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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq Constitution, Terror; Baghdad

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 26 were the constitutional committee's preparations
for the referendum and a response to Egyptian media
coverage of the Sharm Al Sheikh attack. END SUMMARY.


A. "Constitution and the Iraqi street" (Al-Mashriq, 7/26)
B. "Egyptian resistance and the Sharm Al-Sheik's attacks"
(Al-Ittihad, 7/26)


A. "Constitution and the Iraqi street" (7/26)

Al-Mashriq (independent, anti coalition) published a
fourth-page editorial about the constitution:

"The people are asking to have the contents of the
constitution explained to them. We ask our politicians.
We ask experts on constitutional law. We want to know how
we will be represented by this document. What source book
will the constitutional drafting committee use to write its
masterpiece? All of these questions are unnecessary; we
already know what is in the constitution. It is the best of
us. The constitution represents the Iraqi identity.
Everything that we are and want to be is in that document.
We have high expectations of what the new Iraq will look
like and high standards for ourselves and for the

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These standards call for equality, social justice, the
right of citizenship, the right of voting and nomination,
freedom of speech and freedom of the media. Indeed, today's
Iraq requires a constitution that must enforce a strict law
to maintain the government's facilities and protect
citizens' lives. It is important to hold positive and
effective talks with all of Iraqi society before ratifying
any constitution. For this reason, the constitutional
committee must listen to all viewpoints. This will instill
hope in the people of Iraq as they look forward to
rebuilding a new democratic government to replace the
previous dictatorial regime. To support this idea, we have
to guarantee freedom of movement and security for all
Iraqis as we prepare for the upcoming public elections. We
have to call for the freedom to establish political
parties, freedom of possession, freedom to demonstrate and
hold political forums. This will serve to build a positive
environment for building a new democracy. However, the best
option to achieve coexistence among all nationalities and
political groups is for the Iraqi people to call for unity
and reject discord. We want to build a new Iraq without
any interference from avaricious foreign groups."

B. "Egyptian resistance and the Sharm Al-Sheik's attacks"

Al-Ittihad (affiliated with PUK, led by Talabani) published
a third-page editorial by Abdul Hadi Mahdi about terror in
Iraq and the Sharm Al-Sheikh's attacks:

"The recent attack in Sharm al Sheik has been condemned by
all, from Iraqis at the highest levels of the government,
all the way down to the Iraqi street. They know very well
the consequences. However, what should be said about the
Egyptian Media? We know that they are very qualified and
well known, but as it relates to the Sharm Al Sheikh attack
they are being two-faced and unbalanced. When they write
about what is going on in Iraq, the car bombs, explosive
belts, IEDs, assassinations, kidnappings and attacks
against our infrastructure, it is generally referred to as
Iraqi resistance against occupation forces, even though
most Iraqi condemn these same acts. Still the talking
heads and pundits from the various satellite TV stations
stick to their ridiculous analysis, alienated from reality,
and blame the Sharm Al Sheikh attacks on the American

The question here: What is resistance and what is
terrorism? Can you tell us the criteria between the two so
that it is clear? I wonder what the opinion is of the
Egyptian media by the average Egyptian on the street? What
would Egyptians think if the Iraqi media reported that the
Sharm Al Sheikh attack was "Egyptian resistance" in
response to normalization with Israel, having the Israeli
flag flying in the middle of Cairo, selling Egyptian gas to
Israel, or having the Israeli tourists on the Kenana land.
Certainly this would be an unacceptable interpretation to
our Egyptian brothers.
We are comparing the two situations to call attention to
the fact that the outcome of these attacks is the death of
innocent people. The goal of the attackers is to
intimidate the Iraqi people and target stability and peace
in Iraq, Egypt and throughout the region. Our first
response should be Arab unity in standing against the
attackers. We should then put an end to these actions by
addressing their cause and uprooting them fiercely and


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