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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003568

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: Discussion on the Constitution was the major
editorial theme of the daily newspapers on August 30, 2005.
END SUMMARY.

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

A. "The National Assembly Bypasses its Dissolution" (Al-
Sabah, 8/30)
B. "Ask Washington and No One Else" (Az-Zaman, 8/30)
C. "Our Constitution and the Arabs" (Al-Sabah, 8/30)
D. "The Liberation of Iraq's Sunnis" (Asharq al-Awsat, 8/30)
E. "Successful Bet" (Al-Adala, 8/30)
F. "Welcome Is Not Enough" (Al-Bayyan, 8/30)

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

A. "The National Assembly Bypasses its Dissolution"
(Al-Sabah (Iraqi Media Network, pro-coalition) published a
page-two editorial by Adel Abdullah about the National
Assembly's endorsement of the draft constitution)

"There are some groups that have disputes with the drafting
of the constitution and which are trying to dissolve the
National Assembly. This option may be the result of the
failure of the constitutional committee to reach harmony on
the constitution. But, first, we have to know what the real
reasons and interests behind these attempts are. The Kurds
generally will not be affected if the National Assembly were
to be dissolved. Sunni Arabs do not care about that issue
because they do not have enough representation in the
National Assembly. Regarding American interests, the U.S.
has two goals in Iraq. The first goal is connected with
American strategic interest and this was achieved through
the occupation of Iraq. On the other hand, the second goal
still remains unaccomplished because it was connected to the
search for WMD and establishing democracy in Iraq. Whether
or not the second goal is achieved the U.S. has nothing to
lose. As a result, the only loser in the dissolution of the
National Assembly will be the United Shiite Alliance and its
current government. Only Shiite political parties that
participated in this government will suffer from the
bitterness of this loss. In fact, we do not have any time to
waste to prevent the dissolution of the national assembly
because the groups that are working to achieve this may
succeed. Therefore, we have to look for a way to reach
harmony among all these groups. Otherwise, the dissolution
of the National Assembly means that all great efforts to
build new Iraq will be demolished. The UIA's (United Iraqi
Alliance) government must work now with some of those groups
in order to develop a new strategy to prevent the
dissolution of the National Assembly in case the
constitution is rejected in the referendum."

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"Ask Washington and No One Else"
(Az-Zaman (independent and anti-coalition) published this
back-page editorial by Fateh Abdul Salam)

"President Bush addressed U.S. soldiers in Iraq and told
them that they have to endure more sacrifices in Iraq. He
gave this speech two days ago and this statement shows that
he continues to offer the same policy in Iraq regardless of
the continued bloodshed of American soldiers. At the same
time, the Chief of Staff Gen. Myers blames American
politicians for not paying attention to the dangers of the
security situation in Iraq. Before that, Bush personally
intervened to save the Iraqi constitution draft. However, it
seems that the results do not correspond with the plan to
accomplish the American mission in Iraq. Why does Washington
feel embarrassed and worried? Does it think that casualties
are not high? Has Washington discovered that Iraqi officials
are ignorant about their country's future? Has Iraq's future
become unclear for Iraqi and Americans too? Does the
decision to withdraw require suitable timing to announce? I
think that the Americans are better than Iraqi officials in
describing situations in the country because they are
deployed throughout Iraq and they do not live inside the
Green Zone like Iraqi officials. What will happen to the
constitutional process and what is the result of it? If you
want to know you better ask Washington because it has a true
understanding of the Iraqi scene. Do not ask Iraqi officials
because they are ignorant and they do not have an accurate
analysis of Iraq's reality."

"Our Constitution and the Arabs"
(Al-Sabah (Iraqi Media Network, pro-coalition) published a
page-three editorial by Sattar Jabar)

"Amr Musa threatens, Saudi Arabia has reservations, Syria
sends car bombs, Amman plans to bring Ba'athists back to
power in Iraq, and Qatar gets ready to launch a media
uprising against Iraqis who drafted their constitution with
their own blood. Those groups described our constitution as
the American constitution despite the fact that most of them
did not even have a look at it. We did not see any of our
Arab brothers congratulate us for completing the draft of
our constitution. They did not say this constitution
represents all Iraqis. In fact, they tried to thwart the
drafting of this constitution. But, the time of freedom has
come and freedom has a very expensive cost that we must pay
in order to end the era of dictatorship in Iraq. Arabs have
sold their honor and dignity in order to be friends with
Washington and Israel. On the other hand, we selected our
friends voluntarily because we wanted a friend that could
help us cure our chronic diseases. It is an honor to
befriend anyone who helps our country and we reject anyone
who wants to steal our wealth and make our lands a
battleground. Today, the Iraqi people have become the
landlords of the Middle East because they refused
dictatorship. Our constitution does not contain any further
tyrannical principles of the Ba'ath Party because it is a
constitution of free but poor people, who will spread peace
throughout an Islamic world that is still suffering from
dictatorship and tyranny."

"The Liberation of Iraq's Sunnis"
(Asharq al-Awsat (independent, London-based, Saudi owned)
published a page-eight editorial by Ahmad Al-Rub'ee on Sunni
Arabs in Iraq)

"We regret that a small group in Iraq succeeded in
kidnapping Sunnis Arabs and speaking in their names. This
has lead to difficulties and the country will pay a high
price for them. We truly regret that in some of those Sunni
regions, they held demonstrations, raised the dictator's
photos, and at least some of the Sunni representatives have
worked against criminalizing the former Ba'ath Party.

We feel sorry that they now have a spokesperson who speaks
for them but claims that he represent all Sunnis (the
educated, the activists, politicians, academics, and tribal
members).

We feel sorry that it's the extremists who occupy most of
the Sunni mosques and that they make efforts to turn their
Friday's prayers into provocative calls to violence. Those
who claim that they are representing the Sunnis are
deceiving us; they are talking against the occupation force
but they are encouraging violence against Iraqis. They talk
about federalism as if it will divide Iraq but they are
confused about the differences between democratic federalism
and sectarianism federalism which would divide Iraq;s
regions according to ethnicities.
The real Sunni representatives should raise their voices;
they must not allow others to scare Sunnis or to mislead
them about the coming referendum process as they did before
when they called for a boycott of the election process and
deprived their fellow Sunnis from having enough
representatives in the parliament. Those Sunni minorities
are responsible for diluting the political equation here in
Iraq. They speak in the name of democracy and freedom but
they want to take us back to the dictatorial past and they
are now the echo of terrorism."

"Successful Bet"
(Al-Adala (affiliated with SCIRI) published a page-four
editorial by Dr. Ali Khalif about the constitution)

"Although some people have reservations about some articles
in the draft constitution, which considered an important
factor for the success of the constitutional process,
because it is impossible to satisfy everyone in a country
like Iraq that has different sects. It is necessary to
ensure Iraqi groups, particularly those who had suffered
unjustly, that this will never happen again. This can only
be accomplished through a permanent constitution that
preserves all Iraqis' rights.

The moribund Ba'ath Party followers who demonstrated
carrying the tyrant's picture as a symbol of the rejection
of the draft constitution, were negligent respecting the
feelings and memories of the mass grave victims. We are not
against the democratic tradition of freedom of opinion, but
we do not hurt others' feelings by raising picture of a
criminal who is waiting for punishment of justice.

This historical accomplishment, the drafting of a
constitution, deserves more time for discussion and
reflection and it will be presented to the people for a
vote. The progressive wheel is moving forward will not be
stopped by terrorists because these great Iraqi people who
defeated the terrorists on election day will defeat them
again on referendum day."

"Welcome Is Not Enough"
(Al-Bayyan (affiliated with the Islamic Al-Dawa Party)
published a page-four editorial by Zainab Al-Khafaji about
the world's welcoming of the ratification of the Iraqi draft
constitution)

"After approving the draft constitution the international
community expressed its welcoming of this step as an
important Iraqi accomplishment. By all measures the
international efforts does not fits Iraq's need of more
support to enhancing democracy.

International organizations should perform their duties
toward this humanitarian experience, they should offer help
and support because words are not enough for this democratic
change happening in Iraq.

Iraq has many issues: the deterioration of security due to
terrorist attacks, the issue of the deterioration of
services, and the oil-for-food issue that is still
unsettled, to resolve in order to ensure the rights of
Iraqis. These and other issues need international help and
hard work, not only a formal international welcoming."


Khalilzad

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