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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraqi Government, Constitution;

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

241327Z Aug 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003460

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 BAGHDAD
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQI GOVERNMENT, CONSTITUTION;
BAGHDAD


SUMMARY: Discussions on the Constitution was the major
editorial theme of the daily newspapers on August 23, 2005.
END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Our Constitution is Between Our Hands" (Al-Sabah, 8/23)
B. "Central Iraq" (Al-Mashriq, 8/23)
C. "Why They are Afraid of Establishing Federalism in the
South of Iraq?" (Al-Bayyan 8/23)
D. "The Constitutional Changing" (Baghdad 8/23)
E. "The Kurds and the Constitutional Crisis" (Al-Fourat
8/23)
F. "Women and the Freedom of Expression" (Al-Mada 8/23)
G. "Frozen Green Zone People" (Al-Fourat 8/23)
H. "The Calamity Named the Upcoming Constitution" (Al-Dawa
8/23)


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

A. "Our Constitution is Between Our Hands"
(Al-Sabah Newspaper (Independent) in Arabic P 2 Editorial by
Falah Al-Mish'al)

"Once again Iraqis have succeed in securing their political
future, by drafting a national constitution that protects
the unity and wellbeing of Iraq. This document favors the
people over other sectarian or ethnic allegiances . . . This
accomplishment not only effects the current political
situation in Iraq, it also represents an Iraqi dream. It
is the dream of freedom and civil rights ensured by a
permanent constitution. Iraqis have kept that dreams alive
through decades full of struggle . . . The document will be
available for all Iraqis to read within two months. The
Iraqi people will then vote their opinions just like they
did during the last election . . . We hope that the same
efforts that went into the constitution will be applied to
issuing new legislation toward what remains of Saddam's
government. These legislations will suit the new lawful
democratic state that is born from Constitution.
Congratulations go out to everyone for this national
accomplishment and for each step toward granting the rights
of safety and prosperity for our people."

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B. "Central Iraq"
(Al-Mashriq Newspaper (Independent, Anti-Coalition) in
Arabic p. 7 By Shamil Abdul Qadder)

"There is a confusion about federalism and its relationship
to breaking up Iraq into separate parts. Some Iraqi
political groups only consider federalism in relation to the
Kurds. It seems that 80% of the Iraqi population do not
accept any kind of federalism. They consider it a move
toward Iraq's destruction . . . Today, the Iraqi political
groups think that it is necessary to establish a central
government with the presence of a Kurdish federal territory
. . . Some politicians believe that presence of a Kurdish
and Arab federal territories will stabilize security in
Iraq. Others think that making each province a federal
territory with the presence of a central government will
disrupt Iraq's unity. I believe that if politicians
continue to insist upon the establishment of federal
territories we will start to see areas similar to Kurdistan
such as Basrahstan, Umarahstan and Nasseriyastan . . . We
all know that the British imperialists tried to cut Iraq off
from the rest of the world. The Kurds are in a mountainous
area. They are like a small Iraq without a shore. Hence,
it is impossible to establish a Kurdish state because the
land is no more than hills. Israel was successful in
establishing its own state because it occupied the
Mediterranean seashore."

C. "Why They are Afraid of Establishing Federalism in the
South of Iraq?"
(Al-Bayyan Newspaper (Affiliated with the Hezbollah Movement
in Iraq) in Arabic P 1 Un-attributed Editorial)
"One day, the late Saudi King Fahad was asked why he asked
Washington and London to not support the Shi'ites during
their uprising in 1991? He said that he was afraid that the
south of Iraq might become a Shi'ite triangle that would
extend to all other Arab countries in particular the Gulf
States. This speech reminds us of the current objections to
establishing federalism in south of Iraq . . . Why do the
Iraqi people who live in the south of Iraq suffer from
poverty when their areas contain a real wealth? Why they
are they always exposed to tyranny, mass killing,
humiliation and marginalization? We believe in the unity of
Iraq. But, we would like to know why Kurdistan only has the
right to federalism when it appears that no other area has
that right . . . Some Iraqi groups have started to call us
separatist. They don't remember that we were the first
citizens who supported Iraq's unity. We lived in poverty and
suffered tyranny in a wealthy land. Yet we never stopped
supporting Iraq's unity. We are the real advocates of unity
and we will support any initiative that will unite the
country, fight terror and end starvation."
D. "The Constitutional Changing"
(Baghdad Newspaper (Affiliated with the Iraqi National
Accord headed by Iyad Allawi) in Arabic P. 3 Editorial by
Jassem Al-Sagher)

"The new democratic process in Iraq is a unique development
for the entire Middle East. A civilized Iraqi political
government will emerge from the referendum and the coming
election. It will be structured according to the principles
of equality, harmony, rule of law, and universal
participation. These principles are important for
supporting the political process . . . Every country needs
strong political institutions in order to maintain
stability. Backward countries do not have these
institutions . . . We are on the right path toward
democracy. We began the journey when we received our
sovereignty, and then we established the TAL . . . The TAL
approves modern democratic principles for Iraq. These
principles include the mechanisms of democracy, such as the
establishment of the Ministry for Human Rights. Compare our
civil society to other countries in the region and you will
see that we are more advanced. Our progress is really a
civilized jump for our Arab region."

E. "The Kurds and the Constitutional Crisis"
(Al-Fourat Newspaper (Independent, Anti-Coalition) in Arabic
Last Page Editorial by Hayan Al-Baghdadi)

"After the first gulf war the American government supported
the idea of Kurdistan being outside the control of the Iraqi
government . . . The United States did this in order to make
friends in the region. They wanted a place where they could
launch military and intelligence movements in order to
topple the former Iraqi government . . . During this time
the Kurds started to form an independent government with a
parliament and a military (Peshmergas). They were able to
do this because they felt that the Americans were protecting
them. They also were free from the centralized authority.
This is how Kurdistan became a semi-independent region.
They are semi-independent because they need financial and
political. This is why they are now arguing over Kirkuk . .
. The Iraqis will never let go of Kirkuk. Nor will they
agree to let the Kurds have it. It is a Kurdish conspiracy
to cut Kirkuk from our unified Iraq for their own special
interests. The question is, will the Kurds succeed in
forcing their allies to stand with them against the Iraqi
will for unity? If they do, they will be cursed by history
for the rest of time . . . We can assure the Iraqis that the
rest of the Kurds and its national powers in our northern
regions reject any idea of separation from mother Iraq . . .
Because they know that an independent Kurdistan will be an
easy target for their neighbors and there will be no one
around to help or save them then."

F. "Women and the Freedom of Expression"
(Al-Mada Newspaper (Communist, Anti-Coalition) in Arabic P.
6 Editorial by Amina Abdul Aziz)

"By the final deadline for the constitution draft we are all
expecting a document that will ensure the rights of all
Iraqi men and women . . . Since the beginning of this
political process there have been demonstrations started in
Baghdad from two types of women. The first type has
demanded that women have equality with men while the other
type has rejected the idea of women having equality with men
. . . With full respect to all point views, there is a
misunderstanding for the concept of equality. The
misunderstanding about women's rights, duties, and equality
between men and women, is due to decades long deprivation
from expressing free opinions. A significant gap occurred in
understanding the real meaning of equality, women's freedom,
their sacrifices and suffering-for their patience they
deserve practical participation in ruling the country, which
suits their ambitions and performance. Equality means full
awareness for the important role of women that is ascendant
in the new generation, the new future of Iraq. We should
have our rights in being nominated for senior positions in
the Iraqi government, to correct what we believe is not
right for us and to work toward planning for our new
political role in Iraq.
G. "Frozen Green Zone People"
(Al-Fourat Newspaper (ant-coalition, independent) in Arabic
Editorial by Hussain Abdul Abbas Al-Wahili)

"I can assure you that the people in the frozen green zone
do not know anything about the change of seasons, they do
not know that we are now in summer and the heat in Baghdad
is at peak temperature. To prove what I am talking about,
they are still wearing suits and jackets with ties; they
fasten their jackets and they seem that they are shaking
when they appear on TV as if it were still winter. Are they
shaking because they are feeling so cold inside the frozen
green zone, or are they shaking in fear? . Perhaps it's
because they are embarrassed since they have no answers to
the many crises we are experiencing regarding the lack of
water and power. It's as if electricity divorced all Iraqis.
How a thing named electricity completely abandoned Iraqis is
a beautiful old story we can tell our children who gather
around the lamp at night; it will begin with, `once upon a
time when we enjoyed that lovely element named electricity;'
and it will continue with water and which was something we
had in the past and it will go on to something else named
security. These are our fairy tales now, how to apologize to
your neighbor when he abuses your rights and how to stay
silent when someone occupies your land. They all live in the
green zone. Iraqi government and national assembly members,
the ministers and the coalition, and all other employees
working with them and that is why they do not know about
Iraqis who live outside the green zone and that is why they
are leading us with Transparency and Democracy.
H. "The Calamity Named the Upcoming Constitution"
(Al-Dawa Newspaper (Pro-Government) in Arabic P. 5 Editorial
by Hady Jallaow Mariy)

"There are three basic political factions asking for
demands, insisting on them, and showing their opposition to
it. The first is the Kurds, who dream of a separate
province. The second is the Sunnis who want the opposite of
the Kurds. The last is the Shia who believe in the necessity
of finishing the constitution on time; they also have
limitations in what they're willing to relinquish. It's not
only politicians who are committed like them, it's the
majority of Iraqis who believe in this commitment. At the
same time, some factions are calling for the refusal of
certain issues in the constitution, which are related to
federalism, because they believe it will divide the country.
The problem is how will Iraqis convince those with
intertwined attitudes about the constitution? Especially
since there are wide sectors of the populace still suffering
from abuses inflicted by the former regime and it
activities. parliamentary block leaders are responsible for
reaching the final accord, and that can be achieved through
concessions. The results will be in the interests of the
Iraqi people because any more postponement or dissolution of
the National Assembly will take Iraq back to the first step,
and that sequences will reflect negatively on the Iraqi
people, which is dangerous. The Iraqi people are waiting for
the results of the upcoming negotiations with anxiety."


Khalilzad

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