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WikiLeaks: 2001-06-11: 01VATICAN3121: Background paper for presidential visit: Iraq

Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 08:27 PM CT


Viewing cable 01VATICAN3121, BACKGROUND PAPER FOR PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: IRAQ

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
01VATICAN3121 2001-06-11 17:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
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 VATICAN 003121 

SIPDIS 

DEPT. FOR: EUR/WE (VAN CLEVE) 

FROM EMBASSY VATICAN/MESSAGE NO. 85/001 

E.O. 12958: DECL 06/07/11 

TAGS: PREL PGOV IR VT

SUBJECT: BACKGROUND PAPER FOR PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: IRAQ 

CLASSIFIED BY CDA JOSEPH MERANTE, REASONS E.O. 12958 
1.5 (B), (D). 

1. (C) BEGIN TEXT.  THE VATICAN CONDEMNED THE WEST'S 

PROSECUTION OF THE GULF WAR, AND IT HAS CONSISTENTLY 

                       CONFIDENTIAL 

 
PAGE 02        VATICA  03121  111605Z 
OPPOSED U.S. SANCTIONS POLICY TOWARD IRAQ.  WE SHOULD 
EXPECT IT TO CONTINUE TO DO SO.  MANY FACTORS ARE 
INVOLVED IN THE VATICAN'S TOLERATION OF THE IRAQI 
REGIME.  THE MOST IMPORTANT ARE: 

-- RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES/HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS: THE 
VATICAN SEEKS TO TRANSLATE ITS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, AS 
WELL AS ITS SINCERE HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS, INTO 
CONCRETE POLICY. ITS NON-CONFRONTATIONAL POLICY TOWARD 
IRAQ IS PARTIALLY BASED ON ITS CONVICTION THAT THE 
ECONOMIC EMBARGO IS SEVERELY IMPACTING THE PEOPLE OF 
IRAQ.  TO COUNTER THIS BELIEF, CREDIBLE ARGUMENTS MUST 
BE MADE THAT THE EMBARGO IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 
HARDSHIP BEING EXPERIENCED BY THE IRAQI PEOPLE; 


-- NATIONAL SELF-INTEREST: THE VATICAN LABORS TO 
PROTECT CATHOLICS AROUND THE WORLD.  ITS CONSISTENT 
SUPPORT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN PARTIALLY RESULTS FROM ITS 
DESIRE TO PROTECT THE 600,000 IRAQI CATHOLICS FROM 
ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM.  THE VATICAN HAS CONSISTENTLY 
TOLD US THAT, IN ITS VIEW, THE STATE OF RELIGIOUS 
FREEDOM IN IRAQ IS BETTER THAN IN MANY OTHER ARAB 
COUNTRIES.  IN THE VATICAN'S VIEW, THE LIKELY 
ALTERNATIVE TO SADDAM WOULD BE AN ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT. 
FOR THE VATICAN, A SECULAR DICTATORSHIP IS MUCH 
PREFERABLE TO AN ISLAMIC ONE. (NOTE: 600,00 IRAQI'S 
BELONG TO THE CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.  THIS CHURCH 
IS IN FULL COMMUNION WITH ROME, ALTHOUGH IT RETAINS 
RITES, TRADITIONS, AND DISCIPLINE WHICH ARE 
SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT FROM ROMAN CATHOLICISM). 


                       CONFIDENTIAL 


PAGE 03        VATICA  03121  111605Z 

--RELIGIOUS MANEUVERING: THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IS 
CLOSE TO SIGNING AN AGREEMENT WITH THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH 
OF THE EAST ON REUNIFICATION WITH ROME.  (NOTE: THE 
ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST IS AN ANCIENT CHURCH WHICH 
BROKE WITH THE REST OF WORLD CHRISTENDOM IN THE 4TH 
CENTURY).  THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST IS CENTERED 
IN IRAQ, AND AS A CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION PREFERS 
SADDAM HUSSEIN TO AN ISLAMICIST LEADER.  THE VATICAN 
IS VERY SENSITIVE AT THIS POINT TO AVOID TAKING 
POSITIONS WHICH WOULD ALIENATE THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH. 
 

-- PERSONAL DESIRES OF JOHN PAUL II: THERE ARE THREE 
MAJOR TRIPS WHICH THE POPE HAS EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO 
COMPLETE BEFORE HIS HEALTH FURTHER DETERIORATES-- 
RUSSIA, CHINA, IRAQ.  PLANS FOR THE POPE TO VISIT THE 
SITE OF ABRAHAM'S BIRTH IN UR (IRAQ) WERE CALLED OFF 
IN 2000.  THE POPE STILL HARBORS A DESIRE TO PRAY AT 
THIS SITE.  THIS PAPAL DESIRE IS ANOTHER REASON WHY 
THE VATICAN WISHES TO MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONS WITH 
IRAQ. 

 
2.  (C)  CONCLUSION:  UNLESS SADDAM'S HUMAN RIGHTS 

ABUSES INCREASE SUBSTANTIALLY, AND DIRECTLY IMPACT THE 
IRAQI CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE 
VATICAN WILL CHANGE ITS POSITION ON IRAQ.  IT IS 
IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE TO BRIEF THE VATICAN ON 
CONTINUED IRAQI ABUSES, AND TO PROVIDE CREDIBLE 
EVIDENCE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN'S MALEVOLENT INTENT AGAINST 
NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES. 
MERANTE 

                       CONFIDENTIAL 


PAGE 04        VATICA  03121  111605Z 

                       CONFIDENTIAL 

> 

 2001VATICA03121 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL


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