|05HILLAH374||2005-12-14 18:54:00||CONFIDENTIAL||REO Hillah|
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 HILLAH 000374
1. (U) This is a SET NAJAF cable.
2. (C) Summary: The Najaf head of former Prime Minister Iyad
Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party (INA) told SET Najaf
December 9 that he expected widespread election day violence
directed at INA supporters and facilities by supporters of the
United Iraqi Alliance (UIA, ballot number 555.) The official
also predicted widespread fraud by UIA supporters, but
nonetheless said that the National Iraqi List slate (ballot
number 731, the coalition which includes Allawi's INA would
likely capture four of Najaf's eight contested seats. End
3. (C) SET Najaf met with Abdul Al Al-Esswi, the Najaf head of
the INA. He mentioned the December 6 improvised explosive device
(IED) attack on an INA office (reftel) and predicted that more
attacks would take place, and reach a peak on election day.
Al-Esswi blamed UIA partisans for violent attacks, and for
destroying 60,000 National Iraqi List posters and 1,200 banners.
He related that he thought the UIA would attempt to "make an
example" of his coalition.
4. (C) Al-Esswi also related his fears of widespread fraud.
For this he blamed members of the security forces loyal to the
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and
Moqtada Al-Sadr. He maintained that at least 50 percent of the
Najaf Iraqi Police (IP) are SCIRI- or Sadr-affiliated. He noted
that since IPs oversee unused ballots, the conditions were ripe
for militia-affiliated IPs to fill out unused ballots in favor
of the UIA.
5. (C) Attempts to illegally tip the election scales in the
UIA's favor had already begun, Al-Esswi said. He claimed that
Hadi Al-Jid, an electoral station manager in the town of
Hyderia, near the Karbala border, had been offered 20 million
Iraqi dinar (approximately $13,600 USD) by the UIA to allow
their operatives to control his polling station, where they
would then stuff ballot boxes and insure a strong UIA showing.
(Note: Al-Jid, contacted by SET Najaf on December 13, reported a
slightly different offer. He stated that a "political entity"
had approached him about advertising in and around the polling
place and offered him 5 million Iraqi dinar (approximately
$3,400 USD). He said that no one had attempted to persuade him
to commit fraud. End note.)
6. (C) A concerted effort was underway to destroy the reputation
of Iyad Allawi, the INA and the 731 slate, Al-Esswi alleged.
These efforts include what Al-Esswi calls "lies and
distortions," such as a reportedly persistent rumor that the INA
supports the return of the Saddam Hussein regime. Another
rumor, again blamed on UIA operatives, has the INA supportive of
the rehabilitation and employment of all Baathists, including
those guilty of crimes under the Saddam Hussein regime. (Note:
INA candidates and supporters, including Al-Esswi, have declared
that their stance is to rehabilitate Baathists who only joined
the party for reasons of survival or expediency, and to
prosecute those who committed crimes. End note.)
7. (C) Comment: Recent reports of violence directed at INA
facilities and supporters lend some credence to Al-Esswi's
warnings. That Al-Jid's tale of attempted fraud did not match up
with Al-Esswi's accusations does not necessarily disprove the
charge, since Al-Jid would likely seek to diminish his own
culpability in electioneering when speaking to an American
official. End comment.