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WikiLeaks: 2003-12-10: 03VATICAN5521: Ambassador Meets New Iraqi Chaldean Patriarch

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Viewing cable 03VATICAN5521, AMBASSADOR MEETS NEW IRAQI CHALDEAN PATRIARCH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
03VATICAN5521 2003-12-10 13:14 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 SECTION 01 OF 03 VATICAN 005521 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR NEA, EUR/WE (LEVIN) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2013 
TAGS: IZ PREL VT SOCI PGOV IS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS NEW IRAQI CHALDEAN PATRIARCH 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JIM NICHOLSON 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
    1. (C) IN TWO MEETINGS WITH THE AMBASSADOR, THE NEWLY ELECTED 
PATRIARCH OF THE CHALDEANS AND FORMER BAGHDAD AUXILIARY 
ARCHBISHOP EMMANUEL-KARIM DELLY, LED OFF HIS REMARKS BY 
CONVEYING HIS GRATITUDE FOR U.S. ACTIONS IN IRAQ TO REMOVE 
SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM POWER AND HIS HOPE FOR RAPID IMPROVEMENT 
IN THE SECURITY AND ECONOMIC SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY.  HE 
URGED THE U.S. TO "WORK MORE QUICKLY IN EVERY RESPECT" TO 
GIVE THE IRAQI PEOPLE MORE TANGIBLE DEMONSTRATIONS THAT THE 
U.S. LIBERATION WILL BRING A BETTER LIFE.  PATRIARCH EMMANUEL 
III, AS HE WILL BE CALLED, ASSERTED THAT THE TERRORISTS 
DISRUPTING IRAQ WERE BY AND LARGE "NOT IRAQIS" BUT CAME FROM 
OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY, AND HE URGED THE U.S. TO TIGHTEN ITS 
CONTROL ON THE BORDERS TO PREVENT FURTHER INFILTRATION.  THE 
PATRIARCH EXPRESSED APPRECIATION FOR HIS PREVIOUS CONTACT 
MEETINGS WITH CPA HEAD BREMER, AND HIS DESIRE TO CONTINUE 
WORKING CLOSELY TOGETHER WITH THE CPA.  HE EXPRESSED OPTIMISM 
ABOUT INTER-RELIGIOUS COOPERATION IN IRAQ, NOTING THAT THE 
CHALDEANS RETAINED GOOD TIES WITH BOTH SHIITE AND SUNNI 
LEADERS.  FINALLY, THE CHALDEAN LEADERS ASKED THAT THE 
AMBASSADOR CONVEY THEIR STRONG CONCERNS ABOUT NEPOTISM IN THE 
ALLOTMENT OF JOBS IN THE NEW ADMINISTRATION.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------ 
THE NEW PATRIARCH EMMANUEL III 
------------------------------ 
 
2. (C) FOLLOWING AN EXTRAORDINARY SYNOD AT THE VATICAN CALLED 
BY POPE JOHN PAUL II, THE CHALDEAN BISHOPS ELECTED ARCHBISHOP 
EMMANUEL-KARIM DELLY, RETIRED AUXILIARY OF BAGHDAD, AS 
PATRIARCH EMMANUEL III.  AS HEAD OF THE CHALDEANS, A CATHOLIC 
COMMUNITY WITH 800,000 MEMBERS IN IRAQ, AND ANOTHER 500,000 
    MEMBERS LIVING IN IRAN, SYRIA, LEBANON, EGYPT, TURKEY  AND 
THE UNITED STATES, HE WILL BE AN IMPORTANT VOICE FOR 
RELIGIOUS MODERATION IN IRAQ.  THE PATRIARCH'S ELECTION IN 
ROME FOLLOWS A DEADLOCKED VOTE IN SEPTEMBER, IN WHICH NEITHER 
AMERICAN BISHOP, SARHAD JAMMO OF SAN DIEGO NOR SYRIAN BISHOP 
ANTOINE AUDO, WERE ABLE TO SECURE A MAJORITY.  DELLY, THE 
EMINENCE GRISE OF THE CHALDEAN BISHOPS, EMERGED AS A 
COMPROMISE CANDIDATE BEING FROM IRAQ AND SPEAKING THE SYRIAC 
LANGUAGE OF THE CHALDEANS.  FOLLOWING THE ELECTION, THE POPE 
URGED IRAQI CATHOLICS TO "WORK TO JOIN FORCES WITH ALL 
BELIEVERS IN RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE, WHICH WILL FAVOR THE 
CONSTRUCTION OF A STABLE AND FREE SOCIETY" IN IRAQ. 
 
----------------------------- 
GRATEFUL FOR SADDAM'S REMOVAL 
----------------------------- 
 
3. (C) AT A MEETING IN VATICAN CITY DECEMBER 5 AND A 
SUBSEQUENT BREAKFAST AT THE AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE DECEMBER 
8, THE NEW PATRIARCH CONVEYED TO THE AMBASSADOR HIS GRATITUDE 
FOR SADDAM'S REMOVAL FROM POWER AND FOR "BRINGING FREEDOM TO 
MY COUNTRY."  WITH SADDAM GONE, HE NOW HAD HIGH HOPES FOR 
IRAQ'S FUTURE.  THE PATRIARCH ACKNOWLEDGED THAT LIFE IN IRAQ 
UNDER SADDAM HAD BEEN DIFFICULT.  EVEN THOUGH SADDAM HAD 
GIVEN THE CHALDEAN CHURCH A DEGREE OF FREEDOM TO CARRY OUT 
ITS RELIGIOUS MISSION, THE CHURCH ALWAYS HAD TO BE CAREFUL, 
PARTICULARLY AFTER THE FIRST GULF WAR WHEN SADDAM BEGAN TO 
PLAY MORE UPON MUSLIM, ANTI-WESTERN SENTIMENTS.  HIS 
SENTIMENTS WERE ECHOED BY MANY OTHER CHALDEAN BISHOPS PRESENT 
AT THE TWO MEETINGS, INCLUDING BISHOP KASSAB OF BASRA, BISHOP 
SHLEMON WARDUNI, THE OUTSPOKEN AUXILIARY OF BAGHDAD, AND 
    BISHOP IBRAHIM IBRAHIM OF DETROIT. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
NEED TO MOVE MORE QUICKLY ON ESSENTIAL SERVICES 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
4. (C) THE PATRIARCH'S MAIN MESSAGE TO THE U.S. WAS THE NEED 
TO "WORK MORE QUICKLY IN EVERY RESPECT" -- PARTICULARLY IN 
IMPROVING ESSENTIAL SERVICES.  HE NOTED THAT IRAQIS HAD 
INITIALLY WELCOMED THE U.S. FORCES BECAUSE THE BELIEVED THEIR 
ARRIVAL WOULD BRING A BETTER LIFE.  UNFORTUNATELY, THIS EARLY 
ENTHUSIASM HAD GIVEN WAY TO GROWING DOUBTS AS PEOPLE FOUND 
THAT THEY HAD LOST MANY BASIC SERVICES SUCH AS DEPENDABLE 
ELECTRICITY THAT THEY HAD HAD UNDER SADDAM.  THE IRAQI 
PEOPLE'S WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE WITH U.S. FORCES -- WHICH 
THE PATRIARCH BELIEVED WAS THE KEY TO BETTER SECURITY -- 
WOULD DEPEND ON WHETHER THEY FELT THE U.S. PRESENCE WAS 
BRINGING THEM IMPROVED LIVING CONDITIONS.  HE NOTED HE HAD 
TOLD CPA HEAD BREMER THAT IF THE U.S. BROUGHT IN A FEW 
THOUSAND GENERATORS, THEY WOULD GENERATE ENORMOUS GOODWILL. 
THE AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT THE MANY POSITIVE CHANGES THAT 
 
VATICAN 00005521  002.1 OF 003 
 
NFRASTRUCTURE 
IMPROVEMENT THAT WOULD GIVE IRAQ A MODERN, EFFICIENT 
INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE LONG TERM. 
 
----------------------------- 
    SECURITY:  BORDERS TOO POROUS 
----------------------------- 
 
5. (C) THE PATRIARCH TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE SECURITY 
PROBLEMS IN IRAQ WERE NOT CAUSED BY IRAQIS -- WITH THE 
POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF LINGERING SADDAM LOYALISTS -- BUT BY 
FOREIGN TERRORISTS FROM SYRIA, SAUDI ARABIA, AND ELSEWHERE IN 
THE REGION WHO WERE INFILTRATING IRAQ THROUGH ITS POROUS 
BORDERS.  IN THIS REGARD, HE URGED THE U.S TO DO MORE TO 
PROTECT THE BORDERS BOTH AT CROSSINGS AS WELL AS THROUGH 
AERIAL SURVEILLANCE.  ASKED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF SADDAM'S 
CAPTURE ON STABILITY IN THE COUNTRY, THE PATRIARCH AND OTHER 
IRAQI BISHOPS SAID IT WOULD BE WELCOME, BUT BECAUSE THE 
PROBLEMS CAME PREDOMINANTLY FROM OUTSIDE, THEY BELIEVED IT 
WOULD NOT END THE INSECURITY.  REGARDING THE THREAT FROM 
SADDAM LOYALISTS WITHIN THE SUNNI TRIANGLE, THE BISHOPS 
BELIEVED THAT SADDAM ALWAYS HAD A SURVIVAL PLAN READY TO 
FIGHT AGAINST INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL FOES, AND WAS NOW DRAWING 
ON LONG-HIDDEN WEAPONS STASHES. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
ROUNDING UP WEAPONS:  USE CASH NOT SEARCHES 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF THE EXCESS WEAPONS 
CIRCULATING IN IRAQ, THE PATRIARCH RECOMMENDED THAT THE U.S. 
DEVELOP A PROGRAM TO PAY PEOPLE FOR WEAPONS RATHER THAN 
CONDUCT SEARCHES AND SEIZURES THROUGH IRAQI HOUSES.  HE 
OBSERVED THAT THE IMAGES OF U.S. SOLDIERS BANGING DOWN DOORS 
AND ROUSING FAMILIES FROM THEIR SLEEP WAS GENERATING A 
TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ILL WILL AND WAS "THE WRONG APPROACH." 
    HE ALSO URGED THE U.S. TO MOVE AHEAD RAPIDLY TO PROVIDE JOBS 
TO PEOPLE THAT WOULD PUT CASH IN THEIR POCKETS AND MAKE THEM 
LESS LIKELY TO TURN TO ARMED OPPOSITION.  HE SUGGESTED EVEN A 
SMALL CASH STIPEND FOR EACH FAMILY WOULD CURRY MUCH FAVOR. 
 
---------------------------------- 
INTER-RELIGIOUS RELATIONS ON TRACK 
---------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) THE PATRIARCH TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE CHALDEAN 
LEADERSHIP'S RELATIONS WITH BOTH THE SHIITE AND SUNNI 
LEADERSHIP WERE "VERY GOOD" AND THAT HE HAD "GREAT 
CONFIDENCE" FOR THE FUTURE OF INTER-RELIGIOUS RELATIONS IN 
THE COUNTRY.  ALL FAITHS HAD CONDEMNED THE TERRORIST ACTIONS, 
HE ADDED.  THE PROBLEM WAS THAT THERE WERE MANY "FANATICAL 
MULLAHS" WHO OFTEN TOOK TO LABELING IRAQI CHRISTIANS AS 
INFIDELS.  THERE HAD BEEN SOME INCIDENTS OF RETRIBUTIONS 
AGAINST CHRISTIANS, WITH 5-6 CHALDEANS KILLED AND SHOPS 
SELLING ALCOHOL BURNED, BUT IN GENERAL, THE CHALDEAN 
COMMUNITY CONTINUED TO BE ACCEPTED WITHIN IRAQ.  THE 
PATRIARCH'S FEAR IS THAT SHOULD IRAQ BECOME AN ISLAMIC STATE, 
THEY COULD FIND THEIR CURRENT FREEDOMS SEVERELY RESTRICTED. 
FOR THE TIME BEING, HOWEVER, HE FELT THAT IT WAS A TESTIMONY 
TO THE DEEPLY ROOTED IRAQI TRADITIONS OF INTER-RELIGIONS 
ACCEPTANCE THAT SEVEN MONTHS AFTER THE END OF THE WAR, IN A 
SITUATION WITH ALMOST NO POLICE OR PUBLIC ORDER, THERE HAD 
BEEN SO FEW RELIGIOUS PROBLEMS OR ACTS OF RELIGIOUS ATTACKS. 
 
------------------------- 
LIBERATION OR OCCUPATION? 
------------------------- 

8. (C) REITERATING THAT THE KEY TO A BETTER SECURITY 
SITUATION WAS GETTING THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ TO COOPERATE WITH 
U.S. FORCES, THE PATRIARCH OBSERVED THAT THERE HAD BEEN SOME 
SENSITIVITY AMONG IRAQIS THAT THE U.S. HAD GONE FROM BEING 
LIBERATORS TO OCCUPIERS. THE DISTINCTION WAS A CRITICAL ONE, 
HE EMPHASIZED.  UNFORTUNATELY, THERE HAD BEEN A MEETING WITH 
A SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL STATED THAT THE 
U.S. WAS IN FACT NOW "OCCUPYING" IRAQ, A STATEMENT THAT 
PROMPTED A NUMBER OF OTHER RELIGIOUS FIGURES TO LEAVE THE 
MEETING.  TO BUILD SUPPORT AMONG IRAQIS, HE CAUTIONED, THE 
U.S. SHOULD DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO COUNTER THE IMAGE OF 
OCCUPATION.  THE AMBASSADOR ASSURED THE PATRIARCH THAT THE 
U.S. GOAL WAS TO TURN POWER OVER TO A LEGITIMATE IRAQI 
GOVERNMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WHILE ENSURING A STABLE AND 
SECURE FUTURE. 
 
9. (C) MONSIGNOR PHILIP NAJIM, THE CHALDEANS REPRESENTATIVE 
IN ROME AND A FREQUENT COMMENTATOR ON IRAQI DEVELOPMENTS FOR 
ITALIAN TELEVISION, EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING A 
BETTER RAPPORT AND GREATER CONFIDENCE BETWEEN U.S. FORCES AND 
 
VATICAN 00005521  002.2 OF 003 
 
NFRASTRUCTURE 
IMPROVEMENT THAT WOULD GIVE IRAQ A MODERN, EFFICIENT 
INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE LONG TERM. 
 
----------------------------- 
    SECURITY:  BORDERS TOO POROUS 
----------------------------- 
 
5. (C) THE PATRIARCH TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE SECURITY 
PROBLEMS IN IRAQ WERE NOT CAUSED BY IRAQIS -- WITH THE 
POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF LINGERING SADDAM LOYALISTS -- BUT BY 
FOREIGN TERRORISTS FROM SYRIA, SAUDI ARABIA, AND ELSEWHERE IN 
THE REGION WHO WERE INFILTRATING IRAQ THROUGH ITS POROUS 
BORDERS.  IN THIS REGARD, HE URGED THE U.S TO DO MORE TO 
PROTECT THE BORDERS BOTH AT CROSSINGS AS WELL AS THROUGH 
AERIAL SURVEILLANCE.  ASKED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF SADDAM'S 
CAPTURE ON STABILITY IN THE COUNTRY, THE PATRIARCH AND OTHER 
IRAQI BISHOPS SAID IT WOULD BE WELCOME, BUT BECAUSE THE 
PROBLEMS CAME PREDOMINANTLY FROM OUTSIDE, THEY BELIEVED IT 
WOULD NOT END THE INSECURITY.  REGARDING THE THREAT FROM 
SADDAM LOYALISTS WITHIN THE SUNNI TRIANGLE, THE BISHOPS 
BELIEVED THAT SADDAM ALWAYS HAD A SURVIVAL PLAN READY TO 
FIGHT AGAINST INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL FOES, AND WAS NOW DRAWING 
ON LONG-HIDDEN WEAPONS STASHES. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
ROUNDING UP WEAPONS:  USE CASH NOT SEARCHES 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF THE EXCESS WEAPONS 
CIRCULATING IN IRAQ, THE PATRIARCH RECOMMENDED THAT THE U.S. 
DEVELOP A PROGRAM TO PAY PEOPLE FOR WEAPONS RATHER THAN 
CONDUCT SEARCHES AND SEIZURES THROUGH IRAQI HOUSES.  HE 
OBSERVED THAT THE IMAGES OF U.S. SOLDIERS BANGING DOWN DOORS 
AND ROUSING FAMILIES FROM THEIR SLEEP WAS GENERATING A 
TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ILL WILL AND WAS "THE WRONG APPROACH." 
    HE ALSO URGED THE U.S. TO MOVE AHEAD RAPIDLY TO PROVIDE JOBS 
TO PEOPLE THAT WOULD PUT CASH IN THEIR POCKETS AND MAKE THEM 
LESS LIKELY TO TURN TO ARMED OPPOSITION.  HE SUGGESTED EVEN A 
SMALL CASH STIPEND FOR EACH FAMILY WOULD CURRY MUCH FAVOR. 
 
---------------------------------- 
INTER-RELIGIOUS RELATIONS ON TRACK 
---------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) THE PATRIARCH TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE CHALDEAN 
LEADERSHIP'S RELATIONS WITH BOTH THE SHIITE AND SUNNI 
LEADERSHIP WERE "VERY GOOD" AND THAT HE HAD "GREAT 
CONFIDENCE" FOR THE FUTURE OF INTER-RELIGIOUS RELATIONS IN 
THE COUNTRY.  ALL FAITHS HAD CONDEMNED THE TERRORIST ACTIONS, 
HE ADDED.  THE PROBLEM WAS THAT THERE WERE MANY "FANATICAL 
MULLAHS" WHO OFTEN TOOK TO LABELING IRAQI CHRISTIANS AS 
INFIDELS.  THERE HAD BEEN SOME INCIDENTS OF RETRIBUTIONS 
AGAINST CHRISTIANS, WITH 5-6 CHALDEANS KILLED AND SHOPS 
SELLING ALCOHOL BURNED, BUT IN GENERAL, THE CHALDEAN 
COMMUNITY CONTINUED TO BE ACCEPTED WITHIN IRAQ.  THE 
PATRIARCH'S FEAR IS THAT SHOULD IRAQ BECOME AN ISLAMIC STATE, 
THEY COULD FIND THEIR CURRENT FREEDOMS SEVERELY RESTRICTED. 
FOR THE TIME BEING, HOWEVER, HE FELT THAT IT WAS A TESTIMONY 
TO THE DEEPLY ROOTED IRAQI TRADITIONS OF INTER-RELIGIONS 
ACCEPTANCE THAT SEVEN MONTHS AFTER THE END OF THE WAR, IN A 
SITUATION WITH ALMOST NO POLICE OR PUBLIC ORDER, THERE HAD 
BEEN SO FEW RELIGIOUS PROBLEMS OR ACTS OF RELIGIOUS ATTACKS. 
 
------------------------- 
LIBERATION OR OCCUPATION? 
------------------------- 

8. (C) REITERATING THAT THE KEY TO A BETTER SECURITY 
SITUATION WAS GETTING THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ TO COOPERATE WITH 
U.S. FORCES, THE PATRIARCH OBSERVED THAT THERE HAD BEEN SOME 
SENSITIVITY AMONG IRAQIS THAT THE U.S. HAD GONE FROM BEING 
LIBERATORS TO OCCUPIERS. THE DISTINCTION WAS A CRITICAL ONE, 
HE EMPHASIZED.  UNFORTUNATELY, THERE HAD BEEN A MEETING WITH 
A SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL STATED THAT THE 
U.S. WAS IN FACT NOW "OCCUPYING" IRAQ, A STATEMENT THAT 
PROMPTED A NUMBER OF OTHER RELIGIOUS FIGURES TO LEAVE THE 
MEETING.  TO BUILD SUPPORT AMONG IRAQIS, HE CAUTIONED, THE 
U.S. SHOULD DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO COUNTER THE IMAGE OF 
OCCUPATION.  THE AMBASSADOR ASSURED THE PATRIARCH THAT THE 
U.S. GOAL WAS TO TURN POWER OVER TO A LEGITIMATE IRAQI 
GOVERNMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WHILE ENSURING A STABLE AND 
SECURE FUTURE. 
 
9. (C) MONSIGNOR PHILIP NAJIM, THE CHALDEANS REPRESENTATIVE 
IN ROME AND A FREQUENT COMMENTATOR ON IRAQI DEVELOPMENTS FOR 
ITALIAN TELEVISION, EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING A 
BETTER RAPPORT AND GREATER CONFIDENCE BETWEEN U.S. FORCES AND 
 
VATICAN 00005521  003 OF 003 
 
AND BARBED WIRE.  HE 
RECOGNIZED THE PREDICAMENT FACED BY TROOPS WHO SOUGHT TO WORK 
WITH THE IRAQI PEOPLE ONLY TO FIND THEMSELVES AMBUSHED AND 
ATTACKED, AND ACKNOWLEDGED THERE WAS NO EASY WAY TO SQUARE 
THIS CIRCLE.  THE CHALDEAN ARCHBISHOP OF DETROIT IBRAHIM 
    IBRAHIM INSISTED THAT IRAQIS "LOVED" THE U.S., BUT WERE NOT 
COOPERATING BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID AND BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT 
YET SEEN THE BENEFITS OF COOPERATION.  THE FREEDOM TO SAY 
WHATEVER THEY WANT DOES NOT GO FAR, HE CAUTIONED, IF PEOPLE 
ARE UNABLE TO WORK, LACK ESSENTIALS, AND ARE AFRAID TO GO OUT 
OR SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
GOVERNANCE: FOCUS ON REGIONS, AVOID NEPOTISM 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) TURNING TO IRAQ'S POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT, THE 
PATRIARCH OBSERVED THAT IT WAS NOT EASY FOR THE IRAQI PEOPLE 
TO HAVE SO MUCH LIBERTY AND FREEDOM IMMEDIATELY AFTER 30 
YEARS OF DICTATORSHIP.  HE NEVERTHELESS FELT THAT THE 
REGIONAL COUNCILS WERE FUNCTIONING WELL, AND REPRESENTED ONE 
OF THE MORE POSITIVE POST-WAR DEVELOPMENTS.  HE CAUTIONED 
THAT THE U.S. HAD GIVEN TOO MUCH WEIGHT TO POLITICAL PARTIES 
-- MANY WITH ROOTS OUTSIDE IRAQ -- RATHER THAN WORKING ON A 
PROVINCIAL BASIS, WHICH HE BELIEVED WOULD BE MORE 
REPRESENTATIVE.  HE ALSO CAUTIONED AGAINST "GIVING TOO MUCH 
TO THE SHIITES, NOTING THAT WITH 13 OF THE 25 SEATS ON THE 
GOVERNING COUNCIL THEY COULD PUSH THROUGH ANYTHING THEY 
WANTED.  THE PATRIARCH APPEALED TO THE AMBASSADOR TO CONVEY 
HIS REQUEST THAT THE CHALDEANS BE ADEQUATELY REPRESENTED ON 
CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFTING COMMITTEES. 
 
11. (C) AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING, THE PATRIARCH AND 
HIS FELLOW BISHOPS REITERATED THEIR STRONG CONCERN ABOUT 
NEPOTISM WITHIN THE DEVELOPING IRAQI ADMINISTRATION.  THEY 
NOTED THAT THE NEW PETROLEUM MINISTER WAS THE SON OF A MEMBER 
    OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL, AND SAID THIS WAS A PATTERN THAT 
WOULD LOOK TO PEOPLE JUST LIKE THE DAYS OF SADDAM.  TO BE 
CREDIBLE, IT WOULD BE VITAL FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT TO HAVE 
THE BEST PEOPLE AVAILABLE, NOT A NETWORK OF CRONIES. 
 
-------------------------------- 
THE FIGHT AGAINST TERROR IN IRAQ 
-------------------------------- 
 
12. (C)  MONSIGNOR NAJIM WAS SHARPLY CRITICAL OF U.S. 
STATEMENTS SUGGESTING THAT THE U.S. WAS FIGHTING TERRORISTS 
IN IRAQ RATHER THAN FIGHTING THEM IN THE UNITED STATES.  HE 
SAID THESE STATEMENTS CREATED THE IMPRESSION THAT THE U.S. 
CARED SO LITTLE FOR IRAQ THAT IT WAS WILLING TO TURN IRAQ 
INTO A TERRORIST BATTLEFIELD.  HE BELIEVED SUCH STATEMENTS 
WERE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO U.S. EFFORTS TO BUILD SUPPORT AMONG 
THE IRAQI PEOPLE.  THE CHALDEAN BISHOPS ALSO TOLD THE 
AMBASSADOR THAT IF THE U.S. WANTED PEACE IN THE BROADER 
MIDDLE EAST REGION, ITS POLICY TOWARD ISRAEL WOULD HAVE TO BE 
REVIEWED, AS IT GENERATED CONTINUING ILL-WILL.  THE 
AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT THAT U.S. POLICY, CONTRARY TO POPULAR 
PERCEPTIONS, WAS BALANCED AND EVEN FORWARD-LEANING TO THE 
PALESTINIANS, CALLING FOR THE FIRST TIME FOR THE CREATION OF 
A PALESTINIAN STATE, AS WELL AS AN END TO SETTLEMENT 
ACTIVITY, AND FURTHER ISRAELI STEPS TO IMPROVE PALESTINIAN 
LIVING CONDITIONS. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
    13. (C) THE PATRIARCH HAD HIGH PRAISE FOR CPA HEAD BREMER, 
WHO HE SAID HAD BEEN OPEN AND ATTENTIVE TO CHALDEAN CONCERNS. 
 WHILE HE UNDERSTANDS THE OBSTACLES INVOLVED IN IMPROVING 
ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND SECURITY, HE REITERATED HIS DESIRE FOR 
THE CPA TO MOVE MORE RAPIDLY IN ALL AREAS TO IMPROVE THE 
DAILY LIFE FOR IRAQIS.  OVERALL, WE FOUND THE NEW PATRIARCH 
TO BE VERY SUPPORTIVE OF THE U.S. DECISION TO GO INTO IRAQ, 
BUT CONCERNED THAT POPULAR DISSATISFACTION OVER THE SLOW PACE 
OF IMPROVEMENT TO THEIR DAILY LIVES HAD UNDERMINED THE IRAQI 
APPRECIATION FOR THE U.S. ACTION.  THE PATRIARCH, AND HIS 
FELLOW CHALDEAN BISHOPS, GREATLY APPRECIATED THE OPPORTUNITY 
TO MEET WITH THE AMBASSADOR AND PROMISED TO KEEP IN CLOSE 
CONTACT WHEN THEY RETURN TO THE VATICAN. 
 
14. MINIMIZE CONSIDERED. 
 
NICHOLSON 
 
NNNN 

 2003VATICA05521 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

 


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