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Viewing cable 09BAGHDAD759, SALAH AD DIN: YUNIS BA'ATH FACTION SEEKS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD759 2009-03-19 13:01 2010-12-05 12:12 SECRET Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO3887
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0759/01 0781338
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 191338Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2293
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000759 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: SALAH AD DIN: YUNIS BA'ATH FACTION SEEKS 
RECONCILIATION; SAYS IT CAN SPLIT AL DURI'S FACTION 

REF: BAGHDAD 598 

Classified By: PRT Salah Ad Din Leader Rick Bell for reasons 1.4 (b) an 
d (d). 

(U) This is a PRT Salah Ad Din (SAD) reporting cable. See 
action request for Department and Embassy Baghdad, para 11. 

1. (S) SUMMARY: Men purporting to represent the Muhammad 
Yunis Ahmed (MYA) faction of the Ba'ath Party (BP) told 
Coalition Forces (CF) and the PRT on March 14 that the 
faction wants to reconcile now, and can bring some of Izzat 
Ibrahim al-Duri's IAD faction along. MYA is ready to meet 
with a senior USG official, they said. They stressed that 
they were speaking in confidence: fearing for their own 
safety, they have not yet contacted the Government of Iraq 
(GOI). PRT requests Department and Embassy assistance in 
determining their bona fides. END SUMMARY. 

2. (S) On March 14, the PRT and CF met with four men who 
identified themselves as senior Ba'ath Party officials. They 
provided the following unconfirmed information about 
themselves: 

- XXXXXXXXXXXX     Was three-star general and 
division commander under Saddam; XXXXXXXXXXXX

- XXXXXXXXXXXX Member of SaD Sheikhs' Council, 
chairman of the Ad-Dawr Sheikhs' Council. Brigadier 
general in former regime. XXXXXXXXXXXX

- XXXXXXXXXXXX. Senior official in the former 
Iraqi Intelligence Services (commander of the five southern 
provinces). XXXXXXXXXXXX 

- XXXXXXXXXXXX. Former brigadier general in 
the air force  XXXXXXXXXXXX. 

3. (S) The men said they intended this meeting as a formal 
first step, personally authorized by Mohammed Yunis Ahmed 
(MYA), in seeking USG intervention to help reconcile the 
Ba'ath Party (BP) to the GOI. As MYA's putative spokesman, 
XXXXXXXXXXXXdid most of the speaking. This cable relays 
considerable detail in order to convey the level of 
discourse. XXXXXXXXXXXX passed a message that MYA is willing to 
meet personally with a high-level USG official to discuss 
reconciliation. 

4. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said the BP is organized and planning for the 
future. He explained that it has split into two groups, one 
following IAD and the other MYA. IAD is not willing to 
negotiate or admit that the BP ever made mistakes. MYA has 
been looking back and believes that Saddam's regime made many 
mistakes. His faction would like to find a peaceful way to 
participate in the democratic process. They have not yet been 
in touch with the GOI because they fear the GOI is under 
Iranian influence and will seek revenge against any BP 
members. MYA's group wants USG assistance to reconcile 
because it believes that after the U.S. leaves Iraq, it will 
be much harder to negotiate and if reconciliation is not 
already well underway by then, there will likely be 
bloodshed. XXXXXXXXXXXX 
said that there are about four million BP 
members who will need to protect themselves because Iranians 
and Shi'a will persecute them and their families. Some of 
IAD's supporters have told MYA's group that they also want to 
reconcile, even without IAD 

5. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX discussed BP dissatisfaction 
with the way Iraq has been run since the 2003 invasion. 
The BP was in existence for 62 years and in power for 35 years. It was 
very influential in building Iraqi society. All educated 
people today were educated under the old regime, which was 
built by the BP. Although there were problems during its 
Qbuilt by the BP. Although there were problems during its 
rule, the last six years have been "ten times worse." Two 
million Iraqis have been killed, two million displaced 
outside the country, and four million displaced internally. 
The U.S. bears a share of moral and legal responsibility for 
this. President Bush admitted that the invasion was based on 
false intelligence regarding WMD. Now the US has allowed 
Iran to develop nuclear capabilities, making that country a 
greater threat than it already was. The GOI is divided and 
corrupt, built on sectarianism. Under the BP all ethnic 
groups were included. What have the Iraqis gained for paying 
such a price? No infrastructure and poor basic services. 
The quality of life in Iraq has become worse. 

6. (S) The BP is not against democracy, XXXXXXXXXXXX
said, but fears sectarianism and Iranian influence. It wants to 

BAGHDAD 00000759 002 OF 002 


participate in political life and is against violence. The 
current democracy is built on sectarianism. This has led to 
strife, kidnappings and assassinations. Many now fear that 
the U.S. wants to turn Iraq over to Iran; just as Iran is led 
by the mullahs, GOI officials now consult Ayatollah Sistani 
before making decisions. Shiites show how irrational they 
are in the way they flagellate and beat themselves. The 
Shi'a are loyal to Iran; Iraq could be returning to medieval 
times. 

7. (S) The current Iraqi Army (IA) is poorly trained, more 
like a militia than a professional army, said Khalaf. The 
U.S. has signed a contract to turn over weapon systems to the 
IA; those weapons should be given to trained professionals. 
Many of the weapons will just end up in the hands of Shiite 
soldiers who are like militiamen. Not all of the IA are 
militias, some are professional, but the top leaders lack 
training. The best, most experienced senior officers are 
outside Iraq now or are just sitting around at home. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX said that MYA has issued an 
order that BP members are 
prohibited from serving in the new ISF. 

8. (S) The MYA faction now believes multi-party democracy is 
an option, XXXXXXXXXXXX continued. IAD does not agree 
with MYA, who wants to review BP activities and leadership 
from 1968 to the occupation, in order to identify mistakes and put in 
place a strategy for a changed party. IAD absolutely refuses 
and believes he should lead the BP. Because of this 
disagreement the BP had a conference in December 2007 that 
elected MYA as commander. The MYA faction believes the way 
forward must be peaceful, and refuses to use violence. If 
the BP is allowed to compete politically, the will of the 
people will decide. The party just wants the same 
opportunities as others; it wants to announce that the BP is 
back now. Even if it is forbidden to have meetings, the BP 
is "in our hearts and minds, it represents our values, so you 
cannot just get rid of it with a quick decision." People 
believe in the BP more now, and the BP includes all ethnic 
groups. The security agencies know that the BP did not 
commit crimes, actually it fought against AQI. The BP had 
longstanding problems with AQI before 2003, and suffered many 
losses. 

9. (S) So many Iraqis have been murdered by groups like 
Badr, Mahdi Army, former Interior Minister Solah, Quds Force, 
and others. The BP wants peace. Iran stopped the killing 
when CF started paying attention to the connection of 
Iranians to the violence, but after the U.S. leaves, it will 
start again. PM Maliki's words are empty. Iran is getting 
revenge for the Iran-Iraq War. A month ago, the GOI banned 
the use of the word "martyr" for soldiers killed during the 
war with Iran. Now those dead soldiers are referred to as 
"victims of the past regime." This takes away their honor 
for serving their country as soldiers during the war. BP is 
not so narrow-minded now. It wants to have an army that 
represents everybody. The Iraqi Constitution was written too 
quickly and is filled with problems. Iraq has the trappings 
of democracy such as ballot boxes, but sectarianism corrupts 
the result. President Obama said U.S. forces are leaving, so 
"we have no more problems with you now" - help us get the ban 
on the BP lifted, and pardon the loyal nationalist insurgents. 

10. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX and his colleagues stressed 
that they were speaking in confidence to the USG. 
They explained that they  had not approached the GOI yetbecause 
they fear they will be arrested even though the GOI does not 
have warrants for them. Qarrested even though the GOI does 
not have warrants for them. "Ninety-five percent of us did 
nothing wrong. If there are criminals then try them under
 the criminal laws, but allow us to bring back the BP." 

11. (S) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST: PRT requests Embassy 
and Department assistance in verifying the bona fides of 
XXXXXXXXXXXX Nassir, et al. The PRT will work with CF try to 
determine whether the delegation truly represents MYA. It is 
not clear whether there is any connection between this 
meeting and the PRT Tikrit Satellite representative's 
discussion of similar issues with Sheikh Hassan Nida of 
Saddam's tribe, Albu Nasser (reftel). END COMMENT AND ACTION 
REQUEST. 
BUTENIS