US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD4214

MAJOR SUNNI PARTY PARTICIPATES IN GATHERING IN SUPPORT OF CONSTITUTION

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD4214
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD4214 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-10-13 12:09:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PNAT PHUM PTER IZ Parliament Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party
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 004214 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PNAT, PHUM, PTER, IZ, Parliament, Sunni Arab, Iraqi Islamic Party 
SUBJECT: MAJOR SUNNI PARTY PARTICIPATES IN GATHERING  IN 
SUPPORT OF CONSTITUTION 
 
REF: KIRKUK 218 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford. 
Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  The Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) 
reiterated support for the amended draft constitution 
at a big tent gathering of Iraqi political leaders 
October 12 in the Transitional National Assembly.  A 
number of important amendments, negotiated in the last 
week, paved the way for the statement of IIP support. 
The amendments (septel) addressed many Sunni concerns 
about Arab unity and identity and most importantly, 
created a commission that would propose changes to the 
constitution four months after the election of the 
National Assembly.  The amendments were read into the 
record to the assembled TNA members.  The event, 
billed as an evening of national consensus and 
reconciliation brought together national leaders 
including President Talabani, PM Jafari, Kurdish 
region President Barzani, former PM Allawi, Speaker 
Hachem al-Hasani, Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar and 
many others.  Reaction to the IIP and other Sunni 
support for the Constitution was swift with a bombing 
of the IIP office in Falluja and fistfights breaking 
out in National Dialogue party meetings to discuss the 
changes.  With at least some of the major Sunni 
leaders publicly supporting the constitution, its 
chances for passage in the October 15 referendum 
increase.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) Many of Iraq's major political players convened 
on the evening of October 12 at the Transitional 
National Assembly in Baghdad to witness the reading of 
amendments to the draft Constitution and to offer 
statements of support.  Joining National Assembly 
Speaker al-Hasani on the stage were President Jalal 
Talabani, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, Kurdistan 
Regional Government President Masud Barzani, SCIRI 
leader Abd' al-Aziz al-Hakim, and Former Prime 
Minister Ayad Allawi.  In addition to Hasani, Sunni 
Arabs on the dais included Deputy President Ghazi al- 
Yawar, Deputy Prime Minister Abd al-Mutlak al-Juburi, 
Defense Minister Sadoun Duleimi and Minister of State 
for Women's Affairs Dr. Azhar Shaykhli, Iraqi Islamic 
Party (IIP) Representative Nasir Al-Ani, Republican 
Group leader Saad al-Janabi, Independent Democrats 
leader Adnan Pachachi, National Democratic Party 
leader Nasir Chaderchi.  A large number of TNA members 
were present in the auditorium along with a number of 
diplomatic representatives including the U.S., U.K., 
Japanese, Russian, Australian, and other Ambassadors. 
 
3. (U) After Speaker Hasani had the amendments read 
into the record, the top leaders made brief statements 
of support for the draft constitution.  President 
Talabani called Iraq's draft Constitution one of the 
best in the region and said it represented a national 
consensus, or semi-consensus.  Continuing the theme, 
PM Jafari called it a day of national reconciliation 
and pointed out that the constitution can be changed. 
SCIRI leader Abd' al-Aziz al-Hakim said that the 
constitution signals the end of 30 years of tyranny 
and is one of the greatest achievements of the 
government.  Former PM Allawi called the agreement a 
landmark of political unity.  IIP representative Al- 
Ani noted that IIP was not alone in the two days of 
negotiations that led to the compromise agreement on 
the amendments.  The IIP, he said, coordinated for all 
those who did not participate in the past - alluding 
to the Sunni groups that boycotted the January TNA 
elections.  He called the draft constitution a great 
achievement. 
 
SCRI's Hakim Presents Vision 
---------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) SCIRI leader Hakim focused his remarks on 
federalism, hinting at future political aspirations of 
his party.  He stated that Iraq must be a federal 
Iraq, an Iraq of regions.   He said that any 
governorate may become a region and have all the 
authorities of any other region. 
 
Islamic Party Steady 
-------------------- 
 
5. (C) Tarik al-Hashimi, Secretary General of the IIP 
Tarik Hashimi begged off at the last moment stating he 
was "tired."  IIP spokesman and de-facto deputy leader 
Ayed Samarrai'e told PolCouns that Hashimi was under 
tremendous pressure within the IIP since the party was 
completely changing its position on the constitution. 
PolCouns called on Hashimi October 13 to offer 
assistance on security-related issues.  Hashimi showed 
PolCouns an angry communication from the IIP office in 
Basrah complaining that the party's supporters could 
not understand the sudden change on the constitution. 
Hashimi and Samarrai'e said they would try to get more 
air time on satellite TV to explain the IIP's 
position.  (COMMENT: It was a significant achievement 
to have the IIP representative present.  Al-Hashimi 
himself privately told us that he felt unable to go 
due to continued discontent within his party over the 
IIP's public endorsement of the constitution deal. 
While the Basrah office was unhappy, the Diyala IIP 
office appears to welcome the IIP change in position - 
see ref.) 
 
 
6.  (C)  The internal debate about the constitution is 
causing serious internal divisions within the Sunni 
groups.  Local news reports say that the Sunni Waqf 
has announced its support of the draft constitution, 
as Waqf leader Shaykh Ahmed Abdelghafur Samarrai'e had 
promised PolCouns October 12.  Hashimi said on October 
13 he would follow up PolCouns' suggestion that 
instructions for the Friday sermons be issued from the 
Waqf.  Meanwhile, a Dialog Council member told PolFSN 
October 12 afternoon that as the Council thrashed out 
its position for or against the draft constitution, 
fistfights broke out.  Dialog Council member Shaykh 
Abdelnasir al-Janabi complained bitterly to PolCouns 
October 12 that they had not been consulted during the 
latest negotiations.  PolCouns rejoined that Janabi 
could have been in contact with the IIP or other 
negotiators; the Council needed to work with Iraqis 
and not depend on the U.S. Embassy.  By contrast, 
Dialog Council member Mahmud Mashadani has been 
supportive of the draft constitution in western press 
statements.  (He said he would not speak to the Arab 
media, however.) 
 
Insurgency Reaction 
-------------------- 
 
6. (C) Sunni leader support for the Constitution is 
not without its consequences.  Hours after the TNA 
session announcing the breakthrough,  we received 
reports that IIP leader Hashimi's office in Falluja 
was bombed.  The Victorious Army insurgent group 
released an internet statement calling for war on the 
IIP for approving the "infidel" constitution.  It 
singled out IIP leaders Hashimi and Mushin Abd' al- 
Hamid for death.  Hashimi on October 13 showed us a 
threatening letter from the "Mansur Sect Army" 
promising "war" on the Islamic Party.  (He said the 
Mansur Sect Army is concentrated in the Jihad district 
of Baghdad.)  The Najaf office of former PM Ayad 
Allawi was also reportedly bombed overnight.  Speaker 
Hasani, fearing for his life, has asked MNF-I to 
provide PSD support for his travel around Baghdad. 
Khalilzad 

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