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07BAGHDAD3227 2007-09-25 14:38:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
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1. (C) Summary: Council of Representatives (CoR) member
Yonadam Kanna (Rafidayn) told PolOff on September 18 that
former PM Allawi is the best candidate to succeed PM Maliki
should a no confidence vote occur. He mentioned Dr. Mehdi
Hafedh, an independent CoR member (once aligned with
Iraqiyya), and VP Adil Abd al-Mahdi as other potential
candidates. Kanna does not think the GOI is serious about
national reconciliation and highlighted the problem of
obtaining the "right" version of the de-ba'athification law
as an example of continuing disagreements. He views the
influence of ideology and religion in Iraq, the Kurds'
attempt to annex more land, and Iran and Syria's interference
in the country as obstacles to stabilization. End summary.



2. (C) CoR member and Deputy Chair of the Economic,
Investment and Reconstruction Committee Yonadam Kanna told
PolOff that over fifty percent of the CoR members think Iraq
is moving in the wrong direction. He said "former Prime
Minister Allawi would be the best candidate" to succeed
Maliki should a no confidence vote occur in the CoR, adding
that Allawi would enjoy the support of other neighboring
countries (except Iran). As the next best candidate, he
mentioned Dr. Mehdi Hafedh (Shi'a/Independent - former
Iraqiyya), calling him an "excellent choice" for PM given his
strong pro-market economic views. He also raised VP Adil Abd
al-Mahdi's name as a possible contender, but mentioned Mahdi
may have problems gaining the complete support of his own

3. (C) He called the August agreement by the five political
leaders a "big mistake," saying that despite the agreement,
none of the parties in the "group of four" trusted one
another. He hinted that the Sadrists might align with former
PM Ayad Allawi and suggested that Da'wa Tanzim might be
shifting its loyalties away from Maliki.



4. (C) Kanna said he thinks the government is not "serious"
about national reconciliation. He called the National
Reconciliation Commission in the Prime Minister's Office
"useless." He also said activity in the committee for
national reconciliation in the CoR is now frozen, despite the
fact the committee just started up several months ago. He
stated there were four conferences on national reconciliation
during the past year that yielded no clear results. Kanna
pointed to the multiple versions of the da-ba'athification
law floating around as evidence of continuing disagreement
among the various factions.



5. (C) Kanna mentioned three obstacles to stability in Iraq.
First, he highlighted the push for a religious state and the
influence of ideology in political parties and the government
as critical impediments. He emphasized the need for
non-sectarian moderates as the key to success for Iraq's
future. He also criticized the Kurds for trying to illegally
annex more lands, referring to the dispute over lands in
Kirkuk and Ninewa. Kanna stressed the interference of Iraq's
neighbors in Iraqi internal matters, specifically referencing
Syria and Iran.



6. (C) Regarding the "Organization of Justice and National
Balance" draft law that received a second reading on
September 8, Kanna said there is opposition to this law and
does not think it will pass. (Note: This law would require
an equal balance of Shi'a, Kurds, and Sunnis in each
ministry. This law has been referred back to the Committee
on Civil Society Organizations for more discussion and is
also opposed by Iraqiyya members (reftel). End note).



7. (C) Yonadam Kanna represents the Ninewa province in the
CoR as an Assyrian Christian and a member of the Assyrian
Democratic Movement. He was born in Anbar in 1951, studied
at the University of Suleymaniah and now resides in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD 00003227 002 OF 002

He is the sole CoR member from the Rafidayn party and the
Deputy Chair of the Economic, Investment, and Reconstruction
Committee. He is a civil engineer by background. He fled
the country in 1984, when he was sentenced to death in
absentia by Saddam's government. He then spent some time
abroad, but returned and was part of the 1991 uprising in
Kirkuk/Irbil. He lived for nearly ten years in Irbil
(1992-2001), where he served in the KRG as the Minister of
Public Works, Minister of Industry and Minerals, and Minister
of Energy. He was a member of both the Iraqi Governing
Council and the Transitional National Assembly (TNA). He
speaks good English and is supportive of USG economic and
political goals.