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Cablegate: Prt Salah-Ad-Din: Sunni Tribal Sheiks Demonstrate

VZCZCXRO5682
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3674 3251238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201238Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0479
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003674

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PINS IZ
SUBJECT: PRT SALAH-AD-DIN: SUNNI TRIBAL SHEIKS DEMONSTRATE
IN SUPPORT OF SOFA

1. (U) This is a PRT Salah-ad-Din reporting cable. It is
sensitive but unclassified; protect accordingly. Not for
internet distribution.

SUMMARY
-------

2. (SBU) Sunni tribal sheikhs from across Salah-ad-Din (SaD)
province staged a peaceful demonstration in support of the
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on November 19 in downtown
Tikrit. The demonstration underscores the support of Sunni
leaders in SaD for a continued U.S. presence, which they view
as a guarantee of their security and political influence.
END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) On November 19, a variety of influential Sunni
tribal leaders from across Salah-ad-Din province staged a
peaceful demonstration in support of the SOFA. The
organizers of the protest included Sheikh Hamad Salim
Al-Jabouri (Tikrit Sons of Iraq (SOI) leader), Khaled Falayeh
As-Samarra'i (Samarra Sheikhs Council), and Sheikh Ahmad
Rajib Al-Duleimi (Awakening Chairman Tikrit). Sunni tribal
representatives from Sharqat, Balad, Al-Dawr Samarra, and
Bayji also participated in the demonstration.

4. (SBU) The demonstration march started at 0900 local time
at the Farmers Union Building in downtown Tikrit and
proceeded to the Governorate Building. According to PRT
contacts, approximately 500 people participated in the
demonstration. Protesters chanted slogans, such as "Na'am,
na'am itifakiya amniya" ("yes, yes for the security
agreement"). The protesters carried banners calling for the
quick approval of the agreement by the Council of
Representatives and affirming their support for Prime
Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's efforts to conclude the agreement
with the U.S.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The SaD Sunni tribal sheikhs view the U.S.
presence in Iraq as a guarantee of their security and
influence and support the SOFA for that reason. The prospect
of a premature U.S. withdrawal is of special concern for SOI
and other leaders who have supported CF. END COMMENT.
CROCKER

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