Cablegate: The New Anti-Dawa Coalition - Much Ado About Nothing

DE RUEHIHL #0047/01 2281344
R 161344Z AUG 09



E.O. 12958: N/A


HILLAH 00000047 001.2 OF 002

1. (U) This is a PRT Babil cable.



2. (SBU) Summary: On August 9 Iraqi press reported the
formation of a new, 18 PC member coalition, the Babil National
Coalition (reftel). The coalition reportedly formed in
opposition to the ruling DAWA coalition. Press reports and
sources from a variety of parties disagree on the membership of
the coalition, citing numbers ranging from 16 to 19 members, and
the strength of the coalition and its purpose remain unclear.
Although under Law 21 it only takes 16 votes to remove the
Governor, at this time the new coalition appears to lack both
the vision and the will to do much of anything. End summary.

Governor Al-Zargany Is Not Worried


3. (U) Babil Media reported this week that the National
Reform Trend (Dr. Ja'afary) has joined the new anti-DAWA
coalition on the PC (Babil National Coalition), increasing
coalition membership to 19. Reportedly the Babil National
Coalition confirmed that they believe the performance of the
Governorate and Provincial Council is unsatisfactory. Babil
Governor Mr. Salman Al-Zargany (independent, affiliated with the
DAWA coalition) reportedly responded to the new coalition that
there was room for more than one political view in the new
democratic Iraq. He echoed this view in his comments to PRT
Leader over lunch on August 11: "from my perspective, I do not
think the new coalition will change a lot on the political map,
if so and they would like to change the governor; I will work in
any governmental department and would be happy to help."

Sheikh Shanan Offers DAWA Concessions


4. (SBU) On August 10, the day following the announcement of
the formation of the Babil National Coalition, Sheikh Ali
Shanan, a tribal leader from Kifl who is close to Babil DAWA
chief Abu Ahmed Al-Basri, called on the PRT to seek USG support
for what he implied was Abu Ahmed's proposed plan to resolve the
tension between Governor Al-Zargany and Deputy Governor Iskander
Witwit, the leader of the new coalition. Shanan said that DAWA
knew they had wronged Witwit by limiting his authority, and that
DAWA was willing to offer the Deputy Governor more
responsibilities to resolve the matter. PRT leader mentioned
that the PRT would be meeting with Witwit later in the week, and
Shanan attempted to enlist PRT Leader as a midwife for his
solution, suggesting that he encourage Witwit to call on the
governor and hint that DAWA was willing to offer the Deputy
Governor more power.

Coalition Without a Mission


5. (SBU) On August 13, Deputy Governor Witwit met with the
PRT. Wiwit was critical of the Governor and the PC Chair Kadhum
Majeed Tuman, saying that he and other members of his coalition
had documents proving mistakes both had made while in office.
He indicated for example that the Governor had sent someone else
to a meeting that the Deputy Governor should have attended, and
that the PC Chair had abused his position to give jobs to a
number of unqualified Sadrists with unsavory connections.
Witwit alleged that two Shi'a clerics are the masterminds behind
the Governor's actions - Sayyid Rasool Al- Mousawi and Sayyid
Hasan Tuhmazi - implying that these two are getting their
instructions from Iran but providing no further information.
The Deputy Governor remarked that he had recently met with the
Governor and had been given greater responsibilities addressing
some of his complaints. When pressed, Witwit was unable to
articulate what additional actions he wanted the Governor and
the PC Chair to take to resolve the problems he raised, or to

HILLAH 00000047 002.2 OF 002

describe the desired end state that would satisfy his concerns.
He asserted that the Coalition did not have replacement
candidates in mind for these two officials, which seemed odd
given that Witwit was formerly Governor of Babil and lost that
job to Al-Zargany in the provincial elections. The Deputy
Governor said that a number of the members of the new collation
were currently travelling, and that upon their return the
members would have a meeting to share their concerns about the
current officials and discuss how they wanted to proceed.

Source Close to Sadrists Acknowledges DAWA Mistakes

--------------------------------------------- ------

6. (SBU) Also on August 13, PRT LES met with Murtada Kammil,
a former PC member (independent but close to the Sadrists, the
PCC and DAWA PC member Dr. Ne'amah Jassim Hamzah Al-Bekry).
Kammil had just returned from Iran, and had not yet heard about
the new coalition. He confirmed the tension between the
Governor and Deputy Governor, and said that he had expected this
and had warned DAWA that this might happen because DAWA policy
was marginalizing members of their own coalition.

Comment - Just a Paper "Dawsha"


7. (SBU) Comment: The spike in concern about the new
coalition appears to be only so much folderol. In conversations
with the leadership of the coalition we determined that there is
really no intent to change either the PCC or the governor nor is
there any clearly defined end state. This, in essence, is a
paper "dawsha" - lots of posturing and breast beating brought
about by bruised egos and displaced senses of entitlement,
signifying little.

© Scoop Media

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