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WikiLeaks: 2005-10-15: 05BAGHDAD4225: First Reactions to Referendum: Shia Confidence, Sunni Arabs Reflective

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 at 07:10 PM CT


Viewing cable 05BAGHDAD4242, FIRST REACTIONS TO REFERENDUM: SHIA CONFIDENCE,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05BAGHDAD4242 2005-10-15 20:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 004242 
 
SIPDIS 
 
CENTCOM FOR POLAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2015 
TAGS: IZ PGOV PNAT
SUBJECT: FIRST REACTIONS TO REFERENDUM:  SHIA CONFIDENCE, 
SUNNI             ARABS REFLECTIVE 
 
Classified By: (U) POLCOUNS ROBERT S. FORD, REASON 1.4 (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  So far, the UN election advisory 
team has not heard of significant irregularities 
during the voting operation on October 15.  In 
contrast to the January 2005 election, this time 
our Assyrian Christian contacts in Baghdad so 
far are not complaining of serious problems with 
the voting in the North. The UN advisory team 
team chief told us late October 15 that the Sunni 
Arab vote was up significantly, while the Kurdish 
vote appears to be less than it was in January 2005. 
The Shia Islamist camp is confident that the draft 
constitution has passed in the referendum.  Our 
quick survey of some Sunni Arab contacts showed they 
are more reflective, but in agreement that voting was 
the right thing to do.  We will be attentive to 
allegations of irregularities even as interest shifts 
from the voting to the vote count, especially the 
counts in Ninewah and Salah ad-Din. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
UN ADVISOR REVIEWS TURNOUT AND PROBLEMS 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  In an evening meeting with Poloffs, UN EAD 
chief Carina Perelli confided that preliminary 
indications are that Kurdish participation in Erbil 
and Sulimaniyah had been lower than in January. 
Sunni Arab participation in Anbar and Salah ad-Din 
had been higher and Shia participation in the South 
and South-Central had been about the same.  She 
added that participation in Mosul appeared to have 
been higher than in January, attributing the 
increase to Sunni Arab voters. 
 
3.  (C)  Perelli shared with Poloffs a list of 
alleged irregularities or other incidents 
adversely affecting voting operations that had been 
reported to the Independent Election Commission of 
Iraq (IECI).  While she noted that the list could 
still grow, as of 20:30 local time it contained 
only 26 reported incidents.  Many of these had been 
investigated and dismissed as lacking foundation. 
Others included a fire set at a school used as a 
polling center in Ramadi and a hostage situation 
involving polling staff at a different center in 
Ramadi.  Perelli stressed that the background to 
the hostage incident appeared to be a tribal, not 
insurgency-related, matter. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Assyrian Christians:  Better than January, So Far 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
4.  (C)  William Warda, the spokesman for the 
Assyrian Democratic Movement, told PolCouns late 
October 15 that in contrast to the January 
2005 election, he had heard of no serious 
problems in northern Iraq during the referendum. 
He cautioned that he still had only sketchy 
information from the North because of poor 
communications with their offices.  The voting in 
places like Mosul, Barthalla and Basheqa went 
far better.  It would be important now to be sure 
the vote count was proper, he noted.  He said that 
his sources in Ninewah were saying that the vote 
counts in polling stations where the Assyrians 
had sources indicated the draft constitution was 
losing.  Warda said he did not know by what 
margin it was losing. 
 
------------------------------------ 
Confidence in the Shia Islamist Camp 
------------------------------------ 
 
5. (C)  A top aide to Constitution Committee 
Chairman and Shia Islamist Humam al-Hamudi was in 
a festive mood when Poloff spoke with him during 
the evening of 15 October.  He said he expected 
the constitution would pass smoothly but admitted 
that he had no "real statistics" to back that 
up.  He dismissed concerns about Salah al-Din, 
saying the Shia voters in the province would 
prevent any no vote from reaching two-thirds. 
He also dismissed concerns about Ninewah 
predicting with assurance that "The Kurds will 
not let that province vote no!" 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
Initial Sunni Reactions:  Voting is Important 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C)  Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) spokesman Ayed 
Samarrai'e told PolCouns midday October 15 that 
he thought the vote was proceeding smoothly.  He 
had no major complaints, including from IIP 
observers watching polling operations. 
Samarrai'e noted that the IIP decision to change 
its position to support of the constitution had 
caused some dissension within the IIP. 
Nonetheless, he thought its base would come 
around.  He said the director of Baghdad TV, 
affiliated with the IIP, had told him early 
October 15 that phone calls to the station had 
switched from sharply critical of the IIP 
decision to supportive.  Samarrai'e would not 
hazard a guess on the outcome in Ninewah or Salah 
ad-Din, however. 
7.  (C)  Iraqi Council for National Dialogue (ICND) 
member Sa'adoon al-Zubaidi warned Poloff October 
15 that if the constitution passed by a large 
margin, the Sunni population will claim fraud and 
ballot stuffing by the Shia and Kurds.  He 
thought a narrow win would be more credible.  He 
also said he was frustrated with the lack of time 
available for Iraqis to obtain and understand the 
constitution.  Poloff reminded him the Iraqi 
newspapers could have printed it, and the 
protracted negotiations of which Zubaidi was a 
part delayed printing and distribution of the 
text.  Zubaidi didn't argue. 
 
8.  (C)  Hatem al-Mukhlis, Editor of Al Watan 
newspaper and Tikrit native, told PolOff on 
October 15 that he didn't like the constitution 
very much but he had urged people to vote in the 
referendum.  He was upset by reports today of 
Sunni clerics in Baghdad's Adhamiya neighborhood 
allegedly telling people to boycott the vote. 
This same "nonsense" in January caused the 
political troubles of today, he commented. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
9.  (C)  We will be attentive to allegations of 
irregularities during the voting even as everyone's 
attention shifts to the vote count.  Calls from 
journalists and our political contacts suggests 
that most people are watching with greatest 
interest the outcome in Ninewah and Salah ad-Din 
to determine if the draft constitution passed. 
Khalilzad

 


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