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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BAGHDAD137
2004-07-14 20:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

USEB 072: THE IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND AL-

Tags:   KPAO  PGOV  IZ 
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P 142025Z JUL 04 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0192
INFO WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
IRAQ COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000137 

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/PA, AND NEA/I
DOD FOR OASD/PA
NSC FOR PA
EMBASSIES/CONSULATES FOR PA AND POL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2014
TAGS: KPAO PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: USEB 072: THE IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND AL-
JAZEERA

CLASSIFIED BY DCM JAMES JEFFREY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000137

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/PA, AND NEA/I
DOD FOR OASD/PA
NSC FOR PA
EMBASSIES/CONSULATES FOR PA AND POL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2014
TAGS: KPAO PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: USEB 072: THE IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND AL-
JAZEERA

CLASSIFIED BY DCM JAMES JEFFREY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).


1. (C) Summary. On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Dr.
Ayad Allawi met with the chief of the news room from Al-
Jazeera's Doha headquarters, Mr. Sadi Al-Shouly (who is
also responsible for all worldwide Al-Jazeera
correspondents), along with Al-Jazeera's Baghdad Bureau
Chief, Mr. Hamid Hadeed. The meeting, originally
scheduled to last one-half hour, was extended to an hour
and a half as PM Allawi effectively read the riot act to
his two visitors. End summary.


2. (C) A witness to the session reports the following
highlights. Prime Minister Allawi opened his meeting
with the two visitors from Al-Jazeera with a question:
"So what are your plans for harming the Iraqi people
these days?" The deflated Al-Jazeera guests were then
treated to a thorough dressing-down, with Allawi accusing
Al-Jazeera of having a political agenda, and then
assuring his visitors that their agenda "will fail" and
that the Iraqi people will be victorious regardless of
Al-Jazeera's efforts to undermine stability in the
region.


3. (C) Among the specific accusations that Allawi leveled
against Al-Jazeera were the following:

-- the lack of accurate and factual reporting by Al-
Jazeera correspondents on the ground in Iraq;

-- the station acting as a mouthpiece for terrorists by
airing their audio and video tapes;

-- and broadcasting videos of masked men trying to
intimidate him and the Iraqi people.

The PM stressed that Al-Jazeera will fail in its goal, as
he and his people "have been through too much hardship to
be threatened by a group of masked men".


4. (C) The PM also stated that he is going to approach
the Qatari government to discuss the impact that a state-
run broadcaster such as Al-Jazeera has on IraqiQQatari
bilateral relations.


5. (C) Allawi continued, that regardless of its efforts,
99% of the Iraqi people reject Al-Jazeera and its agenda,
and are aware that Al-Jazeera never covers any positive
news stories; rather, Iraqis understand that Al-Jazeera's
sole interest is incitement to discontent, even violence.
The PM also informed his visitors that there is now an
independent Iraqi media commission that will hold media
organizations accountable for malpractice and
provocation. Further, he conveyed that neither he, nor
any members of his staff, will cooperate with Al-Jazeera
until they adjust their coverage. The PM did mention,
however, that he will send a representative to Doha next
week to represent Iraq in a conference which Al-Jazeera
is holding with key political figures, in order to
reiterate these points. He concluded by acknowledging
that "it is acceptable, even welcome, to criticize the
Interim Government; however, do not dare harm the people
of Iraq".


6. (C) The Al-Jazeera representatives got the message.
For their part, they claimed that the shortfalls in Al-
Jazeera coverage of Iraq cited by the PM were often due
to an inability to obtain information and clarification
from official sources concerning breaking news events, a
lack of government spokesmen and an Iraqi Interim
Government public affairs infrastructure.


7. (C) Comment: Shortly after the transfer of sovereignty
to his government, PM Allawi told us that he was thinking
of closing the Al-Jazeera bureau in Baghdad and banning
Al-Jazeera correspondents from Iraq. Our counsel was to
take another approach; to inform Al-Jazeera that their
reporting is under scrutiny, and that the government
intends to monitor media coverage through an independent
commission. PM Allawi did exactly that in his meeting
with these representatives from Al-Jazeera. End comment.


NEGROPONTE