C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 001750
STATE FOR NEA/ARP AND NEA/NGA
KUWAIT FOR ORHA
NSC FOR P/E KHALILZAD AND RHANSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/12/13
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPAO KDEM IZ TC
SUBJECT: IRAQI EXPATS IN UAE CONVEY MESSAGE TO
THE USG: HONOR YOUR PLEDGE TO THE
PEOPLE OF IRAQ
REF: Abu Dhabi 737
Â¶1. (U) Classified by Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba
for reasons 1.5 (B) and (D).
Â¶2. (U) This cable contains an action request, please
see paragraph 7.
Â¶3. (C) SUMMARY: Polchief -- after securing agreement
from the organizers that she would be in listening
mode only -- accepted an invitation to a 4/10 to a
gathering of Iraqi expatriates in the UAE organized
by Dr. Bashir Al-Samarrai (with whom Special
Presidential Envoy Dr. Khalilzad had met during his
February visit to the UAE, see reftel). Over 100
expats, most of them professionals, representing
Iraq's ethnic and religious mosaic attended the
private function held in a local hotel's conference
room. They presented an 11-point paper which they
asked Polchief to convey at the earliest possible
opportunity to the USG. The event proved to be a
forum both for an emotional outpouring of anti-
regime sentiment, as well as the expression of
continued deep concern about Iraq's immediate
humanitarian needs. Any jubilation over the
regime's demise had already been replaced by deep
anxiety over the scenes of chaos relayed by the
world's press (no doubt fueled by concern about the
fate of relatives still in Iraq).
Â¶4. (C) SUMMARY CONTINUED: Among those present was
the "Syed" (religious leader) of the powerful
Samarrai clan, who had left Iraq only two weeks ago.
He spoke eloquently about the need to respect the
religious, cultural and social customs of the people
of Iraq. Polchief learned from another attendee
that the head of the Al-Shammar tribe (Iraq's
largest tribe) is also visiting the UAE and was
warning that the tribe would not accept humiliating
treatment of its members by coalition forces, i.e.
the hooding of prisoners. From those Iraqi expats
who had managed to escape the regime much earlier,
the recent scenes of chaos and destruction back home
appeared to engender a strong desire to return
and/or assist with reconstruction as quickly as
possible -- perhaps resulting in part from what
appeared to be almost a sense of guilt that they had
escaped the worst of the regime and its death-throes
while so many Iraqis had not. These feelings led to
many questions about the precise mechanism for expat
Iraqis to return to serve their country. We are
sure other posts are being similarly queried and
would appreciate guidance on how we may respond.
Based on the strong representations of the expat
community here, it would appear that many in the
Iraqi diaspora are eager to make a positive
contribution -- one we should welcome. The group
agreed to form sub-committees and requested further
meetings with the Embassy. END SUMMARY.
FREE FROM THE WATCHFUL EYES OF THE MUKHABARAT, AN
IMPROMPTU GATHERING DRAWS A LARGE CROWD
Â¶5. (C) Approximately 100 members of the large Iraqi
expatriate gathered on April 10 to voice their
concerns about the future of Iraq. Dr. Bashir Al-
Samarrai, who met with Special Presidential Envoy
Khalilzad in February in the UAE, addressed the
group, carefully noting that those gathered did not
represent any political party. At the outset, Al-
Samarrai commented that the meeting was
extraordinary because, for the first time in thirty
years, Iraqis were able to gather without the fear
that their remarks would make it back to the regime.
They were grateful to the U.S. and the coalition but
expressed great anxiety about the road ahead. Al-
Samarrai read from an 11-point paper addressed to
the USG, titled "Iraq for All Iraqis and Equality
under the Law," the full text of which is contained
in the last paragraph of this cable. Following Al-
Samarrai's presentation, the floor was opened to
comments in what evolved into a lively give-and-take
during which those who have for too long muted their
voices spoke out freely about their homeland.
Highlights of both the formal presentation and the
informal give-and-take were:
-- The coalition must take immediate steps to stop
the looting, burning and, in particular, trashing of
the hospitals in Iraq. It is very disconcerting to
see coalition troops standing by while buildings are
-- We must take immediate steps to get supplies,
equipment and doctors into the hospitals. There are
no medicines, no anesthesia.
-- The destruction of ministries and government
buildings is wiping away evidence of the regime's
crimes. We must protect the documents with which we
can bring those who have committed crimes to
-- The sanctions must be lifted as soon as possible.
-- Travel restrictions must be lifted. Iraqi
expatriates must be allowed to return to see their
families and help in the rebuilding of their
-- Economic sanctions should be lifted.
-- War reparations and debts should be forgiven.
-- The frozen assets of the regime should be turned
over to a freely elected government, not to
opposition political leaders.
-- Above all, Iraqi's territorial integrity must be
respected as must the country traditions, religions
and socio-cultural institutions.
FORMAL LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Â¶6. (SBU) Beginning of text:
We are Iraqis from all walks of life and different
sectors of Iraqi society: Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans,
Muslims (Sunnis and Shi'as), Christians and others.
We were and are opposed to the dictatorial regime of
Saddam Hussein and look forward to the day of his
We are gathered here at this critical moment in
Iraq's history to share our thoughts and to express
our common desire and wish to convey a message to
the U.S. Government through our guest, Ms. Stephanie
Williams (the Head of the Political Section at the
U.S. Embassy in the UAE). We are all united in the
hope for the U.S. and the international community to
honor its pledge to Iraq's people by easing the
hardships and suffering of the people of Iraq by
taking the following steps:
A) The immediate end to the UN economic sanctions
imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War.
B) Waive the war reparations imposed on Iraq as a
result of the Gulf War.
C) Forgive all debts.
D) We urge the U.S. Government and members of the
International Community to protect all of Iraq's
assets by temporarily freezing these assets, pending
handover to a future legitimate Iraqi Government.
(Note: Al-Samarrai added that these assets should
not be given to some unnamed opposition figures who
have been asking for them.)
E) We would like to express our opposition to the
appointment of discredited leaders who lack
credibility and legitimacy and wish to make it very
clear that legitimacy is derived from the Iraqi
people, not by an outside power.
F) Iraq's oil belongs to the Iraqi people and no one
should have the right to decide its future, and
concession rights but the newly elected Government
of Iraq. (Note: Al-Samarrai commented that unnamed
Iraqi expats were contacting oil companies seeking
to negotiate contracts. End Note.)
G) We demand the immediate abolishment of all
institutions that have been used to oppress the
people of Iraq such as the Mukhbarat (Iraqi
Intelligence Service), the secret police and the
Aman Al-Khaas (special security) and the trial of
all those who have been responsible for committing
H) We demand the reorganization of the armed forces
in order to purge it from all elements that have
contributed to Saddam's crimes and the armed forces
must be subordinate to the people through its
elected government and must serve the Iraqi
I) We call upon the U.S. and the British forces to
show respect and sensitivity towards the people of
Iraq and their religious, cultural and social
J) We aspire that a semblance of normality return as
soon as possible. This is to ensure that the
disruptions caused by the war on the educational and
health establishments, and other institutions that
serve the nation are minimized and adequate
resources are directed to these institutions to
bolster their effectiveness.
K) We demand that all travel restrictions to our
beloved country are lifted as soon as possible.
We declare our "Commitment to Democracy" and the
rule of law.
The new democratic system in Iraq must be based on
the respect for human rights, separation of powers
(executive, legislative, judicial) and the
separation of religion from the state.
END OF TEXT
Â¶7. (SBU) Post requests guidance on how to direct
those Iraqis interested in returning to Iraq, when
conditions permit, to serve in the Interim Authority
or future governing body or simply to take up their
lives there. Will there, for instance, be a
screening mechanisms, entry permits, etc.? We also
request guidance on how to respond to requests from
this group for future meetings with Embassy