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Cablegate: Basrah Regional Media Reaction: Iraqi Government,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 004516

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: BASRAH REGIONAL MEDIA REACTION: IRAQI GOVERNMENT,

REFERENDUM, SECTARIANISM, OIL SMUGGLING, SADDAM TRIAL,
SYRIA; BASRAH

SUMMARY: Discussion on the Referendum, Sectarianism, Oil
Smuggling, Saddam Trial and Syria, were the major editorial
themes of the daily Basrah regional newspapers from October
20 - November 4, 2005. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "No Loyalties Except to Iraq" (Al-Basrah, 10/29)
B. "Arabs, When Will Your Conscience Awaken?" (Al-Samawah,
10/25)
C. "Different Opinions about Oil Smuggling" (Al-Ashar,
10/26)
D. "Point of View: Referendum without Blood" (Al-Manarah,
10/26)
E. "The Last Line of Defense for the Syrian Regime" (Al-
Manarah, 10/26)
F. "Which Saddam Should Be on Trial?" (Al-Manarah, 10/26)
G. "Observations about the Referendum" (Al-Manarah, 10/26)

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

A. "No Loyalties Except to Iraq"
(Al-Basrah, published by the Basrah Governing Council,
printed this sixth-page editorial by columnist Jawad Al-
Saleem, on October 29)

"Above all, Iraqis always pledge loyalty to the Iraqi
nation. This loyalty comes from a lifetime of suffering and
sacrifice at the hands of vicious tyrants and their
governments. The Iraqis are loyal to their country and have
been working hard and to rebuild it ever since April 9th,
2003. We continue our efforts even though there is no
electricity, no consistent general services, and an
employment sector rife with nepotism."

B. "Arabs, When Will Your Conscience Awaken?"
(Al-Samawah (Muthanna), independent, published this third-
page editorial by columnist Najeh Mehdi Saba', on October
25)

"As before, other Arab nations are ignoring Iraqis'
suffering while assisting foreign countries suffering from
natural disasters. Their attitudes toward Iraq are as
shameful as Amr Musa's, the Secretary General of the Arab
League, who offered condolences to the Israelis after the
Sharm Al-Sheikh attack but did not say anything about the
Iraqis killed at Al-A'ema bridge in Baghdad. Qatar has
donated $100,000 to the infidel Americans, whom God has
punished with natural disasters."

C. "Different Opinions about Oil Smuggling"
(Al-Ashar (Basrah), Independent, published this front page
staff editorial on October 26)

"Authorities from the Oil Production Company said that oil
smuggling has become the main income for many people
involved in international trade with Iraq's neighbors. They
use special areas to hide their containers, some of which
are buried underground, and their activities are generally
carried out with the full knowledge of local authorities.
Smuggling is particularly heavy in Al-Sibah along the
Basrah/Dhi-Qar border. Drivers come in from Jordan and other
Arab countries and travel freely through the south, carrying
illegal oil from Iraqi petrol stations near the border for
resale. How are they able to enter and move throughout Iraq
without being challenged? It is because the security
authorities are part of the operation?"

D. "Point of View: Referendum without Blood"
(Al-Manarah (Basrah), independent, published this fourth-
page editorial by columnist - Najah Mohammed Ali, on October
26)

"Whatever our opinion about the fall of the Saddam regime
and the current government in Iraq elected last January, the
referendum of the constitution is a new beginning and will
assist in solving domestic problems that arose from non-
participation during the previous elections. The intensive
security situation that surrounded the referendum has become
the norm, and this high level of security promotes the
regulation of security issues and ultimately protects
Iraqis. We are thankful that the referendum was bloodless.

"Islamic parties encouraged people to vote for the
constitution, while a large number of people from Anbar and
Tikrit voted against it. This reflects the ability of Iraqis
to establish a democracy that allows everyone to participate
under one unified Iraqi authority, far away from American
meddling.

"Most Shi'a and Kurds voted to pass the constitution and
most Sunnis refused. Those who refused the constitution were
former Ba'athists, the followers of Saddam, and his
intelligence agents. Those Shi'a and Kurds who voted against
the constitution were the ones who are afraid of a political
process that allows change.

"Some people who are against the constitution want to return
to the old regime. It is strange that those who are against
the occupation are working with the occupiers and getting
support and funding from occupation forces. We hear
information about the Americans negotiating with those who
oppose the occupation in order to target civilians in
attacks.

"We oppose both the occupation and the former Saddam regime
and we refuse to participate in elections before we reach a
national compromise that does not allow criminals and
killers to get away with their crimes. Today's bloodless
referendum encourages us to invite everyone who supports
Iraqis to make a conference for dialogue and national
compromise to build a new Iraq for Iraqis."

E. "The Last Line of Defense for the Syrian Regime"
(Al-Manarah (Basrah), independent, published this front-page
editorial by Editor-in-Chief Khalaf Al Munshidi, on October
26)

"The months-long investigation showed, as expected, that
there are ties between Lebanese and Syrian intelligence, and
perhaps the intelligence agencies of other countries that
want Syria subjected to Security Council sanctions, similar
to what happened to the Saddam regime. The United States is
pulling the wool over the eyes of the world community by
requesting to condemn and sentence the Syrian regime, when
their real reasons have nothing to do with the Hariri
assassination."

F. "Which Saddam Should Be on Trial?"
(Al-Manarah (Basrah), Independent, published this front-page
editorial by Deputy Editor-in-Chief Moafaq Al-Refaie, on
October 26)

"What occurred to Iraq is terrible. Above all, Iraqis have
been traumatized both physically and mentally in an Iraq-
wide genocide. It would be better to put the "Saddam
phenomenon" on trial, not Saddam personally. This phenomenon
may be repeated if suitable conditions in Iraq are not
developed. Saddam has many friends in neighboring countries,
and they should be on trial too. Those who demonstrated in
Al-Dujail were not those who suffered from Saddam personally
but suffered from his dictatorship, and they will demand
that he be executed."

G. "Observations about the Referendum"
(Al Manarah (Basrah), Independent, published this page- five
staff editorial on October 26)

"The writing of the draft constitution did not obey
electoral norms. Writing the constitution draft was done too
hastily toward the end in an effort simply to satisfy the
deadlines imposed by the transitional government. People
voted for the constitution just to put an end to the
situation."

SATTERFIELD

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