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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 004962

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; BAGHDAD

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

Analysis: Quasi-independent As-Sabah published a front-page
editorial, "Elections" outlining the meaning and definition
of elections in civilized societies and the problems Iraq is
facing in dealing with electoral fraud. The editorial noted,
"it is not a shame to say that the current electoral battle
has witnessed unacceptable methods but we hope the coming
election will not witness the same infractions."

The independent Democratic Al-Wifaq published a front-page
editorial entitled "Iraq: Political Thievery and Banditry,"
criticizing the political carpetbaggers who have recently
invaded Iraq. They are characterized as "powers that are
loyal to the occupation. it seems that the groups that work
with the occupation have become desperate. The Iraqi people
are tired of those parties because they are old and our
people need new, young, patriotic political parties," the
editorialist argued.

Al-Mutamar's page-fifteen editorials dealt with the
election, democracy and the political process without
specific reference to any electoral list.

The KDP's At-Taakhi published a page-three editorial, "List
730 is the List of the Federal Iraqi Country" urging the
faithful to vote for the Kurdish list.

The PUK's Al-Ittihad's page-three editorial, "The Happiness
of Elections and the Happiness of Winning Represents Iraqi
Will" dealt with the ecstasy Iraqis felt as their soccer
team triumphed in the finals of the Asian championship and
how that victory coincided with preparations Iraqis are
making to participate in the coming election.

SCIRI's mouthpiece, Al-Adala's page-three editorial, "Worry"
predicted that the majority of people are loyal to the UIA's
list and will vote for it in the coming election.

Ad-Dawa's Al-Bayyan published its editorials on page five,
including one final appeal entitled: "In Order to Prevent
the Return of Tyranny Vote for the Faithful," imploring
people to vote for the Shi'a list 555. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "This Is How the Occupation and Government Prepare a
Positive Environment for the Elections" (Rayat Al-Arab,
12/12)
B. "12-15-05" (Az-Zaman, 12/12)
C. "Are You Going to Elect Them?" (Al-Khalaas, 12/12)
D. "Electoral Violence and Us" (Al-Fourat, 12/12)
E. "For Whom Are We Going to Vote?" (As-Sabah Al-Jadeed,
12/12)

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

A. "This Is How the Occupation and Government Prepare a
Positive Environment for the Elections"
(Rayat Al-Arab -- affiliated with the Arab Nationalist Trend
in Iraq, anti-coalition, published this front-page
unattributed editorial)

"Urban warfare, waged by the occupation and Iraqi government
forces, has continued. This war escalates as soon as the
country witnesses an important event such as the elections
or a referendum. We all know that governments work hard to
provide suitable environments for the elections but we have
a different procedure in Iraq.

"During the last election, the city of Fallujah was invaded
and this attack caused patriotic groups, and most Iraqis, to
boycott it. In addition, before the referendum, the cities
of Anbar, Tal Afar and Sadr City were attacked. Similarly
today, the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar and Salah ad-Din have
been invaded. Moreover, the government announced on
Wednesday that martial law was imposed in the provinces of
Anbar and Ninawa.

"The occupation and the Iraqi government must be responsible
for providing a suitable environment to make the political
process successful. They must work hard to ease the
situation and reduce tension. Furthermore, they should
release prisoners and detainees. They should also make
everybody feel that it is important to participate in the
political process. Arrests, raids and killing people mean
that the occupation and the government do not care about the
widespread participation of all Iraqi people. It seems that
there are specific groups that insist on preventing
important segments of Iraqis from participation in the
political process.

"We call on an immediate cessation of all military
operations. We also call for occupation forces to withdraw
from cities and villages. Additionally, all detainees in the
prisons of the occupation, Ministry of Interior and all
other secret and illegal prisons must be released. This will
ensure Iraqis that there will be an honest election.
Otherwise, the upcoming election will be a carbon copy of
the former election and the referendum where people's
willpower was forged and the process was a real farce."

B. "12-15-05"
(Az-Zaman - independent, published this page-three editorial
by Sa'ad Abbas)

"Regardless of which electoral list will win the election,
it is important for us that voters should win this election.
If voters win the election, this means that they chose the
best and most qualified candidates whose actions speak
louder than words or slogans. Perhaps, there are many
candidates we know as friends or relatives but this does not
mean they are qualified. For this reason, I call on voters
to elect candidates who deserve their votes.

"We must populate the next parliament with honest and
qualified figures. At the same time, we can make it a circus
that includes washouts and those who call for sectarianism
and extremism. I think we must elect candidates who care
about our present and future. We must choose the candidate
who believes in the principles of citizenship and rights of
citizens. The next four years must make us think twice
before we make our decision in the election. These four
years can be successful and safe or they can facilitate the
current corruption, fears and chaos. These four years will
not be good unless moderate, democratic and honest--and not
radical, tyrannical and corrupt politicians occupy seats in
the parliament.

"Iraq has become a desert and we have to elect those who can
restore its gardens and orchards. Disease and malnutrition
has spread in Iraq and for this reason, we must elect those
who can cure us and provide food for the people. Let us
elect those who are not afraid of terrorists, robbers or
racists. Electoral lists do not know who will really elect
them. However, the voters will decide who to vote for after
they stand before the ballot boxes. Then, voters will forget
about electoral ads and posters and they will remember one
important issue, which is to vote for candidates who deserve
their votes."

C. "Are You Going to Elect Them?"
(Al-Khalaas -- no bias, affiliated with National Salvation
Front led by Assem Ayyed Al-Jibouri, published this page-two
editorial by Samir Ghaleb)

"Some candidates have announced their electoral platforms
through press conferences or parties in palaces. These
parties coincide with dozens of Iraqi victims who are dying
on a daily basis through ugly violence. It seems that those
candidates do not care about what is happening in the
country. They did not tire themselves to leave their palaces
inside the Green Zone to look after our deprived people in
the streets.

"All we have seen is just words and slogans from those
candidates who are not able to achieve their promises and
the Iraqi people know this fact very well. Electoral slogans
and promises have not addressed how to end the current
bloodshed in Iraq. On the other hand, these slogans promised
people the removal of trash from cities and the capture of
robbers who robbed Iraq in the past. However, those slogans
do not speak about capturing the current robbers in Iraq.

"Amid these electoral promises and slogans, candidates only
care about how to absorb unemployment, defend the rights of
women and insist on deba'athification. It seems that most of
the candidates promise citizens they'll fight ethnic power
sharing, sectarianism, ensuring the unity of Iraq and
expelling the occupation from the country. But, the reality
shows that those candidates do not achieve their promises
whether they win or lose the election.

"Finally, we say to those candidates that statistics have
shown fifty Iraqis are killed daily. Whereas, those
candidates who aspire to gain a seat in the parliament do
not care about Iraqi blood and they do not work to stop this
bloodshed. If this bloodshed stopped, the trade of those
candidates would be lost. Therefore, every honest Iraqi must
think twice before giving their votes because they must
elect the best and most honest candidate."

D. "Electoral Violence and Us"
(Al-Fourat - independent, anti-coalition, published this
page-two editorial by Muhammad Mahdi Hussein)

"We as Iraqis should admit that we do enjoy democratic
traditions and we have not experienced real elections yet.
We used to have false elections where we would see 99. 99%
votes for one candidate or party. For this reason, our
political entities could not comprehend the meaning of the
electoral process, which calls for respecting other people's
opinions.

"Some of those political parties have started to liquidate
their political opponents. Other entities want to defame one
another. Moreover, we have started to see some groups rip
down electoral posters and pictures of other candidates. The
democratic experiment which Iraqis are trying to establish
today will cost much blood and effort. The electoral
violence represents wrong behavior that aims to destroy the
political process and rebuilding of Iraq.

"We would be happy if everybody called for the unity of the
country. One day, one of Napoleon's hired spies tried to
shake hands with him, but Napoleon refused to shake his hand
and offered him a sum of money instead, saying, `whoever
sells his country does not deserve handshaking.' Similarly,
whoever thinks that making relationships with other
countries at the expense of their country's interest must
understand that Iraqis will not be deceived any longer."

E. "For Whom Are We Going to Vote?"
(As-Sabah Al-Jadeed - independent, no bias, published this
page-four editorial by Hasaballah Yahia)

"Who are those who suddenly announced themselves as
candidates for the upcoming election? How could they dare to
present their platforms to us while they have no skills,
qualifications or [history of] struggle? How can we elect
someone we do not know anything about? We do not know if
those candidates are honest or qualified to undertake senior
governmental positions.

"In fact, we do not know how such candidates will be able to
serve people while they care only about their own interests.
However, today, we can choose freely the honest and
qualified candidate. We must not mistakenly follow false
electoral slogans. We must pay more attention to our
choices.

"We must choose the candidate who will be able to give,
build and love. We must elect the candidate who can achieve
dreams of living in the peace that we aspire. We must select
a prosperous and safe life and finally, we have to choose
the right way of life."

KHALILZAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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