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WikiLeaks: APP Reps Call for Creation of a New Province

Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 05:05 PM CT


Viewing cable 06MOSUL12, ASSYRIAN PATRIOTIC PARTY REPS CALL FOR CREATION OF A NEW PROVINCE FOR MINORITIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSUL12 2006-02-12 15:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL REO Mosul
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSUL 000012 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/12/2016 

TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM IZ PINT

SUBJECT: ASSYRIAN PATRIOTIC PARTY REPS CALL FOR CREATION OF A NEW 
PROVINCE FOR MINORITIES 

REF: A) 2005 MOSUL 207; B) 2005 MOSUL 157 

CLASSIFIED BY: Cameron  Munter, PRT Leader, Provincial 
Reconstruction Team Ninewa, State. 

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 

------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 

1.  (C) Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP) reps in Ninewa and Dohuk 
said they believe the answer to problems in Iraq's Christian 
community could be settled by the creation of a separate 
province for minorities.  APP leader Namrood Betto suggested 
that "Ninewa Plains" be partitioned from eastern Ninewa and 
annexed to Iraqi Kurdistan.  Betto said he believes the new 
province would better protect the human rights of minorities, 
attract investment, and improve security.  Betto asked for USG 
assistance to move the idea forward with the Iraqi central 
government, and requested a meeting with Ambassador Khalilzad to 
discuss the issue.  End Summary. 
 

2.  (SBU) REO Poloff met with members of the Assyrian Patriotic 
Party (APP) in Dohuk on February 9.  In attendance were APP 
secretary general Namrood Betto, Christian Aid Program Nohadra 

SIPDIS 

Iraq (CAPNI) director Emmanuel Youkhana, APP and former member 
of the Kurdish parliament Patros Sekheria, and APP Ninewa 
director Sargon Saleem.  APP was a member of the Al Nahrain 
National List (#752) during the December 2005 national election 
(ref a). 

------------------- 
A COMMUNITY IN PAIN 
------------------- 
 
3.  (C) The APP is reeling from election losses where only rival 
Christian party, Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), was able to 
kept their seat in the national assembly.  APP is looking for 
solutions to high unemployment and lack of security without 
direct representation in the government.  Betto said members of 
the Chaldo/Assyrian community are leaving Ninewa for other 
provinces and countries in search of work, stability, and 
security.  Betto said he is concerned how the new federal 
government will interpret the articles of the constitution.  He 
said he fears a broad interpretation will only benefit Iraq's 
larger ethnic groups (Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds) to the detriment 
of minorities.  Betto said he believes recent church bombings in 
Kirkuk and Baghdad are evidence of a "grand scheme" by Arabs to 
assimilate minorities.  He said he believes the answer to 
Chaldo/Assyrian problems is the creation of a separate protected 
area for the community. 

--------------------------- 
CREATION OF "NINEWA PLAINS" 
--------------------------- 

4.  (C) Betto suggested the USG and Coalition Forces (CF) should 
"pressure" the Iraqi government to allow for the creation of a 
new and separate province for minorities.  Betto said "Ninewa 
Plains," as the community refers to it, would help minorities 
protect themselves from larger ethnic groups that could do them 
harm.  Betto claimed minorities have the "right to a safe haven" 
according to article 136 of the constitution.  Poloff asked if 
Ninewa Plains could address problems facing the community in the 
short and long run, or if they risk cutting themselves off from 
the rest of the country.  Betto said he believes a "more 
permanent solution" needed to be found and that Ninewa Plains 
was the answer.  Poloff asked APP members if they had considered 
other avenues to redress their grievances, such as working with 
minority members of the national assembly to help push issues. 
Youkhana claimed democracy is not enough, so therefore the USG 
has a "responsibility" to help in the creation of the province. 
He called on the USG to provide security, develop the economy, 
and help attract displaced Christians to move to the new 
province.  Betto requested a meeting with Ambassador Khalilzad 
and a visit to State officials in Washington to discuss the 
issue. 

------------------------------------------ 
KURDS TO ADMINISTER SUGGESTED NEW PROVINCE 
------------------------------------------ 

5.  (C) APP reps said they would prefer the Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG) administer the suggested new province.  Poloff 
asked APP reps how such an arrangement would work given that so 
many other members of the Chaldo/Assyrian community claim to be 
at odds with the Kurds in Ninewa.  Betto said annexing eastern 
Ninewa to Kurdistan makes sense, historically, since the "Kurds 
have always had a tendency to protect us."  He said he had 
already spoken to KRG reps and received their "full support" for 
the idea.  Betto said rival Christian parties, such as ADM, "do 
not represent the will of the people" by opposing the Kurds. 
Poloff asked how Betto could draw such a conclusion given that 
ADM received substantially more votes than Al Nahrain National 
List in the national election.  Betto admitted ADM has a strong 
following but that they are "not working for the interests of 
the people" on this issue.

---------------------------------- 
COMMENT: APP -- TOOL OF THE KURDS? 
---------------------------------- 

6.  (C) Although the idea of "Ninewa Plains" is not new (ref b), 
the idea of a separate province or protected area shows the 
desperation of several Ninewa Chaldo/Assyrian groups.  This and 
previous discussions with APP reveal how party officials have 
not been able to look past their own shortcomings during the 
last election and change gears to work within the fledging 
democratic process in Iraq by engaging minority and other reps 
in the national assembly, lobbying officials through political 
organizations, or by telling their story to the press.  They 
also fear that the community will not win seats in provincial 
elections later this year.  For their part, the Kurds in Ninewa 
would love nothing more than to have some sort of legitimate 
reason to justify the annexation of eastern Ninewa to Iraqi 
Kurdistan.  Other Christian political parties, such as ADM and 
Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union (the latter was a member of 
coalition #752), would never agree to such an arrangement; and 
given tensions between the Sunni Arabs and Kurds it is doubtful 
Sunnis would sign off on the idea as well.  In talks with 
Poloff, ADM has accused APP and the Chaldean Patriotic Union of 
being "fake parties," created by the Kurds to further divide the 
Christian community.  While these allegations are difficult to 
prove they do illustrate how deep divisions are within the 
community over the idea of a separate protected area.  The idea 
of Ninewa Plains does not begin to address the very real 
problems of poor education, a lack of basic services such as 
clean water and electricity, and security.  Additionally, 
allowing minorities to separate themselves from the rest of the 
country only feeds further into Iraqi fears that the country 
would disintegrate if Article 136 (Article 58 in the TAL) were 
interpreted to allow for the creation of several separate 
federal units. 

MUNTER


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