|08BAGHDAD3571||2008-11-12 09:43:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Baghdad|
VZCZCXRO8654 PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHGB #3571 3170943 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 120943Z NOV 08 FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0326 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 003571
1. (SBU) Summary: The PRT recently obtained a half-page flyer
from Muqtada al-Sadr that was being distributed near the
al-Husayn and al-Abbas shrines in Karbala. In the half-page,
photocopied message, Muqtada urges his followers to "practice
calmness with the government -- but not with the occupiers."
Its tone is markedly less confrontational than that contained
in a letter from Muqtada intercepted in October by British
Forces near al-Faw (ref B). The PRT's translation of the
flyer follows. A scan of the original has been sent to the
Embassy's Political Section. End Summary.
Translation of Text
2. (U) "To the Mujahideen Among the Sadr Followers, Followers
of the Spoken Hawza: I advised you in my previous statements
to exercise patience and follow the orders of the Spoken
Hawza. I also advised you to stand facing the attacks of the
invaders and their proxies, who are carrying out their wicked
plans to get rid of the followers of the Honorable Line. The
latest incidents in Basrah, Kut and Sadr City prove that the
Iraqi Government, with the cooperation of the invading
forces, is proceeding with its wicked plans. These coincide
with the coming elections and are intended to defame the
reputation of the mujahideen, who continue breathing the
sacred, pure spirit of the Holy Master" (Muqtada's father,
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, who was assassinated
in Najaf in 1999). "This spirit hovers over the provinces
where the mujahideen among the Sadr followers are arrested,
killed and displaced."
3. (U) "What is happening today violates the cease-fire that
we initiated by freezing Mahdi Army activities. These events
are aimed at depleting the resources, spiritual and material,
of the Mahdi Army. They will lead some of our followers to
desert us and stand against us, and the other Shi'as to view
us negatively. We found that in order to protect the Sadrist
Movement we have to be patient; the occupiers are still on
our land. The incidents at Diwaniyah and Karbala dealt us
severe setbacks. They led us to conclude that further
confrontations would give the government a green light to use
force and attacks the Sadrists in Basrah and in Sadr City.
This is what the occupiers actually want."
4. (U) "As I tell you this, I feel bitterness and sorrow that
some among us are not following orders. Although they
identify themselves as members of the Mahdi Army, they in
fact are supporting the government and the occupiers. We
appeal to the Sadrists to practice calmness with the
government -- but not with the occupiers -- and thereby to
benefit from the amnesty the government recently declared. I
ask you to put down your weapons and follow the order to
freeze activities and not to stand against the Spoken Hawza.
Stand by God who supports you and will lead you to victory!
Muqtada al-Sadr, 18 Rabi' al-Awal 1429" (October 18, 2008).
5. (C) The resigned tone of this message mirrors that in
another document we obtained detailing the Sadrist agenda for
Karbala (ref A). Karbala's new Iraqi Army commander, BG Ali
Musari al-Gileri, told visiting Senior Advisor Gordon Gray on
November 3 that three local youths paid to distribute copies
of this flyer had been arrested. End comment.