|Wikileaks:||View 05BAGHDAD4018 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PGOV PHUM KDEM PNAT 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.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 004018 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2015 TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, PNAT, IZ, Parliament SUBJECT: ALLAWI POSTPONES CONFERENCE FOR CENTRIST COALITION REF: BAGHDAD 3874 Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: Several TNA members have acknowledged that ongoing political differences, not security concerns, were the real reason former Prime Minister Allawi recently postponed a conference to launch a centrist political coalition. Some have refused to participate in the coalition talks altogether, some have joined but bristled at Allawi's autocratic style, and others, most prominently the Iraqi Islamic Party, have kept one foot in and one foot outside the talks. Allawi is now expected to hold the conference after the October 15 referendum. There appears to be a desire among many Iraqi politicians for a centrist bloc, but it remains to be seen whether Allawi can actually pull it off, and time to put it together is short. End Summary. Postponing and Planning the Conference -------------------------------------- 2. (C) TNA member and Ayed Allawi political ally Sheikh Muhammad Abd al-Ameer Sha'alan told Poloff September 27 that Allawi had postponed the conference until after the referendum so participants would be focused on the elections. Sha'alan, just returned from a planning meeting with former PM Ayad Allawi in Amman, told PolOff on September 27 that conference planners originally agreed to a three-part conference to be held in Baghdad, Basra and Kut. Then Allawi decided on one huge conference in Baghdad to create the maximum buzz. They plan to invite everyone and plan for 500-600 participants. 3. (C) Sha'alan said that the conference would aim to establish a dialogue of moderation and do away with sectarian divisions. It is to focus on the 'citizen of Iraq' and prove to Iraqis that there is a supportive forum for liberals and moderates. Sha'alan said that Allawi wants to stir the silent majority who are hesitant to make a stand. Planning committee members have firm ideas regarding the goals of the conference, but they await Allawi to make all final decisions. Core Conference Participants ---------------------------- 4. (C) Iraqi Communist Party President Hamid Moussa confirmed that the core group of participants is al- Wifaq, the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), the Communist Party, and the Shia Islamist Dawa Movement, the last being a splinter group from Jafari's Da'wa Party based in Basra. Neither Sha'alan nor Moussa could explain the IIP's September 25 press statement denouncing any alliance with Allawi and participation in this conference. Moussa countered that IIP members have been very active in the planning sessions. Sha'alan said that Allawi also plans to invite several notable individual candidates, NGOs, and celebrities. Sha'alan clarified that only the core group will decide on the guidelines for the new political alliance. 5. Democratic Islamic Trend leader Hussein al-Adili told Poloffs September 25 that the Allawi-led coalition still lacks any defined program. Adili insisted that a purely secular program would not win votes from an electorate that is very religious. Instead, there has to be a blend of relgious and liberal themes in a program, and the conference organizers haven't developed this yet. For this reason, he said, his party had not committed definitively to joining with Allawi yet. Moreover, he added, he was somewhat reluctant to join Allawi because Allawi wants his allies to work for him, not with him. Another key player in the coalition issue, the Islamic Party, also appears to be hesitating. IIP leader Tareq al-Hashemi, appearing with Sunni political leader Adnan ad-Dulaimi on al-Arabiyah TV on September 27 evening, said that the IIP was not joining in a coalition with Allawi prior to the election, but could do so after an election. Perceptions of Allawi Also a Problem ------------------------------------ 6. (C) While Allawi tries to firm up his coalition, other observers have less kind remarks in private about the former Prime Minister. Hussein al-Adili commented that Allawi still is perceived too close to the Baath party to be an effective candidate nationwide. Yezidi TNA member Adil Nasser Haji told PolOff on September 27 that Allawi is a dictator who refuses to delegate to others. Dawa member Dhiya al- Shakarchi acknowledged to PolOff on September 27 that Allawi is the best bet for a Shi'a moderate candidate, but he has a controlling Ba'athist image. Comment ------- 7. (C) Despite great fanfare and expectations, Allawi has not yet been able to get this conference organized because not all of the partners are on board. He may be able to regroup by late October, but he himself may be too tainted to draw other secular moderates to his side. There appears to be a desire among many Iraqi politicians for a centrist bloc, but it remains to be seen whether Allawi can actually pull it off. Time is short. End Comment. Khalilzad
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