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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 02 BAGHDAD 005150

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 themes in today's editorials were the
political discussions and conflicts surrounding
parliamentary elections, the formation of the next
government, and the Kurdish initiative to bring together
political groups.

In its front-page editorial entitled "Dukan Resort and the
Way to Reach a Solution," PUK affiliated Al-Ittihad
discusses the Kurdish initiative to gather key political
leaders to reach an agreement on forming the next
government. The SCIRI-affiliated Al-Adala discusses Abdul
Aziz Al-Hakim's visit to Kurdistan to meet Kurdish leaders
in its third-page editorial entitled "Preserving
Accomplishments"; the editorial emphasizes the importance of
reaching national consensus to form the new government. The
first-page editorial of quasi-independent As-Sabah
spotlights the dearth of funding for public services in
Baghdad. END SUMMARY.

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

A. "Beware of Slipping into the Abyss" (Al-Basaer, 12/28)
B. "Kurdish-American Relations" (At-Taakhi, 12/28)
C. "Can the Kurdistan that Dreams of Separating from Iraq
Unite the Country?" (Al-Bayyna Al-Jadeedah, 12/28)
D. "Is It a Deal?" (Al-Fourat, 12/28)
E. "White Elections and Red Violations" (Al-Mashriq, 12/28)
F. "This Morning" (As-Sabah Al-Jadeed, 12/28)

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

A. "Beware of Slipping into the Abyss"
(Al-Basaer, affiliated with Association of Muslim Scholars,
published a front-page unattributed editorial about the
electoral process, violations, and demonstrations throughout
the country. The editorial reads in part)

"We were not surprised about the fraud in the elections
because we have already said that any election held under
the occupation would not be honest, and it would not solve
Iraq's problems. There are demonstrations in many cities
supporting the elections. At the same time, we saw rallies
rejecting this election. The Americans bless both of these
demonstrations. We warn the Iraqi people of slipping into
the abyss because the occupier wants to establish
sectarianism and racism in Iraq through the current
political process."

B. "Kurdish-American Relations"
(At-Taakhi, affiliated with the KDP, published a front-page
editorial by editor in chief Dr. Badr Khan Al-Sindi about
American relations with the Kurds. The editorial reads in
part)

"There have been many plots developed against the Kurds
through their history. Recently, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad's statements during his press conference in
Kurdistan concerning the Kurds and the Algeria Agreement
made the Kurdish community happy. He regarded the agreement
as a negative point in American-Kurdish relations. He also
said that the U.S. supports the federal system that is
ratified in the Iraqi constitution. This makes the Kurds
confident; they believe that there will be no more plots
against them in the future."

C. "Can the Kurdistan that Dreams of Separating from Iraq
Unite the Country?"
(Al-Bayyna Al-Jadeedah, affiliated with the Shiite Political
Council, published a front-page unattributed editorial about
the Kurdish initiative to unify quarreling political groups.
The editorial reads in part)

"Will Kurdistan be the path for uniting Iraqi
politicians-this place that always dreamt of separating from
Iraq? I think this question represents a dream for Iraqis
who suffered from terrorism and the absence of government.
We believe that there is no use in dividing the country or
continuing the violence. If we continue distributing the
government's positions according to sectarian and ethnic
bases, Iraq will be similar to Lebanon. We hope that all
winners and losers in the election understand that the
language of violence and fighting is useless. Only dialogue
will be able to solve our problems. Politicians should take
away a good lesson from Saddam, who was toppled, who was
found in a rat's hole, and whose socialism and nationalism
are gone for ever."

D. "Is It a Deal?"
(Al-Fourat, independent, published a back-page editorial by
Dawood Al-Farhan about the establishment of the next
government. The editorial reads in part)

"We heard that there is a speech about a deal to form a
`national unity government' in light of the parliamentary
elections and the accusations of ballot-rigging. I think the
next parliament should discuss and solve the crisis of
forming the government. If the coming parliament is not
formed according to honest and fair bases, the new
government will find itself controlled by the conditions of
political deals. The current government was established
according to these deals, and for this reason it failed to
accomplish people's demands and [live up to their]
expectations. The current discussions on forming a 'national
salvation government' will not solve the main problem
because the main problem lacks a solution that satisfies all
parts."

E. "White Elections and Red Violations"
(Al-Mashriq, independent, published a front-page editorial
by Hamid Abdullah about the parliamentary elections and the
violations that occurred during elections. The editorial
reads in part)

"The IECI has divided election violations into red, white,
yellow, and purple. However, the IECI regards only the red
violations as the most important, which deserve studying and
checking. In fact, the IECI was surprised to see the senior
government's officers violate the period of silence that
preceded the election. Those officials addressed people,
saying that Iraqis should go on 'Jihad' by heading for the
ballot boxes. Those speeches and statements were
advertisements for specific electoral lists. Some political
parties believe that elections that are held under violence
and car bombings can be free and public. I would like those
political parties to wake up if they were asleep."

F. "This Morning"
(As-Sabah Al-Jadeed, independent, published a front-page
editorial by editor in chief Ismael Zayyer about the
expected meeting of Iraqi politicians in Kurdistan to solve
the current political crisis. The editorial reads in part)

"Today, leaders of the political parties will meet in
Kurdistan to prepare for the establishment of the next
permanent government. All Iraqis are looking forward to the
results of this very important meeting because it will
decide the future of the next government. The Iraqi
community considers this meeting an important step toward
solving all problems in the country. Iraqis are looking
forward to seeing their dreams come true."

KHALILZAD

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