Home | Government | WikiLeaks Information

WikiLeaks: 2006-05-11: 06BAGHDAD1562: Ja'afari's Farewell: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

by WikiLeaks. 06BAGHDAD1562: May 11, 2006.

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 04:12 PM UTC


If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BAGHDAD1562 2006-05-11 06:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy
DE RUEHGB #1562/01 1310634
P 110634Z MAY 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001562 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2016 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. 
Ford for   Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  At a lavish farewell lunch hosted 
by President Talabani for outgoing Prime Minister 
Ibrahim al-Ja'afari on May 8, the entire Iraqi 
political world showed up to pay their respects.  In 
the end, however, Ja'afari's farewell mirrored his 
tenure as Prime Minister as all those present barely 
acknowledged the guest of honor, consumed with the 
ongoing cabinet formation negotiations and jockeying 
over prime Cabinet positions.  END SUMMARY. 
All of Iraq Turns Out to Say Goodbye... 
2. (C) At a lavish farewell lunch hosted by 
President Jalal Talabani on May 8, the entire Iraqi 
political world showed up to pay their respects to 
outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari. 
Flanking Ja'afari at the high table were Talabani 
and Deputy President Adil Abd al-Mahdi; on either 
side of them were the Ambassador, Nuri Kamal al- 
Maliki, Adnan al-Dulaymi, Rowsch Shaways, Ahmad 
Chalabi, Tariq al-Hashimi and others.  All the 
political and religious blocs were represented, 
including the spiritual head of the Yazidis, Prince 
Hazem Tahsin Said, and the Chaldo-Assyrian 
(Catholic) Patriarch Emmanuel Delly. In addition, 
the diplomatic corps in Iraq was invited, including 
Iranian Ambassador-Designate to Iraq Khazemi-Qomi. 
Notably absent, however, was former Prime Minister 
Ayad Allawi, who opted not to attend. 
3. (C) The event took place at the former Baghdad 
University Visitors' Center, a large plot of land 
along the river, on a winding country road near 
Talabani's residence.  It had been converted into a 
private club, according to Talabani's Chief of Staff 
Kamran Karadaghi, and is run by a Kurd.  Foreign 
Ministry Chief of Staff and Council of 
Representatives (CoR) member Fawzi Hariri confirmed 
Karadaghi's information, stating that it is the most 
modern and youthful of the private clubs in Baghdad, 
unlike the Saddam-era Hunting Club. 
...Sort Of 
4. (C) Ja'afari's farewell lunch appeared to 
resemble his tenure as Prime Minister - people 
wandered in and out of the venue, most of his 
cabinet sat apart from him, and no one thought to 
offer a farewell toast or speech commemorating his 
administration.  Instead, the guests immediately sat 
down to eat, and then, led by Chaldo-Assyrian 
Patriarch Delly, all lined up to shake hands and 
wish him well at the end of the lunch. 
5. (C) There were, however, some interesting 
tableaux: Minister of Defense Sa'adun Dulime sat 
with Minister of Interior Bayan Jabr al-Solagh and 
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; Qubad Talabani sat 
near his father; new Kurdish COR members Ala 
Talabani and Tania Gilly compared notes for the next 
session; Saleh Mutlak sat in the back with some 
companions from his Hewar National Front; Shia 
independents Qassim Daud and Deputy Speaker Khalid 
al-Atiya chatted in a corner as new Fadhila member 
Ali al-Dabbagh looked on.  After the formal lunch 
was finished, as guests were milling about with 
coffee, Khalid al-Atiya was seen talking earnestly 
to Mohammad al-Hakim.  A few feet away, Chalabi 
tried in vain to defend himself from accusations by 
Iraqiyya's Safia al-Suhail that he deliberately 
leaked 4-year old pictures of her sister dancing at 
her wedding in Amman to Shia Islamist paper Al- 
Baynaa.  He fled after she accused him of being 
corrupt, dishonest, and treacherous: "Don't call me 
crazy! I've known you since we were 18 years old; I 
know every trick of yours," she scolded.  She then 
whirled around and grabbed a bewildered Bayan Jabr 
al-Solagh and demanded that he investigate Chalabi. 
A Snapshot of Conversations During the Lunch 
BAGHDAD 00001562  002 OF 002 
6. (C) Before the event, Presidency media adviser 
Hiwa Osman pulled PolOff aside to warn about 
Ministry of Health officials demanding foreign 
journalists give blood samples before entering or 
leaving Iraq to test for AIDS.  Osman had received a 
letter of complaint from a prominent news 
organization asking for a resolution.  During lunch, 
Fawzi Hariri whispered for assistance in 
facilitating the Iranian delegation's entry through 
the International Zone next weekend to present 
diplomatic credentials to Talabani.  Patriotic Union 
of Kurdistan member Tania Gilly greeted PolOffs 
during the desserts and complained about spending 
over an hour arguing with new CoR members about the 
MCI phones. Apparently, the new CoR members were 
refusing to use the US Embassy sponsored phones for 
fear they would be spied upon: as a result, they 
were asking for Iraqna phones instead, Gilly sighed 
in exasperation.  Talabani also introduced the 
spiritual leader of the Yazidis, Prince Hazem Tahsin 
Said, to the Ambassador, characterizing him as "one 
of the good guys in Iraq."  (NOTE:  In appears that 
there is some controversy over whether Said does 
represent all Yazidis; he has allegedly described 
the Yazidis as a sub sect of Kurds, earning him 
Talabani's approval and alienating those Yazidis who 
are seeking political and social recognition as a 
separate ethnic group.  END NOTE) 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Horse-Trading Continues Over Government Formation 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
7. (C) In a side conversation, al-Dabbagh informed 
PolOff that he had been told he would be Fadhila's 
nominee for the Ministry of Trade. He lamented that 
it was very difficult getting Fadhila to understand 
the subtleties of negotiation in Baghdad, and 
appeared to regret his decision to join the party 
rather than remain an independent.  In another 
aside, Karadaghi pointed to al-Suhail and said 
dismissively, "She's the only one who thinks she can 
be a Deputy Prime Minister; she's better off taking 
the Women's Affairs ministry before the offer 
expires."  Hariri expressed frustration that the 
Sadrists were refusing to relinquish the 
Transportation ministry (NOTE: This is the only 
position Hariri really wants to have.  END NOTE). 
Hariri steadfastly insisted that the Kurds did not 
recognize the "Shia-imposed" points system for 
awarding ministries.  Saleh Mutlak provided some 
much-needed levity as he solemnly told another 
PolOff that he was destined to be the "Divine 
Foreign Minister" and that only he could save the 
ministry - but he'd also accept Agriculture, Trade, 
Electricity, or the Commission on Public Integrity. 
8. (C) It is to Talabani's credit that he hosted a 
lunch for his political nemesis, despite Karadaghi's 
tongue-in-cheek comment that so many people were 
invited so that they could attest that Ja'afari was 
actually leaving.  This was a relatively peaceful 
transition of power, and provides some hope for 
Iraq's political future.  What remains to be seen is 
whether Prime Minister-elect Nuri Kamal al-Maliki 
can learn from Ja'afari's missteps and whether the 
new President-Prime Minister duo will work together 
better than the old one. 


Government ForumGovernment Forum

WikiLeaks InformationWikiLeaks Information

Do you have any related information or suggestions? Please email them.
AIM | Atour: The State of Assyria | Terms of Service