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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 003688

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: IRAQI GOVERNMENT, CONSTITUTION;
BAGHDAD

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution was the major
editorial theme of the daily newspapers on September 7,
2005. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "A Dead Horse in the Constitutional Race" (Al-Ittihad,
9/7)
B. "The Second Copy and the Political Front" (Al-Bayyan,
9/7)
C. "That Is Enough.Arabs" (Ad-Dustoor, 9/7)
D. "The Sheep and the Confession" (Az-Zaman 9/7)

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

A. "A Dead Horse in the Constitutional Race"
(Al-Ittihad, affiliated with PUK led by Jalal Talabani,
published this page-five editorial by Faryad Rawanduzi)

"Sati' Al-Husari established the first nationalist and
dictatorial educational system in Iraq. The Iraqi
educational sector is still suffering from that policy which
marginalized both the Kurds and Shiites. On the other hand,
Clovis Maksoud (I mean the former Arab League Ambassador to
the United Nations) contends that everyone who was exposed
to Arab culture, thoughts, science, and literature is an
Arab even if they didn't possess Arab nationality. Moreover,
Michel Aflaq, [a Christian] the Ba'ath Party founder, wrote
in his book, In the Memory of the Arab Prophet, "It is
possible to use Islam and the Qu'ran, which were written in
Arabic, in a style to blend all other nationalities in the
Arab Homeland into the crucible of the Arab nation. Khair
Allah Talfah, Saddam's father-in-law, said in a symposium
entitled, `I believe that the Qu'ran is Arabic' (held in
Mosul in the seventies) that `Everyone who reads the Qu'ran
and prays in Arabic is an Arab whether or not he or she
accepts it.' Nowadays, it seems that the Sunni negotiators
want to repeat the above-mentioned policies which attempt to
marginalize the Kurds and Shiites in Iraq under the pretexts
of an Arab identity. Furthermore, it looks like Amr Musa,
who was taught in the schools of Aflaq and Al-Husari, thinks
that the Arab League is the only authority that can define
Iraq's national identity. He keeps forgetting that the Iraqi
people are the only authority that can decide their future.
We understand that to reach an agreement with the Sunnis,
over the constitution, it was necessary to make the
political process succeed. However, it was a big mistake and
dangerous to accept their ideologies because Iraq's
constitution and regime must not be based on the same former
philosophies and policies that destroyed the country. The
Americans made a big mistake when they supported one group
of Sunni Arabs and ignored other groups who do not belong to
or have the same ideology of Aflaq and Amr Musa. The current
Sunni negotiators in the constitutional process seized the
opportunity through their unanticipated participation in the
constitutional and political process. They seized this
chance to ride a dead horse. They hope to win control of
Iraq again and marginalize the Kurds and Shiites who have
been oppressed since 1921."

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B. "The Second Copy and the Political Front"
(Zainab Al-Khafaji opined in Al-Bayyan, affiliated with the
Islamic Ad-Da'wa Party led by Al-Ja'afari, this page-four
editorial about the constitution)

"I think that the current discussions between the political
blocs of the National Assembly and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad concerning the second version of the draft
constitution that will be put to vote by the Iraqi people
represent a good chance for these parties to review their
attitudes. This step is very important because there are
some groups threatening to boycott the referendum and I
think that such a boycott will not serve the current
discussions. These groups that want to reject the
constitution are trying to foment popular discontent toward
the constitution without having any justifiable reasons. It
seems that these groups want to encourage dissent amongst
the various political parties. It is weird that these groups
make use of every talk or discussion to hinder the whole
constitutional and political process. The second version of
the draft constitution, which is currently being amended by
political parties, does not necessitate the alteration of
the constitution's primary articles. All political blocs
have agreed to the main articles therefore they needn't be
amended. The current constitutional process requires
fruitful political dialogue rather than futile dialogue."

C. "That Is Enough.Arabs"
(Bassem Al-Sheikh wrote this front-page editorial in Ad-
Dustoor, no bias, independent)

"Iraqis' patience towards their Arab brothers has reached
its limit. President Talabani's appeal to the Arabs to
restore diplomatic representation was filled with pain and
bitterness, and when time elapsed without any action this
pain transformed into an insult toward Iraqis. This account
of Iraqi/pan-Arab relations has surfaced because of the
Arabs' lack of concern for Iraq. The Arabs have failed to
understand that the changes in Iraq are due to logical
reasons, even if change was accompanied by occupation. Arab
regimes have taken tentative stances toward Iraq, in way
that demonstrates the belief that any relations with Iraq
would be equated with support for the occupation and
coalition forces.Iraqis regard Arab neglect (both official
and on the part of the people) and dismissal of their plight
as something that only increases their suffering at a time
when Iraqis are already suffering horribly. The initial
optimism of the Iraqi leadership towards the Arab world has
been deflated-Iraqis waited and hoped for actions and
results from an Arab summit or a regional conference but
instead wasted a lot time for nothing more than promises.
The bigger problem is that Iraq's leadership hasn't yet
learned its lesson; they are still waiting for the Arabs and
haven't learned from the past that Arab summits have never
resolved any Arab problems.. The tone of President
Talabani's statement, which elicited a lot of Arab (and
international) reactions, addressed two messages: the first
was that Arabs are uncooperative and their pushy stance
toward Iraq was against its will; and second, Iraqis have
lost hope and faith in the Arabs who have only added to
Iraq's burden rather than sharing it and helping to end our
suffering. The President's statement won't affect the Arabs,
who share secret channels among themselves, because they may
have different skins but they have the same metal."

D. "The Sheep and the Confession"
(Az-Zaman, independent, recently anti-coalition and printed
in London and Baghdad, published this back-page editorial by
Fateh Abdul-Salam)

"The Iraqi government is furious with Arab countries that
haven't sent ambassadors or high-level high level diplomatic
representation to Iraq. This is how Arab countries
officially acknowledge the legitimacy of the Iraqi
government. No Arab leaders or even their ministers have
visited Baghdad--not even as a courtesy. At this point all
countries are equal, those who were against the war in Iraq
and those who supported it, such as Kuwait.and they are
still insisting that Baghdad is not secure enough to receive
the Kuwaiti ambassador but they thought differently when
they hosted American troops and opened their roads to
American tanks allowing them to crush Iraqis bodies and
invade our country destroying the infrastructure and opening
our doors to terrorism; they did not take those consequences
into consideration. Now the Americans are suffering from
Iraq's latest political burden and the decision on the draft
constitution that might lead to further instability in Iraq.
We do not want to open closed doors with Kuwait and condone
their shameful attitude towards Iraq and all Iraqis. They
promised to send their ambassador and their ministers but
they did not fulfill their promises, they supported the
Americans against Iraq to exact their private revenge; they
were planning to topple Saddam and his regime and it's clear
they do not care about Iraqis. Other Arabs are no better
than Kuwaitis, but the Kuwaiti's political hypocrisy is very
clear. Geographically they are near and politically they are
distant-they have worked against Iraq. All Arabs should be
standing by Iraq's side backing the government instead of
boycotting it. The simple fact about the Arabs is that they
don't recognize the legitimacy of the new Iraqi government
or of Iraq's new era. They are not ready to suffer the way
Iraqis are now suffering. The Americans, amid their natural
and political disasters, should remember to prod Arab
countries to send their ambassadors to Baghdad. This way
they will redeem their honor."

SATTERFIELD

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