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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq Security, U.S. Ambassador

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 003110

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 SECURITY, U.S. AMBASSADOR
POLITICS; BAGHDAD


1. SUMMARY: The major themes in the daily newspapers on July
27 were the new security plan, drafting the constitution,
the constitutional committee's preparations for the
referendum, and the developments of the security situation.
END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Notes for Zalmay Khalilzad" (Al-Ittihad, 7/27)
B. "New security plan. but" (Ad-Dustoor, 7/27)

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

A. "Notes for Zalmay Khalilzad" (7/27)

Al-Ittihad (affiliated with Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led
by Jalal Talabani) published a fifth-page editorial by
Faryad Rawanduzi about the new U.S. Ambassador to Iraq:

"When President Bush sent Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to
Iraq to run one of the largest embassies in the world, he
did a very good thing for the Iraqi people. This
Ambassador, unlike the last one Bush sent to us, is equal to
the task. This Ambassador has a huge job ahead of him. He
must help the Iraq people rebuild their country and their
souls. Plus, he must help his own countrymen clean up the
mess they have made out of their Middle Eastern project -
Iraq.

Although Negroponte was seen by many as at least qualified
to deal with the problems of Iraq - Khalilzad is like us.
He is an American man with Eastern features and Eastern
blood. One can only hope that his mother gave him enough
Eastern sensibility to carry him through his time here.
He will need it.

There are other differences between Khalilzad and
Negroponte. Ambassador Khalilzad knows many Iraqi leaders,
including President Jalal Al-Talabani and he knows them
well. Most importantly, he knew them when they were
opposition leaders working against despot president Saddam
Hussein. He understands their problems because he talked to
them personally. Negroponte only knows the issues because
he talked to the CIA and the State Department and read their
reports.

How can the new Ambassador succeed in Iraq? First he must
identify all of his predecessor's mistakes. Then he
shoulddevelop two plans - one for reconstruction, and one
for security. The reconstruction plan should be a
reasonable road map for rebuilding the country. It should
also guarantee that reconstruction money is spent wisely.
Spending the money wisely will help restore the good
reputation of the United States with the Iraqi people.

The other plan must deal with security. The Ambassador's
new plan should not be like other plans that were designed
to save Iraqi citizens from terrorists by pretending to be
terrorists themselves. Capable people who have the strength
to rid Iraq of terrorists should write this plan.

The current American plan for dealing with security involves
a mixture of military and civilian administration. It is
not working. The Americans do not understand the situation
in Iraq and I think Paul Bremer is responsible for this
American confusion. Iraqis have lost confidence in American
policies because of the inconsistent way Americans have
dealt with their friends and enemies.

The military style in addressing the security situation
involves a heavy-handed approach, and it is this approach
that has turned Iraqi friendship into hatred toward
Americans.

As long as the U.S. Administration maintains its forces in
Iraq, Khalilzad has another mission. He must consider how
to redistribute the military throughout the country and how
to improve their behavior. For example, he might decide to
keep the soldiers out of the cities and order them to treat
innocent civilians with more respect.

The United States government with the help of Ambassador
Khalilzad needs to restore mutual trust between the Iraqi
people and U.S. forces. This trust needs to be earned. It
will be very difficult to achieve until there is a new
strategy for the U.S. forces to leave Iraq."

B. "New security plan. but" (7/27)

Ad-Dustoor (independent) published a front-page editorial by
Bassem Al-Sheikh about the new security plan:

"The new security plan, written by the Ministries of Defense
and the Interior, has been approved by the Presidency
Council, headed by President Jalal Al-Talabani.
After it was approved, the National Assembly, the
Presidential Council, and the cabinet, led by Prime Minister
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, met to discuss the new plan. It seems
like the only people left out of this process were the Iraqi
people themselves. We know nothing about this new security
plan.

This entire process occurred right before the Constitutional
Committee's final deadline for submitting the draft of the
permanent constitution. The fact that there is a new
security plan confirms our suspicions that the former
security plan was not working. Its programs did not cut
down on the amount of terrorist attacks targeting the Iraqi
people, let alone end the attacks all together. Perhaps the
new plan will be better. We, the Iraqi people, don't know
because no one has bothered talk to us.

The existence of the new plan does say one thing loud and
clear. It tells us that the Prime Minister was not able to
protect his people. This is why the President's council had
to get involved. This sounds like a good idea. However, such
involvement will only work if all parties involved are truly
interested in protecting the people and not just furthering
their own careers.

We don't believe that the people involved have ever been
truly committed to re-establishing peace. Perhaps if they
had committed themselves to this cause Iraqis would not
still be dying in terrorist attacks.

However, what people did or did not intend to do is not our
concern. Our concern is whether or not we get to live
another day or whether or not a terrorist will kill us.

The former security plan was a piece of propaganda. It was
not practical nor did it end terrorism. We hope this new
plan includes information as to how patrols, checkpoints and
central police headquarters are going to communicate with
each other. Not to mention, how the government is going to
end terrorist attacks.

We hope the new security plan is not just another piece of
propaganda designed to keep the Iraqi people quiet about the
security situation. The Iraqi people are tired of terrorist
attacks and governmental betrayals, they will not stand for
any more disappointments."


KHALILZAD

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