Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraqi Government, Constitution, Tal

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 and Terrorism were
the major editorial themes of the daily newspapers on
September 13, 2005. END SUMMARY.


A. "Terrorism's Sources" (Al-Adala, 9/13)
B. "Humanitarian Visit" (Al-Bayyan, 9/13)
C. "The Marginalization of Culture in the Draft
Constitution" (Al-Mashriq, 9/13)
D. "The Constitution and the Referendum" (Al-Sabah, 9/13)


A. "Terrorism's Sources"
(Al-Adala, no bias, affiliated with SCIRI led by Abdul Aziz
Al-Hakim, published this page-three editorial by Dr. Ali

"There is no doubt that terrorism emanates from different
sources, some of which are material and other immaterial.
Terrorists are trying to spread their ideologies throughout
the world by manipulating emotions and beliefs. At times
they take advantage of unique situations in countries, such
as Iraq, to attract simplistic minds, luring them into

"Iraqis however have seen through these types of ideologies
and we are calling on them to fight the internal and
external sources of terrorism. The Iraqi Minister of Defense
demonstrated that Tel Afar was a haven for terrorists and
their weapons caches. There is no doubt that there are many
internal sources for terrorism that we must eradicate
because they are inter-related with external terrorist
groups and we must ensure that we eliminate terrorist
hotspots to prevent terrorists from slipping away and hiding
in other cities as has occurred before. The problem is that
we have to deal with those who support and provide refuge
for terrorists because they are the real danger. It is
unreasonable to expect that foreign terrorists who come to
Iraq can conduct operations without an incubator or local
cover. All of us need to fight terrorist ideologies and
those who incite terrorism."

B. "Humanitarian Visit"
(Al-Bayyan, affiliated with the Al-Dawa party led by the PM
Al-Ja'afari, published this unattributed editorial about the
Prime Minister's visit to Tal Afar)

"The visit of Prime Minister Al-Ja'afari to Tal Afar
indicates his determination to stabilize security and peace
in the city and its environs. His visit comes directly after
the wide-scale military campaign that was conducted, jointly
by the heroes of our Iraqi armed forces in the Ministries of
Defense and Interior, to eradicate terrorist activities in
Tal Afar. This campaign was designed to restore stability
and security to frightened citizens who have suffered from
terrorist acts for more than three months.

"The government has worked hard to solve the problem
peacefully by asking for help from tribal leaders and city
residents, and holding negotiations before deciding to
implement a plan to cleanse terrorists from the city. This
visit indicates that Al-Ja'afari cares about his people and
demonstrates the humanitarian face of the relationship
between the leader and his people. Terrorists exploited the
location of the border town of Tal Afar to bring murderers
and suicide bombers into the city to commit genocide against
its residents. Terrorists wanted to sow sectarianism and
foment disunity among the Iraqi people in Tal Afar. But,
today, they have been defeated by the Iraqi people and the
courage and intelligence of Iraq's leadership."

C. "The Marginalization of Culture in the Draft
(Al-Mashriq, independent, anti coalition, published this
page-ten editorial by Abdul Jabbar Al-Samara'ee)

"We had hoped that the constitution drafters would have paid
more attention to culture but unfortunately we are
disappointed because we haven't found anything in the
constitution that mentions or considers culture. It seems as
if Iraq lacks culture and hasn't been the cradle of
civilization several thousand years ago. However, we suggest
that the draft constitution forbid government restrictions
on culture. In addition, we must not be subject to foreign
culture--we must depend on our own indigenous Islamic and
Arab culture. We must also prevent any attempt to impose any
foreign language on our country. We have to prevent regional
dialects from being used in the arts and on television
series because dialects weaken the essence of the Arabic
language which consequently will lead to a deterioration of
our Arab identity.

"It is necessary for civil society organizations to be
responsible for promoting culture, preserving our heritage,
and maintaining the distinctness of Iraqi society. The
government must not disseminate or encourage sectarian,
denominational, or ethnic segregation of culture; all
educational curricula must be reviewed to ensure this. We
must be open to developed countries and cultures. I think
the new Iraqi constitution must call for strengthening
culture in order to make the country stronger. Iraqi people
must be equipped with culture so that they can defeat its
misappropriation by terrorists. In the end, we want to
preserve the morals of our culture because if a nation loses
its morals then it will lose its identity."

D. "The Constitution and the Referendum"
(Al-Sabah, independent, published this page 25 editorial by
Adnan Sherkhan)

"It is rare that political groups achieve all of their
demands in democratic systems of governance. Dictatorial
regimes, on the other hand, install the dictator as guardian
of the people, one who enacts legislation that suits him and
forces people to obey his orders. Multiculturalism in a
country like Iraq makes it impossible to reach a consensus
that can satisfy every group. Some groups objected to the
draft constitution because it didn't contain certain issues
they felt were necessary to include in the constitution.

"President Talabani said that the constitution's articles
can be amended in the future and that everything can be
changed except for the holy Qu'ran. We understand that the
Iraqi people have a right to peacefully demonstrate and
express themselves publicly therefore those who wants to
reject the constitution must use their democratic rights to
do so. With a two-thirds vote in three provinces, voters can
reject the constitution as permitted under the TAL. However,
we do not understand why some of those who want to reject
the constitution hoisted Saddam's picture in their

"There have even been some threats from these groups who
claim they will burn the land if the constitution is
ratified. It seems that there are still some people who have
dictatorial thoughts. Nevertheless, the Independent
Electoral Commission has set October 15 as a date for the
referendum. Therefore, we have to quickly reach an agreement
on the draft constitution so that the United Nations can
print millions of copies and distribute them with ration
cards. We must also begin a national campaign to educate
people about the articles of the constitution. If we
continue to have major disputes about the constitution Iraqi
citizens will not benefit from it; we hope that national
media outlets, civil society organizations and political
parties will take responsibility for educating citizens
about the constitution."


© Scoop Media

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