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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 004106

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 BAGHDAD
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQI GOVERNMENT, CONSTITUTION,
ELECTIONS, POLITICAL PARTIES, CORRUPTION; BAGHDAD

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution, Elections,
Political Parties and Corruption were the major editorial
themes of the daily newspapers on October 4, 2005. END
SUMMARY.

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

A. "What If We Said No to the Constitution?" (Al-Zaman,
10/4)
B. "The Referendum Represents a Difficult Equation" (Al-
Zaman, 10/3)
C. "Does Amr Musa Dare Visit Baghdad?" (Al-Bayyna, 10/4)
D. "Yes to the Constitution" (Al-Dawa, 10/4)
E. "Disagreements" (Al-Sabah, 10/4)
F. "Hooray to Amr Musa" (Al-Siyada, 10/4)
G. "Other Thieves" (Al-Dustoor, 10/4)
H. "Where Are the People Who Reject the Constitution
Headed?" (Al-Ittihad, 10/4)

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

A. "What If We Said No to the Constitution?"
(Al-Zaman, independent, anti coalition, published this page-
three editorial by Hadi Jalo Mar'ee)

[Editor's note: Until yesterday (10/3/05), Al-Zaman's
editorial position was staunchly anti-constitution]

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"Before October 15th, the groups that want to reject or
approve the constitution are working hard to mobilize more
supporters towards their positions; this can be described as
electoral advertising in preparation for the public
referendum.

"I think that it is very important for Iraqis to accept the
constitution not because it guarantees our future, but
because if the constitution is rejected the whole political
process will collapse and render useless the giant efforts
of the past two years and perpetuate instability. If this
constitution passes, there will be a permanent government
for at least four years and this government will be able to
launch a large campaign of reconstruction in Iraq.

"We do not want to go backwards and for this reason we have
to accept the current constitution. However, this does not
mean that those who call for rejecting the constitution have
illegitimate demands. It seems that they do not reject the
whole constitution but rather want to amend some of its
articles. As a result, their demand is legal even if other
groups disagree.

"The United Iraqi Alliance [Shi'a] totally refuses to strike
the deba'athification clause from the constitution but I
think this matter will be amended in the future because
there is no use for any group to insist on disagreement.
There must be compromises to reach solutions concerning
pending issues in the constitution or else, rejection will
destroy the whole process. As Iraqis, we want Iraq to be
united and developed and we are not pleased when our cities
are destroyed and our people are being killed. May God show
us the right way for the sake of our beloved country."

B. "The Referendum Represents a Difficult Equation"
(Al-Zaman, independent, anti coalition, published this page-
five editorial by Hadi Jalo Mar'ee)

"From 3 October 05 [Editor's Note: Due to a technical error
this translation (from 10/3) did not appear in yesterday's
Iraq Media Reaction Report. This editorial marks a dramatic
shift in Al-Zaman's position-now in support of the
constitution]

"The constitutional committee has completed the drafting of
the constitution and it has submitted the draft document to
the National Assembly after making some amendments. Those
amendments were made to satisfy other groups that
participate in the constitutional process. The United Iraqi
Alliance [Shi'a], the Kurdish coalition, and Sunni
representatives all had disputes over the issues of
federalism, the distribution of resources, the role of
religion as well as other secondary objections. However, it
seems that the draft constitution will be put to vote on
October 15th and on that day, the Iraqi people will have
their final say about approving or rejecting the
constitution.

"We know that there are many political groups trying to
influence people to approve the constitution. But, at the
same time there are other groups that have made their best
efforts to reject this constitution. Those who failed to
include their demands in the draft constitution have started
to mobilize people in Sunni areas in an attempt to reject
the constitution on referendum day. This is a difficult
mission to implement because most of cities that are likely
to reject the constitution suffer from instability and a
lack of security.

"In addition, citizens in those areas feel frustrated due to
the deterioration of the security situation and this may
affect their participation in the referendum. We can
hypothesize that voters in those areas would go to polling
centers in large numbers so that they could reject the
constitution--there are no real guarantees that we will have
enough voters to reject the constitution. Moreover, those
who want to reject the constitution could not make alliances
with other groups that oppose it. We have heard that the
Sadrists have announced that they will not work through
alliances but will depend on their own policy to study the
constitution's articles and will then make a decision and
recommendation.

"Hence, it seems that the attitude of those who want to
approve the constitution is stronger than those who want to
reject it. For this reason, we have to think deeply about
how to use wise methods to engage in dialogue and discuss
issues in order to reach an agreement concerning the
constitution."

C. "Does Amr Musa Dare Visit Baghdad?"
(Al-Bayyna, affiliated with the Hezbollah Movement in Iraq,
published this front-page unattributed editorial)

"All news reports say that the Secretary General of the Arab
League, Amr Musa, will visit Iraq soon. Some of these
reports indicate that Musa made suggestions that Iraqis
reconcile with Saddam loyalists and Ba'athists. Moreover,
reports have said that Musa wants the elected Iraqi
government to implement his orders. If those reports are
true, we want to ask the following questions: `Can a killer
who is well known for his hatred against Iraqis be our
guest? Is it acceptable for the butcher of the Arab League
to visit us while we know nothing about his agenda?'

"If Amr Musa came to apologize and begin a new relationship
with Iraq, we would welcome his visit because Iraqis are
accustomed to welcoming their guests and they do not reject
visitors. But, after the hospitability period ends we would
tell him to leave and let him know that it is our poor
people who will judge him-they are the ones who have learned
to not let their enemies escape without punishment.

"On the topic of reconciliation, the Iraqi people do not
want anyone to interfere in their affairs. We do not have
any conflict with the so-called Sunnis. In fact, our real
problem is with the killers and extremists. We consider
Sunnis to be honorable Iraqis and we do not think that
whoever loves Iraq (even if they had disagreements with us)
would call for killing Iraqis. In spite of our different
sects and nationalities we are all Iraqis and we are ready
to engage in dialogue with anyone, providing that the cursed
Arab League does not interfere."

D. "Yes to the Constitution"
(Al-Dawa, affiliated with the Al-Dawa Islamic Party in Iraq,
published this page-four editorial by Haneen Al-Wannan)

"Iraqis are waiting for referendum day-a day that represents
a new awakening for each Iraqi and represents progress
towards civilization, which we missed out on because of the
tyrant's regime. Iraqi civilization produced the first
constitution in the world, which is the Code of Hammurabi;
it was later that divine constitutions appeared to guide
humanity on the path toward goodness. When Islam was
revealed new regulations, for freedom and dignity for
humanity, were established for individuals in order to
create a just society.

"Islamic doctrines are still in effect today which is why
Islam is considered the main source of legislation in this
era.Iraq functioned under a temporary constitution during
the former regime, because it served the opportunist's
interests; people were unable to organize their political,
economic, and social life. People merely waited for rulers
to issue new regulations, which suited the rulers and no one
else.

"But today we are basking in the glory of a tremendous
national day, which witnesses the drafting of the
constitution by Iraqi hands (from all over the country).
This constitution is not temporary, but it is permanent.
Thus it cannot be changed according to rulers' (dictators)
desires. This constitution represents hope; therefore women
should step ahead of men in voting `yes' to this
constitution, just as they did in the last election."

E. "Disagreements"
(Al-Sabah, independent, pro-coalition, published this front-
page editorial by Mohammed Abdul-Jabbar)

"It is meaningless to deny the disagreement between the
President Al-Talabani and the PM Al-Ja'afari, because it is
well known by many people inside the ruling circle. Such
disagreements are typical in democratic regimes.
Disagreements among officials in democratic regimes are
allowed, but that's not the case in dictatorships because
the leader behaves as the only ruler, and all disagreements
with him are forbidden-discord could lead to detention or
assassination.

"The current Iraqi body is a coalition government that
includes a republican presidency, a national assembly, a
supreme judicial council, and a cabinet. Therefore, it isn't
expected that all parts of this government would be in
harmony and it is quite possible that disagreements would
surface around specific issues. Recently reports of
disagreements between Al-Ja'afari and Al-Talabani were made
public and several letters were reportedly sent to Al-
Ja'afari by the President and a few ministers who complained
that they received no response from PM Al-Ja'afari. It is
necessary that people know such things, because we are in a
democratic country now and people have the right to know
everything that happens in the ruling circle."

F. "Hooray to Amr Musa"
(Al-Siyada, independent, published this last-page editorial
by Abdul Karim Mahmud)

"Yesterday, the Arab League's Ministerial Committee on Iraq
decided to send the Secretary General of the Arab League,
Amr Musa, to Iraq to meet with Iraqi political groups and to
discuss convening a national reconciliation conference.

"We welcome this visit because Amr Musa is well known for
his attitudes toward Iraq and Iraqis. However, this visit
has come very late due to the negative Arab attitudes that
unfortunately, laid the ground for the occupation of Iraq.
Consequently, this has led to disasters and our people have
paid the price of this occupation. For the Iraqi people who
are concerned with their identity (Arabism) and national
unity, this visit is important. It is also important to
those who reject sectarianism and division.

"We say hooray to Amr Musa and hooray to Iraqi national
reconciliation that unites all Iraqis and will not
marginalize any sect or political group. In this way, we
will be able to give our people more chances to express
their opinions so that they may judge issues that will
determine the future of this country."

G. "Other Thieves"
(Al-Dustoor, independent, no bias, published this front-page
editorial by Bassem Al-Sheikh)

"At a time when some people view the constitutional
referendum as an opportunity to overcome a stage of the
political process in Iraq, others see it as an opportunity
for financial profit through exploiting funds allocated for
the referendum.

"While honest Iraqis struggle on a daily basis, other
individuals aim to rob Iraqis of funds meant to support
their participation in national duties, and this has
extended to the IECI (Independent Electoral Commission of
Iraq) itself after falling victim to the fraud of an
advertisement company during the previous elections when
around half a million dollars were embezzled with the
cooperation of officials within the commission, and today we
are witnessing the same scheme again. So will Iraqis
continue to be vulnerable to ongoing thefts?"

Headed?"
(Al-Ittihad, affiliated with the PUK, published this page-
five column by Hamza Shamkhi)

"After the fall of the dictatorship and Saddam's escape on
April 9, 2003, many parties, organizations and movements
that opposed Saddam's regime have appeared on the political
scene. Many of them worked to unify positions and coordinate
to convene a national conference and form a political mass
to lead the new Iraq through its sensitive stage.

"At the same time, other groups have appeared but they have
rejected all aims and efforts to consolidate new national
attitudes and provide alternative solutions to administer
the country (rather than the foreign forces) after the fall
of the former regime. These groups rejected the Governing
Council and everything that resulted from it. They also
rejected the Iraqi Transitional Government. Their rejection
continued after that and it included the previous election;
they disputed the former election's legitimacy and results
despite the fact that millions of Iraqis participated in
that election. Moreover, the rejection continued to include
the TNA (Transitional National Assembly) which was formed on
the basis of those elections. The permanent constitution
drafting process faced their rejection also and they have
called for a boycott or vote against the constitution in the
upcoming referendum. Now, they are preparing to reject the
upcoming Iraqi elections [in December] and refuse to
recognize the new National Assembly and Iraqi Government.

"Actually, the continued rejection by those groups without
providing alternate solutions is putting them in the
position of restricting the entire political process. This
means that they want to disrupt the political process
because there is no justification for boycotting and
rejecting any step towards the progress and independence of
Iraq. There are many points that Iraqi sects are in dispute
about--they need further discussion and negotiation to reach
real harmony. Foreign troops will not withdraw from Iraq
with such rejection but rather will leave the country if
there are no rejections of the political process. Therefore,
every sect should take its historic responsibility to face
internal and external danger in stead of rejection and
boycotting."

KHALILZAD

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