working for the future of the new Iraq."

B. "Saddam's trial is a national demand" (7/25)

Al-Bayyan (affiliated with Islamic Ad-Da'wa Party led by PM
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari) published a third-page editorial by
Salim Rasool about Saddam's trial:

"Some people are afraid of Saddam Hussein's upcoming trial.
They are afraid of the consequences the trial may bring
down upon them. These fears come from a lack of
understanding of Iraqi history and Iraqi social structure.

Because of their narrow minds, some people think that
Saddam committed crimes only in the north and the south,
excluding the center and the west of Iraq for sectarian
reasons. They believe that expediting Saddam's trial will
create many problems, possibly damaging the political
process. These people suggest that the only to way to
prevent these type of problems is to delay Saddam's trial.

These opinions are inconsistent with a true accounting of
Iraq's history. In reality Saddam committed crimes against
all Iraqis. No one was safe from him. He executed
thousands of Iraqis, all from different nationalities,
religions and sects.

No one can characterize Saddam's crimes as being against
people of a specific sect or nationality. Saddam even
targeted his relatives and his followers. Some of them were
fed to dogs while others melted in the sulfur pots.

Saddam's crimes were against the whole community. I believe
that even if Saddam is executed, nothing will be
destabilized or harmed. The Iraqi people are waiting for
Saddam's death sentence. Only criminal Ba'athists seek to
create problems concerning Saddam's just sentence.

The Iraqi people will regain their stability by taking
Saddam to trial for his crimes. His trial is an insistent
national demand."


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