US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD4018

ALLAWI POSTPONES CONFERENCE FOR CENTRIST COALITION

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD4018
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD4018 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-09-28 12:17:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04