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Cablegate: Basra Calm After Sofa Approval

VZCZCXRO3948
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3785 3371625
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021625Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0656
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003785

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR ASEC KISL IZ
SUBJECT: BASRA CALM AFTER SOFA APPROVAL

REF: BASRA 00088

1. (U) This is an REO Basra reporting cable.

-------
SUMMARY
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2. (SBU) Basra province remains calm after the approval of
SOFA by the Council of Representatives (CoR) on November 27.
Immediately after passage, the Iraqi Army 14th Division
Commander had placed his troops on high alert pending public
reaction to Friday prayers. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have
taken pre-emptive steps against possible SOFA-related
violence by carrying out major security operations over the
past month, resulting in hundreds of arrests. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) The day after the SOFA was approved by the CoR,
Iraqi Army 14th Division Commander Major General Abd al-Aziz
al-Dalmi reported to the REO that there had been no notable
violence in the province since the vote and that the Iraqi
Security Forces (ISF) had the situation well under control.
Echoing comments made by Basra Operations Commander (BOC)
Major General Mohammad Jawad Huwaydi (reftel), Aziz stated he
was confident that any violence would be kept to a minimum.
Aziz dismissed the possibility of large-scale violence,
adding that he had put all ISF on high alert and spread out
forces all over the province following an area assessment on
November 26.

4. (SBU) Aziz also expressed his satisfaction with recent IP
operations in Basra. Commenting on media reports that ISF
had arrested 96 insurgents on November 27, Aziz gave full
credit to the IP, explaining that the IA was not involved in
the operation.

-------
COMMENT
-------

5. (SBU) Respected by both the military and Basrawis, Aziz
is known for his active involvement at the tactical level. He
is often praised by BOC Commander Major General Mohammad and
can be given much of the credit for the current stability
enjoyed in Basra today. While future Friday prayers may
still incite some violence, it appears that ISF in Basra are
prepared to control it. END COMMENT.
CROCKER

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