Iraqi TV Reactions to Baghdad Conference
The Open Source Center has summaries of Iraqi television sources.
|Iraqi TV Channels Carry Reactions To Baghdad Conference 10 Mar|
Iraq — OSC Summary
Saturday, March 10, 2007 T22:06:30Z
The following is a roundup of reactions to the 10 March Baghdad International Conference by the following Iraqi television channels:
— Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic — Independent, private news and entertainment channel focusing on Iraq, run by Sa’d al-Bazzaz, publisher of the Arabic-language daily Al-Zaman
— Baghdad Al-Iraqiyah Television in Arabic — government-sponsored television station, run by the Iraqi Media Network
— Baghdad Al-Furat Television Channel in Arabic — Television channel affiliated with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) led by Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim
— Cairo Al-Rafidayn Satellite Channel in Arabic — Pro-Sunni, anti-US Iraqi channel believed to be affiliated with the Association of Muslim Scholars
— Cairo Al-Baghdadiyah Satellite Television in Arabic — Private Iraqi television known for its opposition to the US presence in Iraq
— Baghdad Baghdad Satellite Television in Arabic — television channel believed to be sponsored by the Iraqi Islamic Party, in addition to selected Iraqi websites.
Al-Furat Television at 1020 GMT carries live a telephone interview with its correspondent to report on the conference. He says that 16 countries are represented at the conference including the five permanent UN Security Council member countries and Iraq’s neighboring countries, in addition to representatives of the Arab League and the OIC. He then cites statements from the speeches of Zebari and Al-Maliki. He also cites a statement by Al-Sadr trend voicing support for the conference.
At 1025 GMT, Al-Furat carries live a telephone interview with political analyst Uday Abu-Tubaykh. He highlights the fact that the conference is held at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad.
At 1811 GMT on 10 March, Al-Furat Television carries live a telephone interview with Wa’il Abd-al-Latif, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, to comment on the Baghdad conference.
Abd-al-Latif says that the conference is “an important and positive step,” noting the conference has achieved “new and important results” as some of the main political powers met face to face for the first time during this conference. He notes that the Iraqis do not want neighboring countries to interfere in the Iraqi affairs and policies. Al-Sharqiyah TV
Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic is observed between 0600-1100 GMT on 10 March to carry factual reports on Baghdad regional conference.
— At 1215 GMT, Baghdad television interviews live Political Science Professor at Baghdad University Hazim al-Shammari on the Baghdadi Conference. He says that he has noticed “flexibility” in the vision of the government and the parliament, hoping that this would not be a tactic but a strategy based on the demands of and interests of the Iraqi people.
— Within its 1700 GMT newscast on 10 March, Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic carries a live satellite interview with Syrian Expatriates Affairs Minister Buthaynah Sha’ban to elicit her remarks on the Syrian role in the Baghdad international conference.
Sha’ban begins by saying: “In fact, from the very beginning of the war on Iraq, Syria has been working with Iraq’s neighbors in order to find solutions for this occupation and for the hefty price that the Iraqi people are paying as a result of this illegitimate US occupation. However, the problem lies in the fact that the United States rejected to hold any talks with neighboring countries and wanted to be solely responsible for any solutions.”
Sha’ban goes on to say: “When the situation has become so horrible in Iraq, the United States decided to meet with Iraq’s neighboring countries,” noting that Syria welcomes such as a step because it alleviates the suffering of the Iraqi people. She also says that the US’s decision to engage Iraq’s neighboring countries in dialogue came “late,” noting that it is “better late than never.”
Sha’ban argues that Syria is “very keen on the Iraqi people and Iraq,” stressing that “when Iraq is stable, Syria will be stable as well.”
Asked about the possible outcome of the Baghdad conference, Sha’ban notes that this conference is “a preliminary step” as the situation in Iraq, she adds, “is very difficult and complicated.”
Within its 1800 GMT newscast, Al-Sharqiyah reports: “Many observers said that not much hope can be pinned on the outcome of the conference because there was no concluding statement at lease to support the political process in Iraq. The participants only held consecutive and quick news conferences that focused on secondary topics and did not focus on finding solutions for the aggravating problems that Iraq is suffering from.”
At 0903 GMT, Al-Iraqiyah Channel carries a live studio interview with Ali al-Awsi, an Iraqi politician and media personality.
Commenting on Al-Maliki’s opening speech at the Baghdad international conference, Al-Awsi describes the speech as “highly important.” He adds that the speech communicated a message to Iraq’s regional community, a second message to the international community, and a third message to the Iraqi people. He further characterizes the speech as “moderate, strong, and comprehensive.” He maintains that the speech summed up the overall political process in Iraq. He notes the remarks Al-Maliki made to the effect that the constitution will be reconsidered “based on the mechanisms enshrined in it.” Al-Maliki was referring to the controversial provisions enshrined in the constitution, Al-Awsi notes.
In conclusion, Al-Awsi says: “The message that Nuri al-Maliki addressed to Iraqis is a message of affirmation and assurance, a message to the effect that the Iraqi Government, the current Iraqi national government, the government of Mr Nuri al-Maliki, remains committed, as it has been since its inception, to the principle of national reconciliation, to the principle of national dialogue — to the principle of the national reconciliation plan. Hence, it is a call for others to show commitment, cooperation, solidarity, and to renounce violence, disunity, and everything that could hurt Iraq at present and in the future. It is a call for agreeing on common denominators.”
Al-Iraqiyah at 1028 GMT conducts a live telephone interview with Iraqi MP Wa’il Abd-al-Latif, who says: “This conference was held at the Foreign Ministry premises to give an unequivocally clear message to the effect that the Iraqi Government is not hiding in the Green Zone, but rather enjoys sovereignty at the venue of the two recent bombings involving people wearing explosive belts.”
— At 1205 GMT, an unidentified Al-Iraqiyah anchorwoman conducts a live satellite interview with Iraqi Government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. When asked about the most important topics discussed at the Baghdad conference, Al-Dabbagh says: “All speakers, all those who attended this conference, agreed that the achievement of security and stability in Iraq would serve their interests, and reflects a duty, and that this is a mission conducted by Iraqis with the backing and support of the neighboring countries. This is the general view to which all those who spoke at the morning session subscribed. It goes without saying that the mere convening of the conference in Baghdad provides highly significant support for the political process that is under way in Iraq, offers significant support for the current elected government, and provides support for the Iraqis’ efforts to enforce stability, and combat this pervasive violence, which is now threatening all regional countries. “
Al-Dabbagh says that this conference will “give an opportunity for those who differ on other issues to seek consensus on the Iraqi question, and on the need to achieve stability.”
When asked about the expected recommendations of the conference, Al-Dabbagh says: “I think that the attendance of neighboring states in these circumstances which we are experiencing is a highly advanced step toward dealing with the Iraqi question from a new perspective, based on the view that regional countries are duty bound to contribute to achieving stability in Iraq. I think that the arrival of these delegations in Baghdad is a highly positive step. We think that these states are positively inclined to support the political process in Iraq. The recommendations that could be issued, or the statement that might be issued will express clear support for the ongoing political process in Iraq, express support for the government, and also express support for the efforts of all Iraqis.”
— Afterward, Al-Iraqiyah carries the following announcer-read report over video: “The heads of the Turkish and Egyptian delegations have affirmed that their participation in the Baghdad conference is meant to support Iraq in all areas. They indicated that the said conference is a beginning, and that similar conferences will be held in the future.”
Then, Iraqi Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Labid Abbawi is shown saying: “This conference will open the horizons for greater cooperation with Iraq, and consequently for greater international and regional presence in Iraq. This will also give us further motivation to organize meetings regarding both Iraq and the region so that Iraq may restore its regional and international status.”
— At 1209 GMT, the channel carries the following announcer-read report over video: “Citizens today expressed optimism over the convening of the Baghdad international conference for supporting Iraq, affirming that this reflects positive indicators of the success of the political process in Iraq. They indicated that the convening of this conference at this point in time is a clear signal confirming the failure of the attempts to obstruct the democratic process of the Iraqi people.” He adds: “The message delivered by His Excellency the prime minister is balanced, frank, and strong — it demonstrates that Iraq holds a strategic location, that it wields great economic leverage, and that its security is an indivisible part of world security, which is affected by security in Iraq.”
Abd-al-Latif says that the neighboring countries that are influencing the security situation in Iraq, particularly Syria and Iran, are attending the conference. He adds: “I also recall the role of Saudi Arabia, through the group of takfiris who entered Iraq to change its identity and build an Islamic state headed by Usama Bin Ladin and the takfiris.”
At 1628 GMT, Al-Iraqiyah Television carries a new episode of its “Our Security is Our Hope” talk show presented by Aziz Rahim. The program, which discusses Baghdad international conference, hosts live via satellite from Baghdad Ali al-Adib, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.
Asked about the practical steps that will be taken after the conference, Al-Adib says: “This is a political conference. The Iraqi Government has invited the countries which attended the conference, including the permanent member states of the Security Council, so that the conference will produce positive results and make binding decisions on the parties which are to blame for the current lack of security in Iraq. There should be frankness in the discussions among the parties attending the conference, including the neighboring countries, which have interrelated relations and which are engaged in a race on the Iraqi political arena, and the big countries, like the United States and Britain.”
Al-Adib says: “Judging from the speeches delivered by the representatives of these countries, the situation was positive. These countries came to Iraq to support the political process in Iraq. Speeches, however, do not reflect real intentions. If conflicts in the Middle East between these countries and other countries are settled, then this will reduce security tension in Iraq and Iraq will move toward political stability.”
Within its 1700 GMT newscast, Al-Iraqiyah television carries the following report:
“The heads of the Turkish and Egyptian delegations assert that their participation in Baghdad conference is aimed at supporting Iraq in all spheres. They noted that the said conference will be followed by similar conferences in the future.”
In the report, Labid Abawi, under secretary of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, is shown saying: “This conference will lead to bigger horizons for cooperation with Iraq. It will also lead to a bigger regional and international presence in Iraq. This will prompt us to organize meetings on Iraq and the region. This way Iraq will restore its regional and international status.”
Hani Khilaf, under secretary of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, is shown saying: “The neighboring countries will focus on all that which will benefit Iraq, the Iraqis, and the Iraqi Government. The Arab League Council has recently adopted a resolution asserting this support and asserting that the march of Iraq and the Iraqis hinges on the support of the neighboring countries and the international community.” Al-Baghdadiyah TV
Al-Baghdadiyah at 1110 GMT carries a live interview with its correspondent in Baghdad at conference. The correspondent offers a factual account about the representation and proceedings of the conference. He then notes that the discussions among the United States, Syria, and Iran as part of this conference might lead to a breakthrough in the situation in Iraq, especially since Iran and Syria have always been accused of “exporting terrorism.”
At 1644 GMT on 10 March, Al-Baghdadiyah Television carries live a talk show on the significance of the Baghdad conference to Iraq, the reasons for holding the conference, and its outcome and effect on Iraq’s future.
The talk show hosts in studio Dr Muzhir al-Khafaji, an Iraqi political writer and analyst, and Dr Rif’at Sayyid Ahmad, director of the Yafo Center for Research and Studies. The talk show also hosts via satellite Dr Salim Abdallah al-Juburi, spokesman for the Iraqi Tawafuq Front, from Baghdad.
Dr Ahmad says that this conference has been held to save “the US occupation” and to ensure “a strategic withdrawal for the US occupation” as Washington has no other choice in “the Iraqi dilemma” but to withdraw, noting that the United States will keep US bases and agents inside in Iraq in order to control the Iraqi oil.
Dr Ahmad adds that the two main participants in the conference, namely Syria and Iran, do not agree on the US agenda, stressing that the Baghdad conference is “a conference without results or a conference for public relations.”
Dr Ahmad reiterates that the Baghdad conference “will result in nothing,” noting that the Arabs should make the Iraqi issue a pure Arab one. He stresses the need for the Arabs to play a key role in solving the Iraqi problem.
Dr Al-Juburi says that the Baghdad conference is “a positive step per se,” noting that there many “thorny” issues in the Iraqi arena that cannot be tackled and solved in one conference. Al-Juburi voices hope that there will be other conferences to help tackle and solve the Iraqi problem. Al-Khafaji notes that he thinks that the conference has been held “to settle scores” between the United States, Syria, and Iran. Al-Rafidayn
Cairo Al-Rafidayn Satellite Channel leads its 1830 GMT newscast with a report on Baghdad conference. The report notes that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called on the neighboring countries to “combat what he termed as terrorism and urged them not to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs.”
The channel then carries a video report on Iraqi citizens’ reactions to the conference.
An unidentified citizen says: “We hope that the conference will succeed. We believe that it will not succeed except through the cooperation of Iraq’s neighboring states to end the current tragedy and bloody war.”
An unidentified Iraqi cleric is shown saying: “The Iraqi people have suffered. Thus, they feel happy whenever someone extends his hand to help Iraq and salvage it from this dilemma.”
An unidentified Iraqi citizen says: “It will succeed if the intentions of the neighboring countries, especially Iran and Syria, and the United Nations are sincere.”
An Iraqi policeman says: “Iraq’s neighboring countries are not helping the Iraqis organize the political situation in the country. They send terrorists to Iraq. We hope that the meeting will be conclusive.” Baghdad Satellite Channel
Within its 1800 GMT newscast, Baghdad’s Baghdad Satellite Channel carries a telephone interview with Iraqi political analyst Dr Sa’d al-Hadithi on Baghdad conference.
Al-Hadithi says that this was a meeting and not a conference. He adds that “the situation in Iraq in the future — that is, after the meeting — will not be very different from what it was before the meeting.”
Asked about the conference that is scheduled to be held in Turkey in April, Al-Hadithi says that the government sought through this meeting to obtain a “regional political support and an international cover.” He adds that the United States sought through the conference to find “a way out of the dilemma it is facing in Iraq.”
The channel then carries an interview with Iyad al-Samarra’i, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the Iraqi Al-Tawafuq (Accord) Front.
Asked about his evaluation of the conference, Al-Samarra’i says: “This conference is different from other conferences due to several reasons. First of all, this conference was held in Iraq. Second, this is the first time proposals have been made to find a formula for dealing with resolutions.”
Asked whether the conference will bring the political process back to square one, Al-Samarra’i says that he does not think so. He says that the conference will seek to “amend the course of the political process taking into consideration a number of principles, including Iraqi national reconciliation.”
He adds that the conference stressed the “unity and independence of Iraq, non-interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, setting a timeframe for completing the building of Iraqi state institutions, and scheduling the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Iraq.”
— Adnan Pachachi, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the National List, expressed “his optimism about the success of the Baghdad international conference in finding a solution to Iraq’s crisis.”
— “In an exclusive statement to Baghdad Channel, Umar Abd-a-Sattar, member of the Council of Representatives for the Al-Tawafuq Front, said that convening Baghdad conference at this time is a step in the right direction and that the conferees must shoulder their moral and legal responsibilities, because Iraq is an occupied country. He said that the conferees should restore what Iraq has lost as a result of this occupation and regional countries’ interference in its internal affairs.”