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Viewing cable 09BAGHDAD383, IRAQI SHI'A PARLIAMENTARIAN PAINTS DIRE PICTURE OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD383 2009-02-13 12:12 2010-12-05 12:12 SECRET Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO1534
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0383/01 0441245
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 131245Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1703
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000383 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/I AND NEA/IR 
NSC STAFF FOR OLLIVANT AND MAGSAMEN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2019 
TAGS: PREL PTER PINR ECON IR IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQI SHI'A PARLIAMENTARIAN PAINTS DIRE PICTURE OF 
IRANIAN RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE 

REF: BAGHDAD 342 

Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Military Affairs Michae 
l Corbin for reasons 1.4 (b, d). 

1. (S) Summary: Ayad Jamaleddin, a Council of 
Representatives member from the secular Iraqiyya list, 
painted an extreme view of Iranian religious influence in 
Iraq during a meeting with Emboffs on February 11. Claiming 
that Iran is paying clerics across Iraq to deliver Friday 
sermons sympathetic to Iran and its political theology, 
Jamaleddin stated he had been urged by an emissary of 
Ayatollah Muhammad Sayyid Al-Hakim, a first cousin of 
Abdelaziz Al-Hakim and a potential heir to Ayatollah Sistani, 
to spread the warning about Iranian influence in Iraq. 
Jamaleddin warned of "Iran's ability to summon sleeping 
militias across Iraq" to resume attacks and alleged that 
Iraqi politicians were visiting an Iranian intelligence 
officer in Qom, Iran, under the cover of pilgrimage. 
Although secular in politics, Jamaleddin wears the black 
turban of a sayyed, a descent of the Prophet, and was most 
animated about the pernicious effects of Iran on Shi'a 
religious doctrine. He urged the USG to provide a media 
outlet for Shi'a clerics who will resist Iranian theology. 
End summary. 

2. (U) Media outlets including Al-Arabiyah satellite 
channel have carried interviews recently with Ayad 
Jamaleddin, a parliamentarian elected on Ayad Alawi's secular 
nationalist Iraqiyya list, warning of Iran's encroaching 
influence in Iraq. Jamaleddin told al-Arabiyah on January 20 
that a "quick and hasty U.S. withdrawal from Iraq means 
turning Iraq into an Iranian governorate," emphasizing that 
an Iranian presence in Iraq is more dangerous than an 
American presence in Iraq. 

3. (C) Jamaleddin is among several contacts who have 
reached out to the Embassy recently to warn about Iranian 
influence, which is a favorite topic of conversation among a 
wide range of Iraqis. He claims to be carrying the message 
of Ayatollah Muhammad Sayyid Al-Hakim, a potential heir to 
Ayatollah Sistani and first cousin of Abdelaziz Al-Hakim, 
head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the 
political party closest to Iran. Despite Al-Hakim's ISCI 
family ties, he urged Jamaladdin through an emissary to "go 
to Washington, to Tel Aviv, anywhere" to seek help to stop 
Iran,s nefarious project to subjugate Iraq, according to 
Jamaleddin. Jamaleddin said he was surprised this message 
was coming from the Ayatollah, but the emissary maintained 
that Iran's aggressive efforts had struck terror into the 
hearts of the entire Najafi clerical establishment. 

4. (C) Specifically, Jamaleddin claimed to us that Iran is 
paying "10,000" imams across southern Iraq $200 USD a month 
to deliver Friday sermons that inspire the faithful with 
righteous rhetoric and subtly include a positive gloss on 
Iran. In our meeting February 11 and an earlier meeting 
February 9, he repeated several times that he was not afraid 
for himself or Iraq, but rather the whole region, claiming 
that Iran is already controlling Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. He 
emphasizing that the Khomeini ideology of 
wilayat al-Faqih (jurisdiction of clerics) is "the most vile, 
Satanic ideology" ever devised by man "it's much worse than 
Nazism." 

5. (C) As for Iraq, he said, every member of the Iraqi 
cabinet who travels to Iran visits the religious center of 
Qom to pay homage to Jawwad Shahristani, who he identified as 
the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) 
Qthe Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) 
official responsible for Iraq. They go to Qom as if they are 
going to pray at the Ka'ba (in Mecca), he said, citing in 
particular GoI spokesman Ali Dabbagh. He added that 
Shahristani is the son-in-law of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and 
head of Sistani's office in Qom. 

6. (C) We pressed Jamaleddin on his contention that Iranian 
influence in Iraq is increasing, noting that Iraq had signed 
the Security Agreement and Strategic Framework Agreement with 
the USG despite Iranian opposition and that in visits to 
Basra, for instance, we hear from many Iraqis who hate Iran 
because of their memories of the Iran-Iraq war and, more 
recently, Iranian-sponsored militia violence. He responded 
that "they hate Iran, but they don't hate money." He 
compared the Iran-Iraq relationship to the Syria-Lebanon 
relationship, saying that Syria controls Lebanon even though 
Lebanese are, like Iraqis, 
strong and independent people who seek to be free from 
foreign influence. Likewise we pressed Jamaleddin on his 

BAGHDAD 00000383 002 OF 002 


contention that Iran controls militias in southern Iraq, 
noting that the violence has decreased from the period of a 
year or two ago. He responded that Iranian-sponsored 
militias have hidden weapons and retain the ability to rise 
up if summoned by Iran. 

7. (C) When asked what the appropriate USG response should 
be, he urged us to stop "supporting" Iranian-sponsored 
political parties such as ISCI. He did not dispute our 
response that in fact the USG does not support any particular 
party or politician, and in fact urged us to provide media 
access to clerics who are willing to stand up to Iran. He 
mentioned in particular a Lebanese cleric he identified as 
Ayatollah Ali al-Amin. 

8. (C) Comment: Jamaleddin's extreme anti-Iranian rhetoric 
is nothing unusual; we hear such sentiments frequently, 
although not always with so much colorful detail. However, 
it is notable that he claims to be carrying the message of 
Ayatollah Muhammad Sayyid Al-Hakim and that the ISCI setback 
in the January 31 provincial elections, which is generally 
viewed as a setback to Iran (reftel), has done nothing to 
mitigate his concerns about Iranian influence. 
CROCKER