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09BAGHDAD1183 2009-05-05 14:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
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1. (C) SUMMARY: During an Aprl 30 meeting, DPM Eissawi
expressed to the Ambassador enthusiasm for the "visible
results" the GOI and USG are achieving under the Strategic
Framework Agreement (SFA); offered insights into Iraq's
disputed internal boundaries; and suggested that many Iraqi
political parties are shifting away from overtly religious
platforms. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Ambassador made his initial courtesy call on Iraqi
Deputy Prime Minister Rafi Al-Eissawi April 30. Eissawi is a
trained surgeon who hails from Falluja in Anbar Province; one
of two DPMs, he co-chairs the Essential Services Joint
Consultation Committee under the SFA. Eissawi expressed
enthusiasm for the SFA, thanking the U.S. for the spirit of
teamwork that is evident within the bilateral working groups.
The Iraqi ministries are excited about the SFA, Eissawi
said, because it offers a chance to produce "visible results"
that will have an impact on the Iraqi people.

3. (C) Eissawi also provided an update on the long process
aimed at resolving Iraq's disputed internal boundaries. The
DPM has formed committees -- which include MPs and other
prominent figures from the three regions in question (Ninewa,
Kirkuk and Diyala) -- to study the recently released UN
report on the boundary issue. Based on that report, Eissawi
has asked the committees to provide him constuctive ideas on
ways forward. The GOI is looking to the people on the ground
in the three regions to lead negotiations, Eissawi said;
Baghdad will follow their efforts, but its role will be to
"react to what the regional committees come up with" or
perhaps broker impasses as necessary. Eissawi acknowledged
that there has been some criticism of the UN report, which
does not offer a list of recommendations; however, he called
it a valuable tool to help frame negotiations.

4. (C) Regarding domestic politics, Eissawi highlighted a
"shift in mood in Iraq" among many political parties away
from explicitly religious platforms toward "liberal/secular"
agendas. Voters are no longer as interested in "religious
political projects" as they were during previous elections,
having become aware that such platforms are often a recipe
for unrest. "Two years ago, I might not have said this,"
Eissawi confessed, but a change toward secular politics needs
to occur "because of the bad practices of those in power."
The Ambassador welcomed this trend and, in response to
Eissawi's request, assured him that the US would support it.