US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD4228

MIXED REACTION BY SUNNI ARABS TO CONSTITUTION AMENDMENTS

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD4228
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD4228 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-10-14 15:39:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINS PNAT IZ Parliament Sunni Arab
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 BAGHDAD 004228 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2025 
TAGS: PGOV, PINS, PNAT, IZ, Parliament, Sunni Arab 
SUBJECT: MIXED REACTION BY SUNNI ARABS TO CONSTITUTION 
AMENDMENTS 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert Ford for reasons 
1.4(b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) An official from the Sunni Arab-dominated Iraqi 
Islamic Party (IIP), Nasir Al-Ani, told PolOff October 13 
the IIP remains resolutely in support of the constitution 
despite insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades on the 
IIP office in Fallujah October 13.  Al-Ani said there were 
no casualties in the attack. PolOff commended the IIP for 
its stance.  On October 13 evening IIP spokesman Ayed 
Samarrai'e was on several Arab media outlets defending the 
IIP change of position and urging support for the 
constitution.  There were reports of bomb threats against 
the IIP headquarters in Baghdad on October 14.  Hayat 
newspaper October 14 reported the IIP had announced also on 
October 13 that one of its activists was murdered in 
Zafraniya by an armed gang.  (MNF-I and Embassy personnel 
met with IIP officials October 13 to discuss security 
precautions.) 
 
2. (C) Sunni Waqf leader Sheikh Ahmed Abdelghafur 
Samarrai'e released a statement October 13 to "bless and 
support" Iraqi Islamic Party's (IIP) approval of the 
constitutional amendments.  Samarrai'e is in Qatar and 
unavailable for comment.  Despite our repeated requests by 
telephone this past week; he has refused to go on 
television in support of the constitution.  His son told 
PolFSN on October 13 that the Sunni Waqf chose to give 
indirect support for the constitution lest it cause a rift 
with the Muslim Ulema Council.  PolCons urged acting Waqf 
leader Ibrahim Taha on October 13 to ensure Friday sermons 
were balanced on the constitution.  Taha also demurred, 
saying that the Waqf's position was well known after its 
public statement.  He added that communications between the 
headquarters in Baghdad and mosques around the country was 
not sufficient to alert imams quickly. 
 
3. (U)  Senior Muslim Ulema Council official Abd al-Salam 
al-Kubaisi on October 13 called the constitutional 
amendments a "conspiracy" by the U.S. to divide Iraq. 
Meanwhile, the Conference of Iraqi People, led by former 
Sunni Waqf director Adnan Dulaimi, reiterated its call for 
Iraqis to vote against the draft constitution "to preserve 
the nation's unity," according to Hayat newspaper October 
14. 
 
4. (C) Iraqi radio stations reported October 13 that ICND 
spokesman Saleh Mutlaq called upon the IIP to change its 
stance on their new support for the constitution. 
Iraqi Council for National Dialogue (ICND) member Sa'adoon 
al-Zubaidi told PolOff October 13 that the amendments were 
a "clever ploy" by the TNA to give the appearance of 
assuaging Sunni demands. But, he continued, no real 
constitutional changes will occur because Kurdish voters 
could overturn any proposals by a two-thirds vote in Irbil, 
Sulaymaniyah, and Dahuk provinces.  PolOff countered that 
the amendments made the constitution more beneficial to all 
Iraqis. 
 
5. (C) Comment:  polls show that the two most influential 
political forces in the Sunni Arab community are the Muslim 
Ulema Council and the Iraqi Islamic Party.  The last-moment 
switch in the Iraqi Islamic Party position, and its field 
offices' ceasing their advocacy against the constitution, 
should switch some - but not all - Sunni Arab votes to 
support the constitution on October 15.  This turn boosts 
the likelihood of the constitution passing, but criticism 
from the harder line Sunni Arab political groups is not 
likely to fade right away.  On October 13 IIP leaders were 
wondering whether their decision would impede their effort 
to form a broad Sunni Arab Islamist electoral list for the 
December elections. 
 
 
Khalilzad 

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