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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 004452

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,

REFERENDUM, NATIONAL RECONCILATION; BAGHDAD

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution, Referendum, and
National Reconciliation were the major editorial themes of
the daily newspapers on October 30, 2005. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Message #2 to Mr. Saleh Al-Mutlag" (Al-Ittihad, 10/30)
B. "21.41%" (As-Sabah, 10/30)
C. "This Morning" (As-Sabah Al-Jadeed, 10/30)
D. "The Power of the United Iraqi Alliance" (Al-Adala,
10/30)
E. "Our Constitution and Proven Facts" (Al-Bayyan, 10/30)

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

A. "Message #2 to Mr. Saleh Al-Mutlag"
(Al-Ittihad - affiliated with PUK, led by Jalal Talabani,
pro-coalition, published this page-four editorial by Abdul
Munim Al-Assam)

"Objectivity obliges me to bless your participation in the
political process; this is the correct way to rebuild our
new Iraq. However, the neutral observer is confused
regarding your attitude towards terrorism since the main
goal of the political process is to defeat terrorism. We
wonder what the real reason is for the daily killing of
innocent civilians, assassinations of Iraqi officials and
employees, blasting of oil pipelines, sowing sedition among
Iraqis, attacking electricity towers and water lines all at
a time when Iraqis need to be reconciling with one another.
Many observers are suspicious about your specific comments
regarding daily violence in Iraq, especially your exemptions
of violence towards the actions of the Al-Zarqawi terrorist
group and former Ba'athists who are responsible for violent
activities in Iraq.

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"Nonetheless, at times I have tried to find excuses for your
political position-that you're trying to represent your
constituents at a sensitive time. However, I have noted that
you have permitted and excused terrorist actions and killing
through different statements.

"I cannot discern the features of the political group you
are representing-you said that you don't represent: Sunnis,
Saddam and his regime, the Western provinces or other
contentious areas, objectors or other marginalized
parties-so it seems that you are monopolizing Iraqi
nationality and that you represent the group which deserves
to control the country through war or peace.

"We are even more confused about the political platform you
are committed to when you reject Kurdish federalism and the
deterrence of terrorism-you reject almost everything. A
member in the constitutional committee said that he wonders
what Saleh Al-Mutlag wants in the draft constitution and
described you as a big `No' that has been amended to the
list of articles in the draft constitution.

"We should not expand our disputes regarding what is right
and wrong in the complicated Iraqi political process and we
should let reality judge the situation. Some politicians
claim the right to proselytize while the rest of us are
relegated to listening. Perhaps Mr. Saleh Al-Mutlag does not
support political change in Iraq since he ignores violent
actions against innocent people in Iraq."

B. "21.41%"
(As-Sabah - Iraqi Media Network, pro-coalition, published
this front-page editorial by Mohammad Abdul Jabbar)

"This is the percentage of those who voted `No' to the
constitution, which is not an insignificant number. The
constitution is a document for state-building, not a simple
majority-rules precept for the political process. With that
logic we can say the constitution is not solely a majority
constitution, but rather it is the constitution for all
Iraqis and for the Iraqi state which means that everyone
should be committed to it and work according to its rules.
Let us assume that the next government is formed by those
who voted `No'--does that mean they have the right to
violate the constitution? The answer is no, because the
constitution is the supreme law in the Iraqi state and the
roadmap for Iraqis whether they voted yes or no, whether
they are in the government or in the opposition.

"The constitution is legal and the decision of the majority
is respected, but for the safety of the political process we
need to devote much thinking to this percentage-not merely
to convince those who are represented by the percentage, or
to change the minds of others but instead to ensure their
participation in the political process. Therefore, we need
to establish a bridge of trust between those [who rejected
the constitution] and the majority who approved the
constitution. It is necessary for those who rejected the
constitution to have representation in the coming
parliament; they can seek amendments to the constitution--
from inside the parliament.

"Our political process is flexible and can be developed,
which is a good thing in our country, therefore we should
expect that new amendments to the constitution will grant
new guarantees to those who rejected it in the referendum.
The guarantees will enhance trust among the two factions so
rejecters can join the new government. A lot of effort is
needed in order to get everyone to understand that the
constitution is for all, without exception and for the
interest of our country."

C. "This Morning"
(As-Sabah Al-Jadeed - independent, no bias, published this
front-page editorial by Ismail Zayyer)

"We agree with those who did not participate in the former
election, that Iraq must be united and strong. We also agree
that it is necessary to give those who did not participate
in the former election a chance to have a role in the future
of Iraq. If they participate in the upcoming election they
will be able to amend the constitution.

"However, I would like to tell those who wept for Iraq's
Arabism, on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya channels, that they
should have looked at the social, economic and ethical
points in the Iraqi constitution rather than focusing on the
identity of Iraq. I challenge anyone to find a shortage or a
weak point in the Iraqi constitution concerning legislation
on: health, social security and education.

"On the other hand, we must not be soft on the
constitutional committee and declare that this committee has
not committed any infringements. There are millions of
Iraqis who voted `yes' to the constitution because they
wanted to revive hope for a better Iraq. At the same time,
we cannot blame those who voted against the constitution.
But, the most important thing is that we must not let our
people again encounter the frustrations and obstructions
that accompanied the constitutional process. We have to
prepare for the coming period and the one following the
election in order to avoid a waste of time. The Iraqi people
do not deserve such a waste."

D. "The Power of the United Iraqi Alliance"
(Al-Adala - affiliated with SCIRI, led by Abdul Aziz Al-
Hakim, no bias, published this page-three editorial by Ali
Khalif)

"The current Iraqi government has achieved many
accomplishments if we compare them to the age of the
government. Those accomplishments were implemented in spite
of our enemies who have persistently tried to focus on the
negative elements of this government. When we speak about
the current government's accomplishments we mean the United
Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and its accomplishments on security,
the success of the referendum and some economic issues.

"The name of the UIA has been associated with blessings from
the religious authority in the holy city of Najaf. For this
reason, it has a wide popularity and it will present a
platform for the upcoming election that will complement the
current one.

"Iraqi citizens must have real representatives who can
satisfy the public's anticipations and demands. As everyone
knows, the UIA includes prominent figures in Iraq and has
the resolve to guarantee and achieve its people's wishes.
Naturally, the Iraqi soul sympathizes with any soul that has
suffered from tyranny. For this reason, we feel astonished
when we see some politicians and political parties try to
forget about massacres perpetrated by the former regime and
its remnants.

"We feel surprised when we see some of these political
parties attempt to influence the Iraqi people by waging a
campaign against the current government. They try to tell
citizens that they made a big mistake when they elected the
UIA's list during January's election. This group says that
the current government did not achieve anything for its
people because there is still a lack of essential services.

"In fact, the Iraqi people have instinctive love toward the
UIA's opinions and they are aware that terrorism will fight
this government. The spirit of the religious authority's
thoughts is present in the UIA whether or not the religious
authority supported it. Honestly, Iraqi citizens obviously
know which list the religious authority will support.
Anyway, the UIA will strongly participate in the upcoming
election especially since the Sadr Trend has joined this
alliance--and we are sure the UIA will win the election."

E. "Our Constitution and Proven Facts"
(Al-Bayyan - affiliated with Ad-Dawa (led by Al-Ja'fari), no
bias, published this back-page column by Karim Al-Baydhani)

"The disharmonious notes are still sounding off about the
constitution-which was passed by 79% of the Iraqi people in
a uniquely democratic process.
We heard recently that there are some groups trying to
provoke people in order to reject the constitution, since
its passage, by saying that this constitution is
illegitimate, null and void and created by the occupation.

"In fact, the occupation has nothing to do with this process
because the occupation's withdrawal will not change, add or
reduce anything. The 79% approval rate will remain the same
whether or not the Americans leave Iraq. The constitution
will endure even though it was changed, because this is the
destiny of the new Iraq.

"Our efforts to draft a constitution will not be changed and
those who draft it would redraft it again as long as there
is a majority. Moreover, the permanent constitution
represents company with the most developed democracies in
the modern world. I am sure that those who are still
supporting dictatorship will lose in the end. The winds of
democracy will devastate them and this new country will be
established according to democratic standards rather than
sects, ethnicities and nationalities."

SATTERFIELD

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