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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 003888

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 20, 2005. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "What We Want and What They Want" (Al-Ittihad, 9/20)
B. "Amr Musa is a Member of the Constitutional Committee"
(Al-Mashriq, 9/20)
C. "Disgraceful Iranian Infiltrations" (Asharq al-Awsat,
9/20)
D. "Saleh Al-Mutlag and the Constitution" (Al-Sabah, 9/20)

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

A. "What We Want and What They Want"
(Al-Ittihad, affiliated with KDP led by Masood Al-Barazani,
published this page-four article by Muhammad Al-Badri)

"Terrorists kill innocent people under the cover of
religion; they also destroy infrastructure, intimidate
communities, and detonate car bombs in markets or explosive
belts amid people, under the pretext they will go to heaven.
It seems that they do not know that such deeds will
definitely condemn them to hell. They claim that they fight
the Americans to force them out of Iraq. However, these
attacks and explosions will prolong the Americans' tenure
here. I think that this is the main goal of terrorists in
Iraq because they secretly take their salaries from the
Americans while declaring publicly that they are against the
Americans.

"Those who want to rid the country of occupation must first
work officiously and sincerely to rebuild the country and
this must be done according to an objective and scientific
basis. They must struggle to restore security and stability
and they must work hard to reestablish and strengthen
security forces and other government offices. They must
draft a constitution that guarantees the rights of all
Iraqis so that citizens can feel as though they are equal
and will all defend the new Iraq.

"Those who want to expel the occupation from the country
must believe in democracy and the political process aside
from the language of rifles and car bombs. We must depend on
the language of dialogue, understanding, and fraternal,
constructive discussions. This will restore the humanity to
Iraqi citizens--humanity that was devastated over the past
thirty five years of the dictator's regime that resorted to
killings, mass graves and chemical weapons.

"Hence, if we want to live together peacefully we have to
sit at a round table to discuss the current Iraqi situation.
Those who call for violence and fighting, hate the new Iraq
and want to see this country destroyed through sectarian
war, contrary to the ambitions of the majority of Iraqis who
hope for a quiet, secure, and stable Iraq."

B. "Amr Musa is a Member of the Constitutional Committee"
(Al-Mashriq, independent, anti coalition, published this
front-page editorial by Dr. Hamid Abdullah)

"According to a Sunni member in the constitutional
committee, Sunnis haven't written even a character in the
constitution which was supposed to have been drafted through
accords rather than discord. Additionally, he said that
constitutional committee members absolutely refused the
inclusion of a phrase guaranteeing Iraq's unity and rejected
language replacing `a federal Iraq' with `a united Iraq.'

"This means that a federal Iraq is a country pasted together
with glue that can dissolve and vanish in the future. The
same Sunni member said that the amendment that stated Iraq
is a founding state in the Arab League was based on a
telephone call between an Iraqi official and Amr Musa the
Secretary General of Arab League. I do not think that the

SIPDIS
Iraqi people know that the National Assembly has appointed
Amr Musa to be a member on the constitutional committee,
though it did not grant him $ 50,000 like it did the other
members.

"We understand that members have been rewarded for their
tireless effort to draft the allegedly perfect constitution.
On the other hand, the Iraqi people are inquiring about what
would happen if the Arab League suspended Iraq's membership.
Iraq's membership in the Arab League is the only thing that
links Iraq with the Arab nation. Therefore, we want to know
which entity is older, the Arab League or Arabism and which
one was borne from the other? This story reminds us of the
chicken and the egg dilemma. But, at present, this tale is
not about philosophy. In fact, it is about the constitution
and Iraq's identity which many groups insist on rendering
obscure for some reason."
C. "Disgraceful Iranian Infiltrations"
(Asharq al-Awsat, independent, London-based, Saudi owned,
published this page eight editorial by Ahmad Al-Rub'ee)

"Our friends coming from Iraq's southern provinces speak
about disgraceful infiltrations from Iranian intelligence
and in coordination with some political parties that are
affiliated with Iran. There are strange stories that speak
about interference in the appointment of government
employees, the monitoring of political opponents and money
spent on specific groups and areas. However, there are many
brave Iraqi voices demanding an end to such intervention but
the Iraqi government's voice is still weak. The Iraqi
political parties that are loyal to Iran work silently to
reinforce the Iranian presence in Iraq.

"Moreover, there is an Arab silence over such intervention.
Iran is making use of the deteriorating security situation
in Baghdad to reinforce its political influence on religious
authorities in the south of Iraq. Iraq needs a large and
independent electoral alliance that encompasses Iraqis from
the entire political spectrum. This alliance must not call
for the same platforms that were used by the political and
religious-affiliated parties. These parties clearly proved
to be short-sighted and sectarian and were occupied by
internal conflicts.

"The coming Iraqi election will be a rare chance for all
good and peaceful groups in Iraq to establish a wide
national alliance that includes all non-sectarian and
independent groups that have no affiliations with any
regional powers, especially Iran. This alliance must present
a civil and humanitarian alternative for the Iraqi people,
to replace the current sectarian project that is based on
alliances with foreigners under the pretext of the country's
interest. Sectarian groups have proven that they are unable
to face reality and were busy with factional and political
affairs at the expense of national unity. It would be
disastrous for Iraq if an Iranian canton were established in
south of Iraq. We know for sure that such territory will
have no future. However, Iraq will pay heavily for the cost
of such a plot before it is able to thwart it-the Iraqi
people do not need more sacrifices."

D. "Saleh Al-Mutlag and the Constitution"
(Al-Sabah, independent, published this page-two editorial by
Sa'eed Abdul Hadi)

"Yesterday, media outlets published a statement by the Sunni
constitutional committee member Saleh Al-Mutlag that said he
would collect five million signatures to reject the
constitution. He said also that he would form and lead a
national front centred on a slogan rejecting the
constitution. We think that he has the right to say that but
he also went on to say that the upcoming referendum will not
be fair. We are sure that this statement is wrong because
honesty is born out of the referendum. We know that there
are many organizations that have been invited to monitor the
coming referendum and we heard that he insisted the
international community intervene.
"But, are those organizations different from the ones he
requested? I think that doubting the integrity of the
referendum and insisting on the presence of foreign monitors
represents a fear of failure.What we want to clarify is that
gathering five million signatures is a tough mission because
the Kurdish parliament announced its unanimous support for
the draft constitution and the Shiites said publicly they
approve it. At the same time, secular groups have not
announced they will reject it. But, what will happen if he
really succeeds in collecting five million signatures and is
able to reject the constitution?
"Who will guarantee that the Kurds and the Shi'a will not
have extremist ideas in their upcoming discussions? Then,
how can Saleh Al-Mutlag gather his five million
supporters... I would like to finish my take on Mr. Mutlag
with one essential question: We all know that he is a
prominent figure who represents the Sunnis but why hasn't he
gathered those signatures to condemn terrorism in Iraq? Why
doesn't he have a clear stance against the hotspots that
morphed into factories of death? If we hear Saleh Al-Mutlag
declare these statements then we will announce that he is
working for the sake of Iraq's unity and to have a fair
constitution that safeguards this unity and for this reason
we would support him.
"It is contradictory for him to remain silent and watch all
this terrorist activity unleashed against our people at the
same time he calls for a constitution to protect Iraq's
unity. Iraq cannot be united by the constitution but it can
be unified through the respect of Iraqi blood, which Al-
Mutlag attempts to ignore. We are not suspect of Al-Mutlag's
patriotism but we hope to hear him defend the Iraqi nation
rather than defending his own land. We are looking for
someone to save us from the current onslaught of terror and
it is not the time to speak about the country. The country
has no sanctity if its people are desecrated."

SATTERFIELD

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