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Cablegate: Karbala: Sermon Focuses On the Constitution and Security

VZCZCXRO2783
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHIHL #0103 1951740
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141740Z JUL 07
FM REO HILLAH
TO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0907
RUEHIHL/REO HILLAH 0967

UNCLAS HILLAH 000103

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ASEC PTER
SUBJECT: KARBALA: SERMON FOCUSES ON THE CONSTITUTION AND SECURITY


1. (U) This is a PRT Karbala cable.

2. (U) Again this week Sayed Ahmed al-Safi, Head of the Al Abbas
shrine office, conducted the Friday sermon at Karbala's
al-Husain shrine. Sheikh Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalae reportedly
headed the recent meeting of the Karbala Provincial security
body, but he was not at the Friday sermon. The message of this
sermon was directed both to citizens and to government
officials. To the former, al-Safi encouraged respect for the
constitution and to the later, a more proactive parliament and
security effort. Local media coverage included Karbala Radio,
and the following television channels; Karbala, Al-Iraqya,
Al-Furat, and Al-Salam.

3. (U) The sermon highlighted three points; respect for the
constitution, outdated Iraqi laws that are inconsistent with the
new government, and security. Al-Safi first asked the people to
honor the constitution explaining that if applied it would
benefit the whole of Iraq. He then directed the remainder of
his sermon towards the government. Calling on them to be
empathetic, al-Safi encouraged the central and provincial
governments to compete with one another to provide the public
with the best possible services. He also highlighted that the
legal code of Iraq has not consistently been updated to reflect
the change in government since the fall of the regime. Al-Safi
chastised the parliament for this, accusing them of being slow
to enact new legislation. The final topic began with al-Safi
praising a recent raid by Iraqi police near the Syrian border
that resulted in the capture of 200 suicide-bomber belts. He
speculated that the target of those suicide belts were the holy
places in Iraq including the shrines in Karbala. He called on
the government to take a serious stand regarding security.

5. (SBU) Comment: Al-Safi tirelessly reminds the government of
their responsibility. Otherwise, the sermon was relatively
calm. PRT Karbala does not have a more expeditious mechanism of
transmitting the audio version of the sermon on the day it is
given, therefore a historical record is available at the
following website courtesy 3ID MND-C:
http://www.3idportal.3id.army.smil.mil/c17/RE O-HILLA/default.aspx

REED

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