wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06HILLAH38 2006-03-05 18:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL REO Hillah
Cable title:  

WASIT SISTANI REP RESIGNED TO INCREASING SADRIST INFLUENCE

Tags:   PGOV PINS PTER KISL KDEM IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8268
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHMOS
DE RUEHIHL #0038 0641835
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051835Z MAR 06
FM REO HILLAH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0567
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0552
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHIHL/REO HILLAH 0615
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L HILLAH 000038 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 3/5/2016
TAGS: PGOV PINS PTER KISL KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: WASIT SISTANI REP RESIGNED TO INCREASING SADRIST INFLUENCE

CLASSIFIED BY: AFRED FONTENEAU, REGIONAL COORDINATOR, REO,
AL-HILLAH, STATE.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C) SUMMARY. Former Transitional National Assembly member
and Wasit province representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali
Sistani, Habib Saman Al-Khateeb, expressed his frustration with
the rising influence of Sadrists in his hometown of Numaniyah
and across the province in a meeting with Regional Embassy
Office Al-Hillah staff on March 4. Al-Khateeb, who at the
request of Sistani, did not stand for election in the Council of
Representatives, strongly doubted that the incoming government,
regardless of its composition, would be able to effectively
control Moqtada al-Sadr and his affiliated militia. END SUMMARY



2. (C) Al-Khateeb, one of the most senior clerics in Wasit,
criticized the rising influence and power of Sadrists in his
hometown of Numaniyah and across South Central and Southern
Iraq. Armed Sadrist militiamen, according to Al-Khateeb, are
present in ever-increasing numbers on the streets of Numaniyah
and other cities in the region. While Al-Khateeb offered that
his mosque in Numaniyah still draws a larger following than the
nearby Sadrist mosque, he believed that the "re-generation" of
the Sadrist movement observed since an April 2004 uprising would
only continue to grow stronger.



3. (C) Al-Khateeb, reflecting on his experience in the
Transitional National Assembly, expressed his frustration at the
inability of the national or provincial governments to control
militias in general, and the Mahdi Milita in particular. He
described the inability of the Iraqi government and Coalition
Forces to decisively defeat Moqtada Al-Sadr and the Mahdi Milita
as the greatest disappointment of his political experience.
(NOTE. Al-Khateeb's son was killed by Sadrists during the 2004
attack on the Al-Kut office of the Coalition Provisional
Authority. END NOTE.) Al-Khateeb attributed the electoral
success of the Sadrists and the United Iraqi Alliance in part to
violent intimidation on the part of Sadrists. In general,
Al-Khateeb was very critical of his colleagues in the TNA,
asserting that most were in politics for personal gain.



4. (C) The incoming government, particularly if Prime Minister
Jafari returns for a second term, will be equally unsuccessful
in bringing the militias under control, Al-Khateeb offered.
Jafari, in his opinion, is beholden to the support of the
Sadrists and is unwilling and unable to disarm the Mahdi and
other sectarian militias. While Al-Khateeb fully agreed with the
U.S. insistence that the security ministries not be controlled
by persons with militia ties, he also doubted that in the end,
independent candidates could be found for the positions.



5. (C) Al-Khateeb also briefly addressed the Shi'a response to
the Samarra mosque bombing, detailing his efforts to appeal for
calm in the streets of Numaniyah in the days immediately
following the blast. Personally, Al-Khateeb added, he did not
blame the United States for the attack, but that he could not
say the same for the Shi'a of Iraq as a whole.



6. (C) COMMENT. Al-Khateeb, one of the most respected and senior
clerics in Wasit, viewed the end of his brief foray into
national politics with a mixture of relief and frustration. His
views on the rise of the Sadrists illustrate the difficult
choice faced by clerics in the Shi'a heartland. They can remain
above the fray and risk marginalization and the loss of their
constituency or engage in the worldly machinations of Shi'a
Islamist political parties and risk censure from the clerical
establishment.

FONTENEAU