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Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD63, IRAQ'S SUNNI VP DISCUSSES BAGHDAD SECURITY PLAN,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD63 2007-01-07 18:06 2010-12-05 12:12 SECRET Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO1455
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0063/01 0071841
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 071841Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8965
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000063 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQ'S SUNNI VP DISCUSSES BAGHDAD SECURITY PLAN, 
MODERATE FRONT, SADDAM AND IRAN 

REF: A. A) BAGHDAD 0008 
B. B) 2006 BAGHDAD 4652 
C. C) 2006 BAGHDAD 4763 

Classified By: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (S) Summary: In a January 4 meeting with Iraq's Sunni Vice 
President Tariq al-Hashemi (Iraqi Islamic Party ) IIP), the 
Ambassador briefed him on the new Baghdad security plan and 
solicited the VP's support. Al-Hashemi welcomed a new plan 
to curb Baghdad violence, requested Shia and Sunni balance 
within the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) manning checkpoints, 
and agreed that an increased number of MNF-I troops are 
needed in order for the plan to succeed. Discussing a 
possible cabinet change, the VP said that Prime Minister 
Maliki has not approached him about changing any of Tawafuq's 
(Sunni Coalition) Ministers or their Deputy Prime Minister. 
Al-Hashemi stressed that before Tawafuq agrees to change its 
Ministers, the Minister of Defense, Abdul Qadir Mohammed 
al-Mufriji, (Sunni ) Independent ) Tawafuq) must be 
replaced with another Tawafuq candidate. The VP criticized 
the way the GOI executed Saddam and expressed concern that 
because of their actions the reconciliation project is now 
"dead." On the moderate front, al-Hashemi said that during 
his recent trip to Sulaymaniyah with President Talabani he 
had agreed to change IIP's conditions (reftel) to a program 
for the coalition to address. However, the VP warned, the PM 
has been unable to convince Dawa to support the coalition. 
The Ambassador and VP discussed how to address the issue of 
GOI officials with close ties to foreign countries, such as 
Iran, with the VP recommending that the GOI "start from 
scratch" and hold new elections. End Summary. 

--------------------------------------------- ------- 
The Baghdad Security Plan: Al-Hashemi Offers Support 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

2. (S) The Ambassador outlined the chief components of the 
new Baghdad Security Plan and called on the VP to support the 
PM and this plan. First, Coalition Forces (CF) and Iraqi 
Security Forces (ISF) will pursue anyone who breaks the law. 
There will be no sanctuary anywhere in greater Baghdad, the 
Ambassador emphasized. Second, Baghdad will be divided into 
nine districts overseen by two deputy commanders reporting 
directly to a military commander with full authority 
operating independently of political pressures. Finally, the 
security plan will be accompanied by economic and services 
plan. In order to secure Baghdad, the Ambassador said, the 
Iraqi Army (IA) will bring three extra brigades to Baghdad, 
two from northern Iraq and one from the South, working 
alongside an extra US brigade. The coalition will support by 
bringing more forces into Iraq and committing additional 
forces to be brought in if needed. The details will be 
worked out in the coming days. 

3. (S) The VP responded that National Security Advisor 
Muwafuq Rubai'e had already presented the plan to him. "I 
gave him four pages of comments," the VP said, and also "sent 
a copy to General Casey." He reiterated previous concerns 
about Shia-Sunni balance within the ISF, especially at 
checkpoints. The Deputy Commander in Karkh should be from 
the Ministry of Defense, al-Hashemi stated, and the Deputy 
Commander in Rasafa should be from Ministry of Interior. The 
VP agreed that more forces, both Coalition and Iraqi, would 
be needed to solve Baghdad's security crisis. 

--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
Cabinet Reshuffle: Minister of Defense Needs to Be Replaced 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 

4. (C) The Ambassador asked about the proposed cabinet 
change, noting that the PM said Tawafuq wants to change three 
ministries but has not provided any substitutions. The VP 
scoffed, saying that the PM wants those changes, not Tawafuq. 
The PM will not tell us who he wants changed, al-Hashemi 
complained, and is choosing to form a committee to review the 
issue. One of the changes the PM wants to make, he 
continued, is to move Tawafuq's Minister of State for Foreign 
Affairs, Rafi'a al-Issawi, to Minister of Health (MoH). The 
Ambassador noted that this is a great opportunity for 
Tawafuq, since that ministry has been "destroyed" by its 
current Sadrist Minister and al-Issawi will be "a hero" for 
fixing it. The VP commented that there are "too many guns 
and killers" at the MoH and that key people need to be 
removed or else al-Issawi "will be killed" by the Jaysh 
al-Mahdi (JAM) and Moqtada al-Sadr supporters working there. 

5. (C) The VP noted that before Tawafuq agrees to any 
ministerial changes, Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir 
al-Mufriji must be replaced. Tawafuq has sent a clear 

BAGHDAD 00000063 002 OF 003 


message to al-Mufirji, al-Hashemi said, that he should 
resign. "We were forced by the Shia coalition" to place an 
independent Sunni in this position, the VP lamented. 
However, al-Hashemi said, the PM is the boss, the 
Commander-in-Chief, and he is not independent. The Minister 
of Defense makes sectarian issues worse by "simply 
implementing the PM's ideas," al-Hashemi stressed. His 
replacement, therefore, should come from Tawafuq. The 
Ambassador noted that the PM has not decided the extent of 
his cabinet change and that the Minister of Defense might not 
be replaced. Besides, the Ambassador noted, our military 
colleagues say al-Mufriji has a good reputation as an honest 
and non-sectarian minister. 

--------------------------------------------- ------ 
Saddam's Execution: Reconciliation "Dead" VP Warns 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 

6. (S) Turning to Saddam's execution, the VP stated that 
nobody had consulted with President Talabani, although he 
noted that he had sent Rubaie a letter prior to the 
execution. Al-Hashemi commented that Talabani believed his 
signature was not required because of a legal statute which 
states high tribunal sentences cannot be changed. The 
Ambassador noted he had been told the same thing, and that he 
had recommended that the PM press the Chief Justice for a 
written opinion concurring with this assessment. Al-Hashemi 
said he had also suggested that a judge put in writing his 
opinion that a Presidential decree was unnecessary. 

7. (S) The Ambassador then asked the VP whether the PM or his 
advisors had approached him before the execution. The VP 
said that he had not been consulted, although prior to the 
execution he sent a letter to both the PM and Rubai'e sharing 
concerns raised by Salah ad Din (SaD) officials during a 
December 28 meeting (Ref A). The letter, the VP continued, 
requested three days notice to address security issues in 
SaD, Saddam's home province, and recommended that the GOI 
release Saddam's remains to the SaD Governor for burial. 
According to the VP, Rubai'e responded that it would not be 
possible to provide three days notice since the PM is keeping 
all details "a secret until the last minute." Rubai'e 
further stated, al-Hashemi said, that he would try to give 
notice at least one hour before the event. 

8. (S) In addition to the legal issues and returning Saddam's 
remains to SaD, the VP said he also spoke to the PM about 
rushing through the execution during Eid. According to 
al-Hashemi, the PM responded that it was "your Eid, not 
mine," and noted that the religious leaders had confirmed 
that if Saddam was executed before sunrise it would not occur 
during Eid. (Note: Saddam was executed approximately one 
hour before sunrise on December 30, the day which Sunni 
Muslims began celebrating Eid al-Adha. End Note). The VP 
noted that Saddam was executed "as a Sunni, not as a 
dictator," and called the execution "the revenge of the Dawa 
party." He further commented that reconciliation "was dead" 
because of how the execution occurred. 

9. (S) The Ambassador agreed that many people are upset with 
how the execution occurred. When asked why the USG had 
released Saddam Hussein when the GOI had not resolved some of 
these issues, the Ambassador responded that Iraq had legal 
custody of Saddam, although at GOI's request we had physical 
custody. "We voiced our concerns," the Ambassador said, but 
in the end the PM made the final decision. Based on Saddam's 
execution, the VP suggested that MNF-I encourage the PM to 
postpone the remaining two executions until reconciliation 
has concluded. 

--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
Moderate Front: IIP Relents on Conditions; Dawa will not join 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 

10. (C) The Ambassador noted that efforts to form a moderate 
front have stalled and asked the VP where IIP stands on their 
list of demands which must be met before joining the 
coalition. The VP replied that while visiting Sulaymaniyah 
with President Talabani, IIP agreed to change their 
conditions (Ref B) to an agenda the moderate front would 
address. In fact, al-Hashemi said, IIP had issued an amended 
statement to this effect and had passed it to Rowsch Shaways 
(former Iraqi Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister ) 
Kurd ) KDP) and current Vice President Adil Abdul Mehdi 
(SCIRI). They took the amended statement to the PM, 
al-Hashemi said. The problem, the VP continued, is that the 
PM has been unable to convince Dawa to join the coalition. 
According to the VP, the PM has said that as a political 
party leader he cannot join the coalition, but as the PM he 
could form a group with the Presidency Council (the President 

BAGHDAD 00000063 003 OF 003 


and two VPs) and the Council of Representatives (CoR) 
speaker, Mahmoud Mashadani. The Ambassador responded that it 
would be better if the coalition formed around political bloc 
leaders. There could be constitutional concerns if a new 
alliance between official positions forms, the Ambassador 
cautioned. The VP said that once Abdul Mehdi returns to 
Baghdad he is willing to discuss the issue again. 

--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
On Iranian Influence in the GOI: VP suggests new elections 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 

11. (S) On the Iranian detainees, the Ambassador commented 
that President Talabani called these people his "guests," but 
he did not even know who they are, the Ambassador said. The 
VP responded that Iran's activities within Iraq and their 
connections to GOI officials have not been a secret. "I have 
been warning about Iran's influence for some time," he said. 
The VP offered his appreciation for General Caldwell's 
presentation (Ref C), but noted the General only shared 
"things I already knew." The Ambassador asked the VP what 
should be done with GOI leaders who are working with Quds 
Force operatives. The VP replied that the GOI needs "to 
start from scratch," with new elections and needs to 
strengthen a weak central government. While affirming his 
commitment to democracy and rule of law, the VP noted that 
there are "problems" with some of the political partners. 
The VP further commented that Iran's reach extends beyond 
SCIRI, Badr and the Sadrists. He explained his belief that 
CoR Speaker Mahmoud Mashadani (Tawafuq) is also influenced by 
the Iranians and noted that several Sunni insurgent and 
resistance groups have received Iranian support. 

12. (S) Al-Hashemi asked the Ambassador about the GOI's 
actions once MNF-I released the detainees. The Ambassador 
commented that while he shares concerns about Iranian 
influence, the GOI took some positive steps during this 
incident. First, he said, once MNF-I released the detainees, 
the GOI ordered them to leave Iraq and escorted them to the 
Iranian border. Second, the MFA issued a statement 
announcing their departure and stated publicly that "their 
activities had been inconsistent with their diplomatic 
status." Third, the GOI has requested an updated list of 
Iranian diplomats in Iraq so that in the future it will be 
easier to verify diplomatic status. Finally, the GOI is 
sending a delegation to Iran, most likely led by Deputy Prime 
Minister Barham Salih, to discuss the incident and its 
implications. The Ambassador asked why the VP and IIP have 
not made a bigger deal about the issue. The VP responded 
that IIP is more concerned about reconciliation and that he 
fears making a big deal about the Iranians and their ties 
with other GOI leaders will hinder the reconciliation effort. 
KHALILZAD