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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraqi Government, December 15th

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 004910

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, DECEMBER 15th
ELECTION, TRANSPARENCY, SADDAM HUSSEIN TRIAL; BAGHDAD

SUMMARY: The major theme in today's editorials was the
upcoming election.

Analysis: Independent As-Sabah published a front-page
editorial entitled "Technocrats" which dealt with how
technocrats have been marginalized in the current Iraqi
political process.

Independent As-Sabah Al-Jadeed published a front-page
editorial about Saddam's trial chronicling the criminal
history of Saddam and his followers.

At-Taakhi's front-page editorial, "Faili Kurds. An Endless
National Determination" addressed the history of the Faili
(Shi'a) Kurds in Iraq while another editorial on page three,
"List 730 is the Safe Resort" argued that the list will
carry all Iraqis toward progress and prosperity.

Ad-Dawa's page-five editorial, "About the Trial of the
Dictator" criticized the court for its weakness in a popular
Shi'a critique. "We understand that Saddam's crimes do not
require a trial and we reiterate that this court must be
harsher," the writer demanded.

Dar As-Salam, affiliated with Iraqi Islamic Party led by
Muhsin Abdul Hamid, published a page-two editorial calling
for Iraqi citizens to vote for list 618.

The Iraqi Business Community, a weekly, economic/vocational
paper issued by the Iraqi Businessmen's Union, published a
front-page editorial, "People's Goals Can Be Achieved Not
Only through Electoral Promises but through Tangible and
Practical Work," that, like other publications, displayed a
frustration with candidates' hollow promises. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Cut and Run to Victory" (Al-Basaer, 12/8)
B. "Slogans to Be Trampled" (Az-Zaman, 12/8)
C. "Destiny" (Al-Adala, 12/8)
D. "Electoral Campaigns" (Al-Fourat 12/8)
E. "The Coming Election and the Provision of Secure
Environments" (Az-Zaman, 12/8)

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

A. "Cut and Run to Victory"
(Al-Basaer - affiliated with the Muslim Scholars'
Association, anti-coalition, published this front-page
unattributed editorial)

"The recent statements by the American president Bush show
that his administration suffers from a deep crisis; it seems
that Bush has become very confused. His numerous statements
aim to flirt with American public opinion. However, we know
that the American people rejected the war against Iraq. In
addition, some Congressional members have demanded U.S.
forces withdraw from Iraq because losses are increasing.

"Bush, like any other tyrant, cannot admit defeat. He said
to his American opponents that `We will not leave Iraq
prematurely as long as I am president of the United States.'
He added, `America will not cut and run while I am the
Commander in Chief of the armed forces.' Bush seems to be
very arrogant while speaking about how impossible it is to
accomplish dreams. He is speaking about victory to boost the
weak morale of his soldiers in Iraq--recently, his soldiers
were defeated in their Operation Shank.

"Bush speaks about complete victory while he is discussing
the issue of withdrawal or escaping from Iraq. On one hand,
he says that he will not cut and run from Iraq while on the
other he contradicts himself when he says that his forces
will come back home. The most surprising thing is that the
request for withdrawal has come from the senior commander of
the American Army, General George Casey. He asked for a plan
that has multiple choices but all of those choices referred
to how to withdraw from Iraq at the beginning of next year.
In any case, the internal situation in the battle of Iraq
will determine the final word. All evidence indicates that
the American occupation forces are suffering from a complete
breakdown in morale and they are preparing to escape from
Iraq. Most Iraqis say that the real victory Bush speaks
about is that he wants to complete the long-term contracts
for Iraqi oil and not for the sake of military triumph."
B. "Slogans to Be Trampled"
(Az-Zaman - independent, published this back-page editorial
by Fatih Abdul Salam)
"All the electoral slogans of the political parties have
gone with the wind. So far, we have not seen any truthful
electoral slogans. Most of the faces are repeated and the
slogans copied--slogans that contain ridiculous and useless
compositions, though this does not mean that there are no
real honest candidates.

"Iraqi voters are more aware in this election and they will
not be deceived by false slogans like those of the former
election which revealed those who deceived voters with their
surreal slogans; when they were elected their bigotry and
sectarianism was clearly transparent.

"Some described the current cheap methods of the electoral
competition as proof of lack of awareness and behavior among
Iraqi politicians. I think we should stop this wrong
practice in a civilized way so that Iraqis can freely vote.
After the last election the Iraqi people witnessed many
slogans, which were trampled and tampered with. At this
point, sectarianism and nationalism have become the main
goal of the electoral slogans. But, after holding the
upcoming election will we see a new Iraqi leadership that
puts the country above all interests?"

C. "Destiny"
(Al-Adala - affiliated with SCIRI, led by Abdul Aziz Al-
Hakim, no bias, published this page-three editorial by Ali
Khalif)

"The decisive election is approaching and the Iraqi people
have only days to decide their future. Election day will
resolve all accomplishments that were achieved after the
downfall of the dictatorship. If the Iraqi people want to
preserve these accomplishments, they must make the best
choice when they head for the ballot boxes. They must choose
the one who sacrificed for them; they must elect the one who
has a real patriotic history.

"The Iraqi people must not chase statements that represent
the same ideologies of the deposed dictator. This dictator
and his followers are still calling for those philosophies
even though they are behind bars. The Iraqi people know for
sure that those who fought the dictatorship for decades are
still making sacrifices for the sake of the people. We must
preserve our accomplished achievements because the enemies
of Iraq want to destroy every Iraqi achievement.

"However, the Iraqi people who sacrificed in the past and
are still sacrificing will not accept anyone tampering with
their votes. The Iraqi people will decide their future and
they will choose their own men. The Iraqi political scene
indicates that the coming election will be decisive; the
people have two choices--either moving backwards and
destroying all achievements or progressing toward freedom,
equality, justice and an end to suffering."

D. "Electoral Campaigns"
(Al-Fourat - independent, anti-coalition, published this
page-two editorial by Majid Fadhel Az-Zaboon)

"The coming parliamentary election will be held within a few
days and the electoral campaigns of most of the political
parities are about finished. Those entities and parties
worked hard during the past weeks to present their political
and economic platforms presented through posters, ads and
flyers that were disseminated throughout Iraq. However, the
scientific and practical platforms are absent. All political
parties depended on slogans that play with citizens'
emotions and feelings rather than dealing with their minds.
This means that most of these platforms are not equal to the
national responsibility that must be adopted by political
parties.
"The future of Iraq cannot be summarized by bombastic words
or slogans. What happened in Iraq was so enormous that it
needs a lot of hard work and effort during the coming four
years in order to repair this country. The upcoming election
is an historic responsibility that everybody should
undertake because it is the most dangerous and important
stage in Iraq's history. We must study all the political and
economic platforms of the electoral lists and candidates. In
addition, we must realize that the current Iraqi problems
and crises can be solved only according to real and
scientific standards. Moreover, we must depend on
academicians and experts in order to reach a solution.

"Most of the electoral platforms suffer from superficiality
and this indicates that there is a big gap between citizens
and politicians. Therefore, such weak vision, which is made
by politicians, will create an imbalance between people's
demands and political parties' wishes. Perhaps, we can
justify this shortcoming by saying that this is the first
experiment--but, we cannot accept such an excuse in the
coming years."

E. "The Coming Election and the Provision of Secure
Environments"
(Az-Zaman - independent, anti-coalition, published this back-
page editorial by Fatih Abdul Salam)

"Parliamentary election will be held within a few days amid
significant challenges and difficult conditions. However,
the Iraqi people have made an epic journey when they voted
during the former election. This time, this election will
witness wider participation. Thus, the Ministry of Interior
must pay more attention to providing security for voters in
the upcoming election.

"Media outlets announced that the Ministry of Interior has
begun implementing a security plan for the coming election.
Intensive patrols have started and checkpoints have been
placed at the entries and exits of cities. Furthermore, the
Ministry of Interior has announced that crimes have
decreased by 70% and this news makes people psychologically
comfortable. This percentage may be correct if we are
speaking about the car bombs but there are other crimes that
are committed daily. On a daily basis, media outlets report
assassinations, kidnappings and killings against doctors,
security members and government employees.

"If those crimes continue, they will negatively affect the
electoral process. Perhaps, this will prevent people from
widely participating in the coming election. Therefore,
security forces must intensify their presence so that
citizens can feel that there is sovereignty and rule of law
in this country. In addition, we would like to reiterate
that those crimes must end quickly because voters cannot
head to the ballot boxes amid violence and disorder."

KHALILZAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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