Cablegate Chronicles: Iran's 'Gator Chomp'

More

This is an installment from our on-going series on the adventures of American diplomats and the people they monitor. The button below will take you to another random episode.

new story button.png


A Shia cleric comments on the U.S. presence in Iraq.

FROM: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: JANUARY 31, 2008
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE

"Our Brains Are In Our Eyes" ----------------------------

¶2. (C) Son of a respected Najafi Ayatollah, nephew to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, related by marriage to Muqtada al-Sadr, and bearing a faint resemblance to the actor Robert De Niro, Klanter is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad but was not wearing the traditional Shia Sayyid's garb of black turban and cloak during our meeting at the IZ villa of Saad Jabr, a Saddam-era exile opposition financier and son of Iraq's first Shia Prime Minister. Claiming he had recently met with Prime Minister Maliki, Klanter bemoaned the ineffectuality of Iraq's political leaders and warned that the gap between these leaders and the Iraqi people is growing wider by the day. He stated that while Maliki might be able to entice Iraqiyyah and Tawafuq to rejoin his government, neither ISCI nor the Kurds want anything beyond superficial changes to the status quo. When we informed him that USG patience is wearing thin with the pace of Iraqi political process, Klanter appeared incredulous that the U.S. would even consider scaling-down in Iraq "because you destroyed a regime and now you bear the responsibility to build up a replacement. If you leave there is a 100 percent certainty of civil war, which might happen anyway even if you don't leave." Swinging his arms into an abbreviated "Gator Chomp" type of gesture, he said that if the U.S, leaves "Iran will swallow us whole."

Browse the Cablegate Chronicle archive.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

Just In