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Cablegate: Daily Iraqi Website Monitoring - September 7, 2005

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

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution was the major
editorial theme of Iraqi, Arabic language websites on
September 7, 2005. END SUMMARY.


A. "The Pending Constitution" (Iraq4all News, 9/7)
B. "The Arab League and the Iraqi Constitution" (Al-Jeeran,
C. "Leave Iraqis Alone" (Makany, 9/7)
D. "Iraq after Constitutional Ratification" (Al-Bayan, 9/7)


A. "The Pending Constitution"
(Editorial by Abdul Zahra Al-Rikabi - Iraq4all News -

"President Bush hailed the `merits' of the Iraqi
constitution saying it included many guarantees to protect
basic human rights including religious rights, the right of
assembly, and the right to freedom of expression, but the
American president didn't point out the dangerous and
destructive implications within the constitution that would
divide and eliminate Iraq--and president Bush's praises were
considered a blessing for the American coalition's efforts
serving the U.S. occupation. There's no doubt that America's
local allies played an obvious role in many scenarios in
Iraq including that of the constitution after its draft
revealed items representing an attempt to divide the country
into two states with full economic autonomy based on
strategic oil resources; where the draft constitution states
that one or more provinces have the right to form a federal
region with diplomatic missions in embassies to follow up on
cultural, social, and development issues. As for oil
revenues, the lion's share will be for the southern region
including: nine provinces receiving no less than 60%, with
the northern Kurdish region receiving 20% with a chance to
seize no less than 30% if they takeover Kirkuk, while only
leftovers will go to the central region including Baghdad
and three other Sunni provinces with a scant 10% or 20% of
revenues. That's in addition to granting these regions the
right to invest in unexplored oil fields including the
southern (Majnoon) field which represents a huge strategic
oil resource and the northern fields already being explored
by international oil companies who've signed contracts with
the Kurds. We can say that more than one dimension will
prevent the draft constitution from passage during the
referendum. That includes the sectarian component, where the
three Sunni provinces of Mosul, Tikrit, and Ramadi can
reject the draft, and the same thing can be said about
Shiite provinces where the Sadr movement is the strongest
Shiite faction opposing the constitution (from an early
stage due to its trend towards division and separation), in
addition to other Shiite secular movements with an active
presence in left wing and liberal movements. All of which
means the political process adopted by the U.S. occupation
will return to square one, which serves the occupation's
interests in drawing the attention of Iraqis towards their
usual political drama beginning with the governing council,
elections, and finally the constitution pending a referendum
which will not be the final chapter of the American play."

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B. "The Arab League and the Iraqi Constitution"
(Editorial by Jaber Habib Jaber - Al-Jeeran -

"No constitution has aroused interest in the way that the
Iraqi constitution has, and not only on a local level but an
international one symbolized by worldwide congratulations
from the U.N., U.S., U.K., and the European Union in what
all described as the cornerstone of the political process.
As for the regional and Arab level, the most peculiar
position was that of the Arab League's Secretary General.
For his interference came at a time when political parties
were negotiating the draft constitution and his position
sided with one of the negotiating parties leading to a
further entrenchment in their position.

"This position might be justified by an affinity over the
identity of Iraq, but perhaps this role could have been more
effectively promoted through envoys sent by the League to
mediate between negotiating parties and provide advice,
which is the same role played by the U.N.'s envoy, Ashraf
Qadhi, who encouraged participation in the constitutional
process. So the Secretary General of the Arab League might
have had a better chance today if he or those before him had
addressed the concerns and crises of the Iraqi people,
whether during the Ba'athist era or after. Iraqis have a
great deal of bitter memories regarding the role of the Arab
League towards Iraq. Where was the League when Kurds were
killed by chemicals in Halabja and had their villages wiped
out? Where were they when marshes were destroyed after seven
thousand years of existence? The League might have
justified its position by saying it didn't want to clash
with regimes, but did it attempt to urge member countries to
take notice of the suffering of Iraqis fleeing the regime's
brutality, did it call upon countries to grant access to
those refugees instead of drowning in deep oceans or ending
up exiled in distant lands? Before the elections, the
League's Secretary General met with representatives calling
to boycott the elections, so did he make use of his
political experience and advise them to take part in the
process that would finally lead to a constitution? Did he
inform them about how their absence would affect the balance
of powers, and weaken the Arabs' side in front of the Kurds?
Or did he, like everyone else, bet on the failure of the
Iraqi elections? The Secretary General expressed concern
over the Arab nature of Iraq as if it were a piece of
clothing to be taken off at any time, or as if Iraqis were
in need of advice over how to maintain their Arab origin;
but these same concerns weren't expressed over the peace
agreement in Sudan which granted the southern region of the
country the right to self determination, nor did he oppose
Libya withdrawing from the League, nor did he condemn Arab
nations normalizing relations with Israel, nor did he call
for a special session despite hundreds of Iraqis being
killed on daily basis. But he didn't hesitate to call for a
meeting in the resort of Sharm Al-Sheikh to encourage
tourism in the area. So neither the history of the Arab
League nor its charter allows it to interfere in the
decisions of Iraqis, especially after abandoning them to
terrorists and murderers."

C. "Leave Iraqis Alone"
(Uncited Editorial - Makany -
http://www.makany.com/go2news.php?url=8824108 )

"Despite some of the constitution's articles imposed through
power sharing, the Iraqi constitution is considered a
quantum leap relative to the constitutions prevalent in the
Arab world. The most important thing in the nascent Iraqi
constitution is that it includes several guarantees to avoid
returning to the tyranny that Iraq suffered for 1,400 years.
Federalism will ensure no repeats of the `great leader' or
`God's gift on earth' which Arab countries in general and
Iraqis in particular are afflicted with. Let Amr Musa, the
Arab flag bearer, allow us to disagree with him in his
reservations about us not specifying the Arab nature of Iraq
in the constitution by saying he interfered in a matter that
should not concern him because this is the Iraqi people's
choice and he should respect this choice. Second, he should
remember that Iraqis didn't receive anything but
destruction, killings, and deportation from the Arab nature
of Iraq. One of the advantages of the new Iraqi constitution
is it includes many guarantees for human rights and
freedoms. Those who cry about the Arab nature of Iraq and
fear its division actually want to reinstate tyranny on our
people, and that won't happen. A piece of advice to those
who whine and mourn about Iraq's identity: Let Iraqis take
care of themselves."

D. "Iraq after Constitutional Ratification"
(Editorial by Abdul Zahra Al-Rikabi - Al Bayan -
http://www.albayan.ae/servlet/Satellite?cid=1 125289812001&pa
gename=Albayan%2FArticle%2FFullDetail&c=Artic le)

"Iraqi's parliament settled its talks over the Iraqi
constitution without making any changes to the draft. Five
million copies will be published and distributed to voters
in an obvious challenge to Sunnis and a rejection of various
political party and partisan group demands which will lead
Iraq to an unpredictable future. The third article of the
draft constitution states, `Iraq is multi-ethnic and multi-
religious, it is part of the Islamic world, and the Arab
people in it are part of the Arab nation.' This article, in
addition to federalism, will constitute a gloomy image of
Iraqi unity and identity scattered among political
movements, narrow-minded interests, and sectarian entities.
The Iraqi constitutional project needs a review, a review
that guarantees Iraq's unity and maintains its independence
and the unity of its land. A public rejection of the draft
constitution won't end in rejection and denouncement of the
document but will go beyond and stoke what Iraqis most fear-
-civil war. Salih Al-Mutlag, one of the top Sunni Arab
negotiators expressed his fears by showing his resentment
over the current constitution. He said if it is approved in
the referendum Iraqis will say the results were faked which
would be very bad. The political and security situation
could spiral out of control if the constitution is rejected
by a two-thirds majority in three provinces and that will
increase the sectarian tension. The American administration
must establish a policy of not letting Iraq drown in
sectarian quagmire and civil war--especially with plans for
an American military withdrawal after the approval of the
draft constitution. The Americans must take on their
historic responsibility for creating a national consensus to
rebuild post-occupation Iraq and prevent a `Katrina
constitution' which threatens Iraqi unity on one side and
Arab/Islamic identity on the other."


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