Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BAGHDAD3823
2007-11-22 07:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

INDEPENDENT COR MEMBER SAYS LEGISLATION DELAYED BY

Tags:  PREF PGOV PINR IZ 
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VZCZCXRO3278
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3823/01 3260717
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 220717Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4472
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003823 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2017
TAGS: PREF PGOV PINR IZ
SUBJECT: INDEPENDENT COR MEMBER SAYS LEGISLATION DELAYED BY
COR INEFFECTIVENESS, AYAD ALLAWI LOSING SUPPORT

REF: A) BAGHDAD 3565 B) BAGHDAD 1956 C) BAGHDAD 3787

Classified By: Political Counselor Matt Tueller for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003823

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2017
TAGS: PREF PGOV PINR IZ
SUBJECT: INDEPENDENT COR MEMBER SAYS LEGISLATION DELAYED BY
COR INEFFECTIVENESS, AYAD ALLAWI LOSING SUPPORT

REF: A) BAGHDAD 3565 B) BAGHDAD 1956 C) BAGHDAD 3787

Classified By: Political Counselor Matt Tueller for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d)


1. (C/NF) Summary. Independent CoR member Safia Souhail
(Shia, former Iraqiyya) told Poloff unnecessary delays with
de-ba'athification and other laws are occurring because of
sectarianism and ineffective CoR leadership. She is doubtful
the de-ba'athification law will receive the votes necessary
to pass in the CoR. Safia, along with several other members,
withdrew from (IIG) former PM Ayad Allawi's Iraqiyya party
during the last several months. She said Allawi is losing
support within his own party because he is spending too much
time outside the country. She is standing on the sidelines
of the moderate, independent party being formed by another
independent CoR member, Hachim Hassani. Regarding other
political parties, she said Tawafuq is becoming weaker,
mainly due to VP Hashimi, and that former (ITG) PM Jafari is
making national headway in forming a bloc with the Sadr,
Fadila, and Solidarity parties. End summary.

CONTROVERSY OVER DE-BA'ATH, COR INEFFECTIVENESS
-------------- --


2. (C/NF) Independent CoR member Safia Souhail (Shia, former
Iraqiyya) told PolOff on November 16 that CoR legislation is
being delayed unnecessarily because of sectarianism and lack
of effective CoR leadership. She mentioned the public
shouting match between Speaker Mahmoud Mashadani and Deputy
Speaker Khalid Attiyah on November 14 -- when the de-ba'ath
law was to be introduced to the CoR session -- as a prime
example (ref A). She is doubtful the law will pass the CoR,
and said, "I am not convinced that there can be amnesty or
property reclamation without changes in Iraq's court system."
She believes amnesty towards former Ba'athists needs to be
taken step-by-step, but admitted those Ba'athists who did not
commit any crime should not be punished. (Comment: Safia's
father was assassinated by former Iraqi regime agents. She
supports national reconciliation, but her personal background

underscores the sensitivity of this legislation and the issue
among some CoR members. End Comment).


3. (C/NF) Safia is not a member of any committee in the CoR,
but prefers working across many of them unofficially. She
told PolOff she disagrees with the way committee memberships
are allotted in the CoR by party membership rather than
professional expertise. Safia said CoR Speaker Mashadani no
longer has support from VP Hashimi or Tawafuq. She said when
Mashadani was placed on indefinite leave in June (ref B),he
was almost replaced by IIP CoR member Ayad Sammaraie before a
"deal was made." She confided Mashadani told her during a
recent trip he will resign at the end of the year or session.
(Comment: Speaker Mashadani has not mentioned this to USG
officials. It is unlikely Mashadani will resign from his
position unless he is forced out or has something else lined
up. However, CoR member Hachim Hassani in a separate meeting
told us that PM Maliki raised the Speaker position with him
in September (ref C). End Comment).

IRAQIYYA - ALLAWI LOSING SUPPORT
--------------


4. (C/NF) According to media reports, Safia Souhail withdrew
from Iraqiyya in late September 2007 after former PM Ayad
Allawi's meetings with former Ba'athists became public
knowledge. Others who quit Iraqiyya to become independent
this year include Mehdi Hafedh and Hachim Hassani. Safia
said several others may leave, naming Mufid Muhammad Jawad
al-Jaza'iry, Hamid Majid Mousa, and Wael al-Latif al-Fadal.
(Note: PolOff met with Wael al-Latif on November 21. He
confirmed he may depart Iraqiyya, depending on future reforms
within the party. (septel). End Note). She noted that
Allawi is "almost like a brother to her," but claimed he
spends too much time outside the country to be an effective
party leader. Many Iraqiyya members are frustrated with the
amount of time Allawi is spending visiting neighboring
countries rather than focusing on the party's organization in
Iraq. (Comment: Even members of other parties, such as
Hewar and IIP, are commenting offhand that Allawi's excessive
travel is weakening his popularity and stature in Iraq. End
comment).

INDEPENDENT, MODERATE BLOC FORMING
--------------


5. (C/NF) When asked whether she is aware of a new moderate
bloc forming, Safia said Hachim Hassani is leading this
effort (ref C),but added that she prefers to remain
"independent" of any party affiliation. However, she is
working with the independents in the CoR to see how they can

BAGHDAD 00003823 002.2 OF 002


work effectively together as an alliance or caucus. She
added Mehdi Hafedh is also part of this effort, but said it
is in the early stages.

STATUS OF GOI POLITICS
--------------


6. (C/NF) Regarding other political parties, Safia
volunteered that Tawafuq is becoming "very weak." She
complained that VP Hashimi (IIP) is an obstacle to progress
in the Parliament and has vetoed many pieces of legislation.
She is not optimistic that PM Maliki and VP Hashimi will
resolve their differences. Regarding PM Maliki, she said "He
does not have much support, but there is no one to replace
him." She thinks VP Adil Abd al-Mahdi is a capable leader
and also mentioned Jafari is picking up more support among
the Sadr, Fadila, and the Solidarity parties.

BIO NOTE
--------------


7. (C/NF) Safia Souhail's father, Sheikh Taleb al-Souhail,
was the former chief of the Bani Tamim tribe in the central
part of Iraq. Her family fled from Iraq after the Ba'ath
coup d'etat of 1968, but she said Saddam's agents managed to
assassinate her father in exile in Lebanon in 1994. All of
the family's property was confiscated and her family remained
outside of Iraq, with her mother and six sisters in Jordan.
She mentioned she was to be nominated as Ambassador to Egypt,
not specifying the exact timeframe, but said it fell through
due to political reasons. Her family is wealthy and she is
active in civil society efforts/NGOs. In 2003, she was the
Advocacy Director for the Middle East and Islamic World at
the International Alliance for Justice and publisher of the
independent newspaper "Al Manar al-Arabi." She is married
and both she and her husband live in Baghdad. Her son lives
in Jordan with extended family. She is a good interlocutor
with USG officials and speaks English fluently.
CROCKER