Viewing cable 06MANAMA2068
Title: DEATH OF SENIOR CLERIC BRINGS SHIA OUT INTO THE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06MANAMA20682006-12-26 07:40:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
VZCZCXRO3529
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #2068 3600740
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 260740Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6222
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT  PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 002068 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/24/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KISL BA POL
SUBJECT: DEATH OF SENIOR CLERIC BRINGS SHIA OUT INTO THE 
STREETS 
 
REF: MANAMA 2061 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William T. Monroe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
. 
 
¶1.  (SBU) Shaikh Abdul Amir Al Jamri, one of Bahrain's most 
prominent Shia clerics, died after a long illness December 
18, bringing thousands of Bahraini Shia into the streets that 
same evening and again on December 22 for a funeral 
procession and graveside ceremony.  Al Jamri, whose sons 
Mansour and Mohammed Jameel are well-known in their own 
right, as editor-in-chief of Arabic daily Al Wasat and member 
of parliament respectively, had been quiet the past few years 
as he struggled with declining health.  He gained political 
prominence as a leading member of Bahrain's first parliament, 
which convened in 1973.  He was also a leader of the Shia 
movement to promote that community's political rights during 
the 1990s, which eventually spiraled downward into street 
clashes, sporadic bombings, mass arrests, torture, and even 
some detainee deaths.  Al Jamri remained adamantly opposed to 
violence but nonetheless was imprisoned for over three years 
starting in 1996, spending about one-and-a-half years in 
solitary confinement.  He was released in 1999 by the current 
King Hamad, who had just ascended to the throne, one day 
after Al Jamri had been sentenced to serve ten years in 
prison. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Some 10-20,000 supporters poured into the streets 
December 18, converging on a highway running near many Shia 
villages on the northern end of Bahrain's main island for a 
slow, several-mile funeral procession in the evening.  There 
were no reports of clashes although cement walls lining the 
route were covered with graffiti saying "Death to Hamad" (the 
King), "Death to Khalifa" (the Prime Minister), and "Go to 
Hell Al Khalifa" in both Arabic and English.  Property owners 
quickly painted over the graffiti the next day.  A similar 
number of followers turned out for a December 22 march and 
ceremony at the Bani Jamra cemetery where he was buried. 
Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Crown 
Prince Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa both paid condolence 
calls on the Al Jamri family during the three-day mourning 
period immediately following the death.  Shaikh Khalifa 
publicly called Shaikh Al Jamri "my brother, colleague, and 
friend." 
 
¶3.  (C) Comment:  Al Jamri's death comes at a time when 
leading Shia opposition political society Al Wifaq, having 
just become the largest political bloc in parliament, has 
been looking for ways to capitalize on its electoral success 
and ensure that the government treats it seriously as a 
political force inside the parliament.  Its decision to 
boycott the opening session of parliament (reftel) was no 
doubt intended to send the King the message that Al Wifaq 
must be listened to.  Al Jamri's death, and the presence of 
great numbers of Shia on the streets, only reinforced the 
message that the Bahraini Shia population does indeed remain 
a strong force that cannot be ignored. 
 
 
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Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/manama/ 
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MONROE