|Wikileaks:||View 05BAGHDAD2906 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PREL PGOV PINR IZ Parliament|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 002906 SIPDIS NOFORN E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2025 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, IZ, Parliament SUBJECT: GARDEN CHATS WITH PAPA JA'FARI AND CREW Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford. Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 1. (S/NF) SUMMARY. Prime Minister Ja'fari unexpectedly sat in on an informal meeting between departing PolOff and one of Ja'fari's aides on July 7. Revealing insights into his own worldview, Ja'fari provided lengthy "love-life" counseling and advice while also sharing details about his own family. On the constitution, Ja'fari said he preferred a presidential system; he complained that in the current structure there are too many ways to block the executive power's ability to make decisions. He doubted the constitution committee would accept a presidential system and instead establish a parliamentary system with more checks and balances. He also stated a preference for a Swiss model of federalism. He commented that Kurds pretend to be victims while acting like victimizers--always asking and pushing for more. The PM's advisors said Ja'fari misses being "social" and prefer not to discuss work over meals or in the evenings. Ja'fari's advisor complained about the continuing disorganization of the PM's office and the state of the Da'wa party. They describe a Da'wa party without strong, effective leaders, grassroots support, and funding. It must reform or be irrelevant, said one advisor who hopes Da'wa will remain on a ticket with SCIRI in the next elections. END SUMMARY. 2. (S/NF) Departing PolOff received unexpected counseling and advice from Prime Minister Ibrahim al- Ja'fari who dropped in on PolOff's July 7 late evening meeting with PM advisor Bashar al-Nahar. PolOff and Nahar were meeting in the PM residence's garden, replete with a new volleyball net (Ja'fari told us he joins in the games; his advisors say he is quite athletic.) and the newly arrived geese in the fetid- looking pond surrounding the house. PM Ja'fari was still in his suit, but in a relaxed mood. (We now rarely see the PM without a suit and tie as opposed to his former customary dishdasha.) --------------------------------------------- ---- "Papa" Ja'fari's Marital Advice: Look for "Moral Beauty" --------------------------------------------- ---- 3. (S/NF) Knowing PolOff was departing soon, Ja'fari asked her about next steps and then began to dispense marital advice. Ja'fari delivered a lengthy lecture on the importance of family, which he stressed is the cornerstone of Iraqi society. Choosing a marital partner is not like choosing a career or moving locations. It is imperative to choose carefully because making a mistake in one's choice of a marriage partner negatively impacts women more than men. (Note: Another advisor later told PolOff one of Ja'fari's daughters had been married only a short time and then divorced. This may explain the importance he placed on wise marital decisions. End Note.) 4. (S/NF) Ja'fari emphasized the planning involved in finding the right person with the right values and qualities and urged PolOff to begin this preparation since she was at the age at which she should get married. He said PolOff was the same age as Ja'fari's eldest son and his daughters who were younger were all married. Shared values are the most important ingredient, continued Ja'fari. "Physical beauty will decline but if there is "moral beauty" in the person, then they grow more and more beautiful to you over the years", noted Ja'fari. Ja'fari said he met his wife while they were in medical school in 1975; they were both 24 years old. He fell in love with her instantly and they get closer and closer each year, Ja'fari said. (Note: One of Ja'fari's advisors said his wife is a very strong woman and very much in charge of the household. End Note.) --------------------------------------------- --------- PM Stresses Women's Ability to Choose, Defends Islamic Identity --------------------------------------------- --------- 5. (S/NF) Ja'fari said the general love and compassion he feels towards people was from his mother, who taught him to love the good in each person no matter how much bad there is. His mother would always point out the positive elements about each person she met. PolOff took the opportunity to raise the broader topic of women's issues, including accounts NGOs have brought up of the PM's office seeking to make women under 40 obtain permission of a male relative to travel. Ja'fari looked slightly pained and said, "Don't believe all of the things you hear. What you have heard me say to you is what I truly believe and act upon. For religion and women's issues, there must be choice." Ja'fari said his three daughters and wife all wear the hijab because they choose to, not because he forces them. However, Ja'fari also said that it would was important to respect the "Islamic identity" of Iraq and very difficult to remove, for example, the clause in the current TAL that "no law can contradict Islamic principles". ------------------------ Constitution Preferences ------------------------ 6. (S/NF) On the constitution, Ja'fari said he prefers a presidential rather than parliamentary system because it is more effective. All the government would be "of the same mind" in a presidential system. Ja'fari complained that in the current structure there are too many ways to block the executive power's ability to make decisions. However, Ja'fari said he did not believe the constitutional committee would accept a presidential system because parties will insist on balancing power and on having a greater number of positions for all the various factions in Iraq. On the topic of federalism, Ja'fari said he prefers the Swiss model of "geographic federalism". Finally, Ja'fari complained about the Kurds, as victims acting like victimizers--always asking and pushing for more. ----------------------------- PM's Office Still in Disarray ----------------------------- 7. (S/NF) In a separate conversation with former Chief of Staff Adnan Ali al-Kadhimy July 8, Kadhimy told PolOff he had heard from Ja'fari of his counseling and advice to PolOff and smiled at Ja'fari's nostalgia at playing the fatherly role. Kadhimy then proceeded to tell PolOff "off the record" of the problems in the PM's office and how he had distanced himself from them when he saw that it was clear Ja'fari would fail. Kadhimy noted he had developed a plan of how to organize the PM's office to be a team--the most important characteristic in his view for the success of the government. Kadhimy had hired Laith Kubba and Emad Diya, which required convincing a reluctant Ja'fari who did not know them well. Kadhimy had planned to hire about 15 more advisors as capable as Kubba and Diya. 8. (S/NF) Kadhimy said he had told Ja'fari the PM's role is strategic and visionary; he should be able to come in to a clean desk in the morning and let his staff handle the details. Kadhimy said Ja'fari just was not comfortable with that arrangement and takes every decision seriously because he knows it will reflect on him if it fails. Ja'fari instead surrounded himself with loyal, highly moral people and long-time Da'wa members who have never managed and who know little about organization or generating results. Kadhimy mentioned that July 7 he had been in the PM's office and a senior advisor was signing a stack of files that he could have assigned to an administrative assistant. PM advisor Nahar separately complained to PolOff July 7 of the hopeless disorganization of the PM office and his desire to get various consulting companies to help them operate better. Nahar said the British Adam Smith consultants did not provide the practical assistance the office needed. ------------------------------- Diminishing Power Base of Da'wa ------------------------------- 9. (S/NF) "Da'wa is in trouble", observed Kadhimy, and must reform in order to stay relevant. The party is becoming out of date with the "old guard" leadership who lacks energy and organization. The party elders, such as Ja'fari, Ali Adeeb and Jawad al- Maliki are more suited for writing treatises than running a party, he complained. Da'wa also lacks the grassroots support and the funding of SCIRI. Kadhimy said he would prefer Da'wa run on a joint ticket with SCIRI in the next elections to not only benefit from SCIRI's ground support but also to dilute the Iranian influence in the government. Da'wa could keep better tabs on SCIRI's activities and power if it were in a coalition with them. Kadhimy opined that going it alone would hurt Da'wa such that it could drop to third or fourth of the major parties. 10. (S/NF) Despite the party's quandaries, Kadhimy said he would never leave Da'wa and knows that because of its long history, many other Iraqis feel the same. Da'wa also has the advantage of a defined ideology and political writings. SCIRI, on the other hand, could dissolve at any time; there is no one keeping the various entities within the council together. Kadhimy confided that Vice President 'Adil 'Abd al Mehdi had approached him to join SCIRI but he declined, saying any alliance must await Da'wa party approval and that he would not break with the party. (Comment: SCIRI bested Da'wa in nearly every provincial council contest in the January 2003 elections. Kadhimy said he believed 'Abd al Mehdi would be Iraq's next prime minister. End Comment.) Kadhimy said he had met with Ali Adeeb and Jawad al-Maliki, who are frustrated with Ja'fari and blame him for many of the problems Da'wa is facing. However, they both acknowledge their fate is tied to Ja'fari's within the Da'wa party, and they must face the party's predicament together. 11. (S/NF) Comment: While Kadhimy was criticizing the disorganization in the PM's office, Ja'fari aide Bachar Nahar was lecturing PolCouns July 9 on Kadhimy's shortcomings and warning that Kadhimy cannot speak for Ja'fari. Our sense is that the immediate aides around Ja'fari are still jockeying for influence and portfolio assignments are still fuzzy. The one thing they all agree on is that the PM's office is not well managed. Meanwhile, Ja'fari's advisors say Ja'fari misses being "social" and do not like to talk business over meals, preferring philosophical topics in general. Although it is not surprising Ja'fari would dispense such advice given what we know of his genuinely compassionate personality, it is telling that the Prime Minister would take two hours out of his evening for an informal chat with an Embassy Poloff mostly about personal issues. The organizational problems in his office and the already widespread sense of unease among Da'wa leaders do not bode well for Ja'fari's prospects in the elections or next government. Moreover, Kadhimy's comments of the problems besetting the Da'wa party itself, such as lack of strong leadership and funding base, echo comments we have heard about its diminishing power base. 12. (U) REO HILLA, REO BASRA, REO MOSUL, and REO KIRKUK, minimize considered. Satterfield
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