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2005-10-31 18:59:00
Embassy Baghdad
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E.0. 12958: N/A


SUMMARY: Discussion on the Constitution, Referendum, and
National Reconciliation were the major editorial themes of
the daily newspapers on October 31, 2005. END SUMMARY.


A. "The Next Election and the Responsibility of Voters" (Al-
Fourat, 10/31)

B. "The Attitude of the Religious Authorities" (As-Sabah,

C. "The Iraqi National List. Building a Strong Iraq is the
Goal" (Baghdad, 10/31)

D. "This Time Our Votes Will Be Decisive" (Ad-Da'wa, 10/31)

E. "Iraq Under Siege.!" (Az-Zaman, 10/31)

F. "Political Alliances and Scales of Power" (Ad-Dustoor,


A. "The Next Election and the Responsibility of Voters"
(Al-Fourat - independent, anti-coalition, published this
front-page editorial by Jaber Mohammad Jaber)

"All of us, as partners in this country, have agreed on the
necessity of national unity but let us wait and see the
political platforms of the lists and alliances before we
pronounce analysis on them. We don't want the past election
mistakes to be repeated and if the political process that
America has marketed to us is according to its new
definition of globalization, then the past three years of
democratic experiments have led to many Iraqi citizens being
well-informed--to help mitigate repeat mistakes and control
their emotions during voting in the next elections.

"Dreams and promises have been made by the former government
calling on us to wait and judge with our mind before we
choose candidates and lists. People are sick and tired of
ethnic divisions and sectarianism dividing us. Therefore,
let us abandon those and look to the political entities that
are here to serve our country and its people-but they should
be honest in their political platforms and should avoid
external pressure.

"If those [Shi'a] parties prepare their platforms within the
context of Iraq's reality and without relying on religious
names or authorities, and if they don't put their limited
factional interests as their primary goal, then they will
find the complete support of the people. The principle of
putting the suitable man in the convenient position is
considered a right step towards
building a new Iraq."

B. "The Attitude of the Religious Authorities"
(As-Sabah - Iraqi Media Network, pro-coalition, published
this front-page editorial by Mohammad Abdul Jabbar)

"The electoral battle over the formation of an elected
National Assembly began when the religious authorities
announced they would not support any specific political
group at the expense of other political parties. Instead,
the religious authorities have urged wide participation in
the election.

"Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani's deputy, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Al-
Karbala'ee, declared that the religious authorities will not
support any political party in the upcoming election. But,
it will urge Iraqis to participate in it; he also stressed
that voters should freely choose their candidates. Al-
Karbala'ee has called for the Shiites to actively
participate in the election and criticized those who
boycotted the referendum. On the other hand, Prime Minister
Ibrahim Al-Ja'fari said that Al-Sistani will not support any
specific party but that he supports the electoral process
because it is a modern phenomenon that will ensure social
justice. In addition, Al-Sistani will not interfere in the
details of any electoral list.

"The religious authorities are now neutral concerning the
political competition for legislative and executive powers.
I believe that this is a wise attitude that will distance
the religious authorities from the daily work of politics.
However, they are not neutral when it comes to forming the
government since they urged citizens to participate in the
electoral process. This is another wise position because it
demonstrates the religious authorities' concern for all
people without any bias towards a specific group. The
impartiality in the political competition and the clarity of
their position will guarantee democracy and the honesty of
this competition. In this way, voters will negate influences
that affect political competition. Moreover, this will
ensure the government's neutrality in the election."

C. "The Iraqi National List. Building a Strong Iraq is the
(Baghdad - pro-coalition, affiliated with the Iraqi National
Accord led by Iyad Allawi, published this front-page
unattributed editorial)
"The Iraqi people and members of the civilized world
yesterday welcomed the establishment of the Iraqi National
List which will have a big role in Iraq's future. This list
aims to unite Iraqis and save the country from crises and
the deterioration of security and essential services. This
list represents a new political trend that rejects the
regression to the dark ages of slavery.

"This list will give humans the right to freely express
their opinions without marginalizing others. We must say
goodbye to talismans and political ploys because they are
not suitable for the new Iraq and its noble goals; we are
dependent upon development and creativity to build reliable
Iraqi characteristics. Dr Iyad Allawi has confirmed that
Iraqis need a strong Iraq so that it can play an active role
in the region. Thus, Iraq will be a stable and prosperous
anchor for the whole region. The Iraqi National List
believes that all Iraqis are equal in rights and duties and
it warns of sectarian conflicts. This list hopes to build a
strong government that is able to respect rights and defend
the country.

"Dr. Iyad Allawi and his colleagues in this struggle now
have a chance to make a difference in the new dawn in Iraq.
The Iraqi National List makes its way through difficulties
for the sake of building a new and democratic Iraq. This
list emphasizes that it is important for Iraq to have an
active role in the international community, Iraq also must
have good relationships with neighboring Arab and Islamic

"The Iraqi National List, rejects sectarianism,
marginalization and ethnic power sharing. This list relies
on the Iraqi people and its unity. Today Iraqis hope that
this list would win the election as it corresponds with
their wishes and anticipations. This list has also included
the elite of Iraq's patriotic figures."

D. "This Time Our Votes Will Be Decisive"
(Ad-Da'wa - affiliated with Ad-Da'wa (led by Al-Anzi), no
bias, published this page-five editorial by Rasim Qassim)

"The Iraqi people will head for the ballot boxes for the
third time by the end of this year to choose a real
representative National Assembly that will achieve their
legitimate demands and ambitions. This time, our voting will
be based on awareness and experience.

"One year will soon pass since the first electoral process
was held in Iraq and the Iraqi people have realized who will
serve and provide them with decent standards of living.
"This time, the Iraqi people's votes will not be wasted
because they will not vote just for the sake of
participating in the election. The Iraqi people realize that
their votes are precious and for this reason their decision
must be studied.

"Now, after we have established the basis of the permanent
constitution it will be the main platform for advancement.
This constitution is the first one in Iraq's modern history
and it will place Iraq on the route of democracy and
security. Here, we call on our people to be loyal to Iraq
first because this is the way to unite our country and put
an end to the enemies of freedom and human rights.

"For this reason, political parties and alliances must
carefully select their candidates and representatives in the
upcoming election. Patriotic Iraqi figures who want to
compete in the election must understand that the people have
experienced the democratic process for almost a year.
Through this year, the Iraqi people were able to diagnose
faults. Iraqi citizens have become experienced in political
affairs and therefore their votes will make a difference in
the new Iraq's history. This is the first step toward
establishing democracy and political stability."

E. "Iraq Under Siege.!"
(Az-Zaman - independent, anti-coalition, published this back-
page editorial by Fatih Abdul Salam (brother of the paper's

"Iraq has remained under siege by the sanctions of the
ruling regime-these sanctions have affected the people more
than the regime. Some members of the regime have made a
fortune through sanctions and trading.

"Iraq today is not so far from the U.S. siege, because
everything is under the control of the American occupation
forces. No security, economic, or political agenda can move
freely without the green light from the U.S. forces which
number 161,000.

"Iraqi politicians are under U.S. siege which rarely
provides for the interest of Iraqis, but in reality is tied
to the vision of politicians who need to balance their
speech in order not to be accused of being against
democracy, especially under the submissiveness and loyalty
to the American vision.

"Simple Iraqi citizens are daily living at the mercy of the
U.S. military and its convoy movements which limit Iraqis to
certain roads-if they deviate or make a mistake they may
lose their life at the hands of frightened U.S. soldiers who
open fire.

"A complete, or near-complete, democratic experiment cannot
be built in such a heated atmosphere because the democracy
is not like a tribal or sectarian uprising that occurs in
self defense. Therefore, democratic slogans are not enough
to encourage the practice of democracy. Democracy needs a
correct structure for ideas and ideologies in order to be

"In fact, we are still under siege. This siege is not only
from U.S. tanks, but also on behalf of the parties that they
have brought with them--and they disregarded those parties'
violation against democracy above all else."

F. "Political Alliances and Scales of Power"
(Ad-Dustoor - independent, no bias, published this front-
page editorial by Bassim Al-Shiekh)

"Changes that have occurred in political parties entering
the next elections have dramatically revolutionized all
views of political analysts and observers of the Iraqi
political scene, and confirmed the everlasting fact that
politics is the art of the possible, an art of setting
priorities rather than rights. And that the opportunistic
saying, `play to win' is most common among all different
ethnic, political, and sectarian groups.
All alliances formed today have demonstrated that
contestants have realized their true abilities through the
previous elections which have led them to change their game
plan, since knowing one's ability and playing accordingly is
the most important factor for success.

"So we see that parties that ran independently in the
previous elections, supported by an illusion based on
inaccurate information that they were components to play the
game unilaterally, have entered alliances to become part of
a stronger entity. All of these changes have resulted in a
new political chart with a certain alliance seeming to have
a larger chance for success than others and with an
understanding that the main requirements in the democratic
practice is to realize the strengths and weaknesses and form
alliance accordingly. But again, we also see many parties
who refuse to acknowledge these facts and maintain their
individual course that wipes out their chances of entering
the parliament, overlooking the option of uniting their
efforts into one channel that could lead them to success."