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Cablegate: The Sadrist Program for Karbala

VZCZCXRO8383
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3561/01 3161312
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111312Z NOV 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0309
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003561

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PINR IZ
SUBJECT: THE SADRIST PROGRAM FOR KARBALA

BAGHDAD 00003561 001.5 OF 003


(U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified; handle
accordingly. Not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) Summary: The PRT obtained in early November a copy
of an Arabic-language pamphlet titled The General Program of
the Martyr al-Sadr Office in Karbala, signed by Shaykh
Muhannad Abd al-Hussein al-Karbala'i, Manager of the al-Sadr
Office in Karbala, and dated 2008. We have sent a scanned
copy of the pamphlet to the Political Section in Baghdad.
PRT translation follows. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Begin Translation: "In the name of God, the Most
Merciful and Compassionate. To all faithful people in
Karbala, whether affiliated with the al-Sadr Party or not:
Because Karbala is a holy city, it is sensitive and special.
In my opinion, anyone working here should bear in mind the
following: 1) Karbala's history and origins, 2) The present
reality of this city and its problems, 3) The future of this
city in terms of security and economics."

3. (SBU) "I was asked by the headquarters of al-Sadr in Najaf
to run the al-Sadr Office in Karbala. I prepared for this by
undertaking a study on the background of the active members
of the al-Sadr Party and their relationships to persons in
Karbala, as well as their weaknesses with regard to the
current circumstances. I presented this study to the
headquarters in Najaf as a practical guide for the people of
Karbala as well as for the members of the al-Sadr Office
here."

4. (SBU) "I summarize the findings of my study as follows:
1) Misinterpretation of the principles and aims of the
al-Sadr Party, including by party members themselves, is a
central reason for the deterioration of the party's
situation. This has been exacerbated by some people
allegedly belonging to the al-Sadr Party. 2) In my view, the
al-Sadr Office in Karbala should be administered by locals
who know best the suffering and problems of the people. The
manager ought to run the Office for at least two years and
should not be replaced or interfered with during this time."

5. (SBU) "Before I identify the current and future principles
and aims of the al-Sadr Office, I wish to explain the
following: Everyone should understand that we must let go of
past events between the al-Sadr Party and others. I do not
hold any negative views toward any religious or governmental
entities. We are ready for reconciliation and for working
together on behalf of the community of Karbala."

6. (SBU) "The Current and Future Principles and Aims of the
al-Sadr Office in Karbala: 1) We must rehabilitate the
members of the al-Sadr Office, inspired by the principles of
our forefathers among the holy people, so that we may
consider them as guides in our daily lives. 2) We must form a
living, attentive vision of the field of work that derives
from a profound understanding of the basic, ideological
foundations and missions of present and former religious
leaders. This requires understanding the concept and
elements of stability and constancy, thus distinguishing them
from the state and executive agencies. The misuse of power
by some security and executive agencies does not justify
individual acts or threats against the state's foundations of
stability and growth. 3) The al-Sadr Office is open to
everyone and shares with them the country's broad national
and religious ties. We ought to realize that the main
problem facing us as Muslims and Iraqis is the occupation,
and the rescheduling of the withdrawal is a top priority. We
must resolve our disputes with local entities and others so
that we can achieve this ultimate goal."

7. (SBU) "4) People should be treated fairly and impartially
under the law, enabling them to retain their dignity and
enhancing the stability and security of society. 5) We will
fight all deviations within the al-Sadr group, including its
various ideological, administrative, financial, and social
permutations. 6) We urge the undertaking of community action
to awaken public service workers and assisting them in
reclaiming their lost rights. 7) We will interact with all
open-minded persons in all sectors of Karbala society. We
shall make the al-Sadr Office an umbrella for all, with the
only thing distinguishing al-Sadr members from others being
the members' fear of God. This can be achieved by following
the ideology of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his
followers, including the late al-Sadr, and by serving the
people with humanity."

8. (SBU) "The Internal and External Challenges of the
Program: The internal problems have to do with the al-Sadr
Party itself. 1) Misconception of the principles of the
al-Sadr Office by some followers produced a poor
understanding of the ways and methods of translating these
principles into reality. This prompted some followers of

BAGHDAD 00003561 002.2 OF 003


al-Sadr to obey God in terms of civil disobedience and to
neglect the directives and orders of the Marja'iya. 2)
Infiltration of some bad people into the al-Mahdi Army hurt
the reputation of this force as these people misused its name
and power. Their apparent aim was to destroy the reputation
of the al-Sadr Party. 3) The former leaders of the al-Sadr
Party in Karbala failed to implement a fruitful plan and a
productive vision aimed at a stable future for al-Sadr
followers and Shias in general. They did not balance
stability, social harmony, and the objectives of the al-Sadr
Party on the one hand with the national interest on the
other."

9. (SBU) "The External Challenges: 1) There has been a
negative perception of the al-Sadr Party stemming from the
bad deeds done by some in the al-Sadr group. These left a
bad impression on the part of the general public and may have
been done deliberately or as a result of narrow views. 2)
There is a weak public understanding of the principles and
foundations of the al-Sadr Party that has resulted in poor
communications between the Party and the community. This has
clouded perceptions and led to misunderstanding of the
general trend. 3) The ideological and other priorities of
some entities in Karbala have conflicted with the stability
and growth of the al-Sadr Party. These have been advanced to
suit the majority interests at the expense of the al-Sadr
Party."

10. (SBU) "Before I detail our program, I wish to mention
that we have chosen a good staff for the al-Sadr office in
Karbala. It consists of skilled professionals selected from
universities as well as the best non-sectarian and rational
clerics. My project focuses on studying the following: 1)
Religion. A) We should pay no attention to what happened
previously in Karbala and encourage people to forget the
tragic results. B) Dialogue should include all faiths and be
aimed at minimizing differences, thus enabling all to freely
exchange views. C) Citizens should work together to sign a
Charter of Honor that would put pressure on the local
government to do what is right. D) Karbala should establish
a Hawza and support it by hiring lecturers, promoting Islamic
subjects, and supporting the students morally and
financially. E) The Shia Office should be strengthened by
hiring active clerics in mosques and husayniyas. Their role
is to educate and to give advice."

11. (SBU) "2) Politics. A) The Provincial Council members
should be active, well-known, decent, and neither secular nor
sectarian. They ought to be a representative sample in both
their religious views and attitudes toward their national
responsibilities, and they would indicate this by signing the
Charter of Honor which will facilitate peace among all
parties. B) The judiciary must be independent and never
beholden to any party or religious interests.

12. (SBU) "3) Tribes. A) A tribal desk should be
reestablished within the al-Sadr Office to focus on
identifying leaders able to resolve disputes. B) The tribes
should be patriotic. They belong to Iraq. C) The tribes
should take a more active role in society and thereby support
reconciliation and enhance security. D) The tribes in
Karbala should back the provincial government and be ready to
serve the people. E) The tribes should play a lead role in
advancing justice and equality and should serve as bridges
enabling their members to strengthen ties and exchange views
with other tribes."

13. (SBU) "4) Media. A) All Party communications will be
disseminated via the print and broadcast media. B) The Party
will undertake a series of speeches prompting the people of
Karbala to reevaluate their current circumstances and to
support those authorized to bolster the province's security.
C) The Party periodically will issue ideological and cultural
leaflets incorporating articles and detailed studies about
the current life of Muslims in Karbala. D) The Party will
seek to match new thinking about religious society in Karbala
with the reasons for the conflicts among the different
ideologies, thereby helping to find solutions and maintaining
an open-minded dialogue with others. E) The Party will
enable academicians to play a role in assessing the situation
in Karbala and finding solutions to the province's political
and religious crises. F) The Party will use the local media
to make people aware of the real situation in Karbala and to
minimize the differences among ideologies."

14. (SBU) "5) Security. A) The Karbala security staff and
others wielding governmental power should be independent and
honest in discharging their duties. Security forces should
be neither sectarian nor secular. B) The powerful provincial
security agencies should work together with the Karbala
government to achieve intelligence cooperation that will help
to defeat terrorism."

BAGHDAD 00003561 003.2 OF 003

15. (SBU) "Now that I have identified the features of our
program, I wish to address the followers of the al-Sadr Party
concerning how we will fulfill our destiny and win the battle
of self-correction. Perhaps some in Karbala see this program
as a tactic to rebuild the al-Mahdi Army and believe we
intend to again dominate the city and oblige them to do our
bidding, but our principles and ideologies are opposed to
such ideas. We are a humanitarian and ideological party and
we strive to enlighten by following these examples in our
work: A) The Indian leader Ghandi was an example to
humanity. As he stated, he learned many lessons from Imam
Husayn that helped him to win his struggle. So, we as well
as Ghandi consider Husayn's suffering the best way to achieve
the real victory, and we regard this suffering as a guide in
accomplishing our objectives. B) We will undertake our
self-correction patiently and logically to guarantee its
endurance. C) We will undertake our self-correction
independently, relying on nothing and no one except Islamic
instruction as a guide."

16. (SBU) "Conclusion. 1) Objectivity and seriousness enable
laws to be respected by the people, who will support the laws
so long as they preserve civil rights and dignity. First
Recommendation: To my brothers who are affiliated with the
al-Sadr Party in Karbala. The Islamic parties, al-Sadr
included, have entered a sensitive and dangerous time. This
danger is embodied in the upcoming election and in our battle
for self-correction. I encourage my followers not to be
disappointed because I believe it is likely that we will
re-unite our Party."

17. (SBU) "2) Second Recommendation: To the people of
Karbala. The events that occurred in Karbala last year
between the followers of the al-Sadr Party and the security
forces left a bad impression about members of our Party.
These events convinced people that al-Sadr followers are
outlaws who seek violence. I want to make clear the
distinction between the good among the followers of al-Sadr
and the bad, because some are attempting to create problems
between al-Sadr followers and others."

18. (SBU) "3) Third Recommendation: To the Governor of
Karbala. My brother, I hope you will reconsider your views
about the al-Sadr Party in Karbala; you may have a mistaken
impression because you have not received the truth from the
hypocrites around you. This is an auspicious time to rid the
al-Sadr Party of Karbala of bad elements, and I support
efforts to go after outlaws irrespective of their
affiliations."

19. (SBU) "4) Fourth Recommendation: To the Karbala security
forces. My brothers, we can move from an era of tension to a
new era of peace by cooperating with one another. Such
cooperation requires us to forget past events. I am sure we
all have some regrets about how we behaved before. Thanks Be
to God. Sheikh Muhannad Abd al-Hussein al-Karbala'i, Manager
of the al-Sadr Office in Karbala Province." End Translation
CROCKER

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