US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD4291

SUNNI DEPUTY CITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REFLECTS ON

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD4291
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD4291 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-10-18 12:49:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM PNAT KDEM IZ XL 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 004291 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PNAT, KDEM, IZ, XL, Sunni Arab 
SUBJECT: SUNNI DEPUTY CITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN  REFLECTS ON 
 
REFERENDUM 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford 
Reasons 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Immediately after polls closed for the 
October 15 constitutional referendum, Baghdad City Council 
Deputy Chairman (and sole Sunni member) Riyadh Nassir Al 
Adhadh shared his thoughts about the referendum and politics 
with PolOff.  Dr. Riyadh said that perhaps half of the Sunni 
voters in his district of Al-Adhamiyah had voted "Yes" to the 
constitution.  He said many Sunni in this northern district 
of Baghdad were also going to support the constitutional 
referendum but efforts to gain their support probably came 
too late to cause a more significant impact.  Dr. Riyadh told 
PolOff he saw an opportunity for significant involvement in 
the new government, especially with the recent concessions on 
the constitution offered for greater Sunni Arab support.  End 
Summary. 
 
2.  (C) Dr. Riyadh is a prominent citizen and local 
politician from the Al-Adhamiyah District of northern 
Baghdad.  He is currently serving as the Deputy Chairman, and 
sole Sunni member, of the Baghdad City Council.  He is also 
on Al-Adhamiyah District Council, Vice-President of Iraq,s 
Association of Physicians, and a member of the Iraqi Islamic 
Party (IIP). Dr. Riyadh contacted PolOff five minutes after 
the polls closed October 15.  He said there had been a good 
turnout of registered voters from the predominately Sunni 
Adhamiyah District, but he could not predict the outcome of 
the local vote on the referendum. 
 
3.  (C) Dr. Riyadh noted that he had originally opposed the 
constitution and intended to vote "no".  But after the TNA 
agreed to amendments to the document that would be determined 
in 2006, he decided to agree with the IIP to support the 
constitution.  IIP support was critical for Dr. Riyadh 
because it is one of the oldest political parties in Iraq and 
best represents what he feels are the basic needs and issues 
of Iraq,s Sunni Arabs.  Dr. Riyadh was also influenced by 
the endorsement of the constitution by the Sunni religious 
leader Sheikh Moyaad of the Abu Hanifa shrine.  Though 
endorsements by the IIP and Sheikh Moyaad were influential, 
Dr. Riyadh stated that their avowals of support may have been 
"a little too late" to sway the opinions of the majority of 
Sunnis.  He felt that if their support had been expressed 
sooner it would have had a greater impact on the electorate. 
When PolOff asked him about the condemnation of the IIP by 
other leading Sunni leaders and organizations Dr. Riyadh 
responded that this situation was really a misunderstanding 
that could be rectified by Sunni leaders meeting and calmly 
discussing the issues. 
 
4.  (C) Finally, Dr. Riyadh thought the ITG and current Shia 
leadership must continue their efforts to include Sunni Arabs 
in the government.  He said the ITG needed to meet three 
basic demands: 1) greater Sunni representation within leading 
governmental positions; 2) an end to the Ministry of 
Interior,s "harassment" of the Sunni Arab population; and 3) 
the release of all detained Sunni Arabs.  Dr. Riyadh said 
that unless the ITG met these "crucial, fundamental" 
conditions, there would be little hope for continued dialogue 
between the ITG and Sunni Arab leaders. 
 
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COMMENT 
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5.  (C) Dr. Riyadh is a well-known and respected leader 
within local Baghdad community and his opinions are highly 
regarded.  Though somewhat optimistic about the constitution 
and the future of Sunni involvement in the national 
government, Dr. Riyadh is still distrustful of the Shia-led 
ITG.  He represents a segment of the Sunni population that is 
responding to outreach efforts from the ITG but still 
maintains a basic suspicion of any Shia-led overtures. 
Khalilzad 

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