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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 04 BAGHDAD 003854

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,
TERRORISM; BAGHDAD

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution and Terrorism were
the major editorial themes of the daily newspapers on
September 18, 2005. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Our Disaster Is Not Only Reflected through Current
Events but through the Silence from the Arab World and the
International Community" (Al-Ittihad, 9/18)
B. "The Constitution between Rejection and Acceptance" (Al-
Sabah Al-Jadeed, 9/18)
C. "A Legitimacy that Has Killed Us" (Al-Sabah, 9/18)
D. "Revision" (Al Bayyan, 9/18)
E. "Beware. The War of Authorities" (Al-Fourat, 9/18)
F. "Democracy and Recognizing the Rights of Constituents is
the Guarantee of a Country's Unity" (Al-Ittihad, 9/18)

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

A. "Our Disaster Is Not Only Reflected through Current
Events but through the Silence from the Arab World and the
International Community"
(Al-Ittihad, no bias, affiliated with PUK led by Abdul Aziz
Al-Hakim, published this page-three column, by Abdul Hadi
Mahdy)

"The widespread and violent activities that struck Baghdad
last Wednesday and Thursday are no different from past ones
but because of their repetition and devastation, all who
care about the future of this country need to act quickly
and act on moral and national responsibilities to halt the
violence and end the suffering of innocent Iraqi victims.
These violent events have no logic or ideology on which they
draw upon.

"Iraqis are steadfast people who history has enlightened
with steadfastness and endowed with an ability for
sacrifice. Iraqis were torchbearers and many followed their
blazing light. They have fulfilled a basic role in helping
others but the current events have left them alone in facing
their tragedies and enduring the consequences-their Arab
brothers are still asleep and have let the people of Iraq
down. They actually need to see what is happening to this
country rather than let it face car bombs, explosive belts,
beheadings, and random murders. To them it looks as though
Iraq is another planet and their silence is equal to
condoning the genocide that Iraqis face.

"Even the international community has abandoned Iraq--there
have been only statements and promises from it and no real
activity to help Iraqis through their tragedy. The United
Nations has intervened to avert chaos and disasters in many
parts of the world and what is happening in Iraq is more
than significant than in many other places but the U.N.
hasn't taken any action. So when anyone mentions the tragedy
in Iraq our response is that the real tragedy is the silence
and the abandonment of the Iraqi people. Unfortunately the
internaioa community andour Arab brtherslok t evens
i Iraq as f they were segments from an action film,
underscoring their lack of care and concern.

"If Iraqis are united in facing these endless tragedies they
may be able to stop them but the point is, Iraqis don't like
to see accusations and infighting on the part of the
government-we've seen that this doesn't yield positive
results. If the low performance of Iraqi security forces is
the problem or the presence of MNF is a catalyst for
violence then ultimately the problem is a lack of Iraqi
unity. We don't need statements that raise the specter of
sectarianism, which is what's been happening lately on the
Iraqi street-sectarianism hurts us all. We need to think
deeply about finding solutions for the problems within the
Iraqi soul, and we need to avoid the narrow-mindedness that
inhibits and constricts the future of Iraq."

B. "The Constitution between Rejection and Acceptance"
(Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed, independent, pro-coalition, published
this page-eight editorial by Haidar Al-Said Salman)

"The Iraqi constitution, written by the people's
representatives, faces serious challenges. Differences among
several political groups reflect directly on the
constitution--conservatives are committed to principles
which some might see as inappropriate in the new Iraq, while
on the other side, we find liberals who see most of the
constitution's items as the basis for a state of justice,
law, and democracy. And between these two groups are Iraqis
who are in a state of bewilderment and are the ones who will
either accept or reject the draft in the upcoming
referendum.

"In such a case, we should make use of the time remaining to
provide a simple explanation of the 153 items of the
constitution, avoiding the political terminology that only
experienced constitutional experts comprehend.

"I'm sure citizens will find guarantees in the constitution
that safeguard their lives and the lives of their children
and will discover the doubts of skeptical parties will fail
to stand in the way of a constitution that leaves the door
open for future amendments and changes which should
eliminate any fears surround it. Any careful reading of the
draft leaves a good impression regarding its ability to
address the diverse nature of Iraqi society and an air of
transparency in dealing with the future. A new permanent
constitution for the country will be the cornerstone for the
political process and lay the tracks for the right path
towards a better tomorrow."

C. "A Legitimacy that Has Killed Us"
(Al-Sabah newspaper, affiliated with the pro-coalition Iraqi
Media Network, published this front-page editorial by Juma
Al-Hilfi)

"The only thing left to do is to indulge in a philosophical
discussion with Al-Zarqawi about the legitimacy of shedding
our blood and the blood of our children and families--
especially since this bloodshed is justified by jihad.

"This is what some parties actually want, they no longer see
any harm in brutal blood baths that victimize hundreds of
innocent civilians, and they can't even raise a finger in
protest to Al-Zarqawi, all they can do is to mention his
name in reverence. These parties that have made a great fuss
about jihad against the occupation don't even fear public
announcement of their association with Al-Zarqawi; they only
consider fighting the occupation through their satellite
channel statements while their car bombs know better who to
kill.

"Hundreds of Iraqis have fallen during the last few weeks
through car bombs and suicide vests that have killed only a
few occupation soldiers; we need to discuss the legitimacy
and the meaning of killing."

D. "Revision"
(Al Bayyan, affiliated with Al-Dawa, led by Al-Ja'afari, no
bias, published this page-five editorial by Zainab Al-
Khafaji)

"The head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Tariq Al-Hashimi, has
accused the U.S. of marginalizing the role of Sunnis in the
political process but I believe this marginalization is a
result of their own actions in imposing conditions rather
than requests which overlook the basic nature of the
constitutional process which is the role of the people-Sunni
actions are aimed at dragging Iraqis back 35 years.

"So, any party seeking participation in the political
process should take into account the well-being of Iraq and
work on developing political dialogue with a long-term
strategy for every topic discussed. Any requests should be
supported by justifications that they'll serve the interests
of Iraqis.

"Therefore I believe that Mr. Al-Hashimi's statement is
politically inaccurate and based on archaic and traditional
political methodology such as unilateral decision making and
excluding all others which isn't an approach that suits
today's world. The political process in Iraq has revealed
many examples of exploitation of the democratic environment,
where instead of searching for common ground to unify
different parties and groups the agenda has been to find
points of difference that prevent any agreement."
E. "Beware. The War of Authorities"
(Al-Fourat, independent, secular, anti-coalition, published
this page-three editorial by Abdul Zahra Al-Talqani)
"Dear Sirs,

"To you who have drafted the constitution and specified your
authorities according to your posts:

"Now that you have completed the draft and handed it over to
the U.N. to be printed and distributed among Iraqis, you
have no right to argue among yourselves about drafts that
specify each person's powers. And if you are the ones who
have transformed Iraq into democracy, you have no right to
dispute what was previously agreed upon.

"The world has watched us welcome the occupation to liberate
us from dictatorship, and watched us loot our government
buildings and civilization, watched us living in darkness
with no electricity, and watched us blow up our oil
pipelines. As if all of this weren't enough, the world now
gets the chance to see our president and PM contest over who
gets to represent Iraq at the U.N. to show their public
speaking skills as they did before during King Fahad's
funeral in August.

"Why can't we reflect an image of a civilized nation going
through a renaissance? We've clutched on to history until
we've become a part of it. When will we move forward towards
the present and learn from other nations, learn how they
live, how they learn, eat, drink, enjoy life, make use of
science and develop their world.

"We have taught the world before, and now we need to learn
from them; we were their teachers now they are ours, we need
to learn how to live freely, and abide by the law. We need
to learn how to run our country and replace our rulers
peacefully; enough bargaining over our country--enough loss
and bewilderment."

F. "Democracy and Recognizing the Rights of Constituents is
the Guarantee of a Country's Unity"
(Al-Ittihad, affiliated with PUK, pro-coalition, published
this page-eight editorial by Farhad Rashid)

"The Japanese-American intellectual [Francis] `Fukuyama,'
the End of History theorist, doesn't need to consider
himself as a purely American citizen or to claim his
Japanese ancestry since he lives in a country that treats
him as a first-class citizen without regard to his national
or religious affiliation.

"This is an indication that the American government deals
fairly and without any discrimination or efforts to force a
citizen to change his national identity, which is what makes
Fukuyama feel at home in America despite his Japanese
origins-it also causes him to feel an allegiance to the
country which grants him this right.

"From this example, we can talk about the condition inside
the Iraq, specifically in the talks regarding the drafting
of the Iraqi constitution. Many Iraqi leaders are calling
for a united Iraq (no division of land) and urging
constituents to maintain the unity of land without taking
into consideration national or personal interests. Yet it's
the Kurdish people who have been exposed to destruction and
harm by the former regime that ordered them to stop pushing
for their national rights in an effort to keep Iraq
integrated. The Kurds have been accused by some of parties
to be working toward dividing Iraq simply because they
insist on pushing their national demands.

"I can see that merely claiming to have Iraqi lands unified
is not enough to achieve that purpose, and that any step to
build a unified Iraq requires preparation. The Kurds should
understand that their rights are secure and it is better to
live in a small country that lacks the essential conditions
for a modern country than to live in a large prosperous
country. The best strategy for keeping a country intact is
to make people feel secure, safe, and stable without forcing
them to co-opt their identity or threatening to deport
them-this is the equation for democratic and peaceful
living.

"We can also see that countries that are unified under the
banner of the European Union are all self-governing and have
achieved unity in the form of federalism. When the leaders
of these countries see that the rights of their people are
guaranteed then there is no need to force people to live
inside a country's borders. That will not ensure a strong
country. With all due respect to those who call for the
Kurds to be `more Palestinian than Yasir Arafat' or `more
Catholic than the Pope' they should remember that principles
do not feed ideas nor do they feed bodies."

SATTERFIELD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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