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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BAGHDAD4291
2005-10-18 12:49:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

SUNNI DEPUTY CITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REFLECTS ON

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PNAT  KDEM  IZ  XL 
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						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
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.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





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