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05BAGHDAD4343 2005-10-21 14:24:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

AT LATE HOUR, UNITED SHIA LIST STILL IN FLUX

Tags:   PGOV KDEM IZ 
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1. (C) SUMMARY: Shia Islamists from the United Iraqi
Alliance have still not settled on an electoral
alliance as the clock ticks down on the coalition
registration deadline. The last-minute IECI decision
to extend that deadline to 28 October will provide
more room for the Shia to narrow differences and
attempt to reach a joint list but there are
indications that the grand coalition that dominated
the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) may split.
END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Leading SCIRI official Humam al-Hammudi is
leading efforts to negotiate an acceptable level of
representation for each Shia Islamist group on a joint
list, but he has not yet closed a deal. Leading
Sadrist and TNA member Baha al-Araji told Poloff
October 19 that the process will crystallize soon. He
said there was a "high possibility" that Muqtada al-
Sadr supporters would ally under a competing,
independent list. Fadila Party leader Nadim al-Jabiri
told PolFSN October 19 that his group has still not
made a final decision on its electoral alliances.
Jabiri all but ruled out participation in Allawi's
coalition and complained that the Allawi conference
took place too late in the game to produce productive
negotiations.



3. (C) Deputy Fadila leader Muhammad Ismael predicted
to PolFSN on October 20 that the Sadrists will break
with the coalition, possibly hand-in-hand with the
Da'wa Party. In response, he expected SCIRI to help
lead a coalition that includes most of the groups in
the former coalition while drawing in some new
independent and Sunni leaders. Ismael said that
Fadila is still considering running solo.



4. (C) As if to confirm Ismael's rumor of a broader
but split Shia coalition, non-Islamist Shia leader
Najib al-Salihi, leader of the hitherto unsuccessful
Free Officers and Civilians Movement, told Poloff
October 19 that he has been invited to join the Shia
coalition. Salihi said Shia leaders claim privately
that they intend this time to keep secular leaders,
not clerics, at the forefront on the candidate lists.
Shabak leader and current TNA member Haneen Qeddo told
Poloff on October 20 that he saw little alternative
but to remain in the Shia coalition in the coming
elections, an indication that even in Mosul he needs
the a stronger partner to help him compete with the
Kurdish alliance. Qeddo said the Shia coalition has
still not come together and may yet fail to congeal in
time for the registration date.



5. (C) Comment: The Shia Islamists are working to
unite ranks, but appear fractured in three camps led
respectively by SCIRI, Fadila, and the Sadrists. They
may seek a middle road, forming one coalition list
with representatives from all sides alongside
independent lists representing each party.
Satterfield