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WikiLeaks: 2006-05-31: 06MOSUL57: Christian Militias in Ninewa Plains

by WikiLeaks. 06MOSUL57: May 31, 2006.

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 04:41 PM UTC


Viewing cable 06MOSUL57, CHRISTIAN MILITIAS IN NINEWA PLAINS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSUL57 2006-05-31 07:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL REO
Mosul
VZCZCXRO2439
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMOS #0057/01 1510733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 310733Z MAY 06
FM REO MOSUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0495
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0085
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0068
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0072
RUEHMOS/REO MOSUL 0514
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSUL 000057 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL PINS PINT PGOV PHUM IZ MARR
SUBJECT: CHRISTIAN MILITIAS IN NINEWA PLAINS 
 
MOSUL 00000057  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Cameron Munter, PRT Leader, Provincial 
Reconstruction Team Ninewa, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 
 
 
 
------------------- 
SUMMARY AND COMMENT 
------------------- 
 
1.  (C) Christian religious and provincial government officials 
report Christian militias are operating in minority areas east 
of Mosul ("Ninewa Plains").  According to Dr. Lalo, assistant 
governor for the province, Christian forces in Ninewa Plains 
number approximately 1,250 and are personally being funded by 
the Minister of Finance from the Kurdistan Regional Government 
(KRG).  The presence of Christian militias raises questions 
about Kurdish influence in the province, especially in minority 
communities, possible complicity by the provincial government 
and KRG officials to allow the militias, and the potential 
failure of legitimate government security forces with 
recruiting, funding, and gaining the confidence of Ninewa's 
minority residents.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
----------------------------------- 
MILITIAS: ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS 
------------------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) Father Aimen Paulus (known as "Father Aimen"), Rector of 
St. George's Catholic Church (Assyrian Catholic) in Bartallah, 
told PRT on May 27 that Christian communities in eastern Ninewa 
("Ninewa Plains") had established a guard force for 
self-protection.  Dr. Lalo, Assistant Governor for 
Administration for Ninewa Province, commanded them, claimed 
Aimen.  On May 30, PRT spoke to Lalo for clarification.  Lalo 
more than graciously offered his perspective, but clarified that 
the forces were "not a militia" since the guards were authorized 
by Ninewa Governor Duraid Kashmoula.  Lalo went on to say the 
guards had no political role and were "absolutely necessary" for 
the protection of Christians in the area.  He said they numbered 
approximately 1,250 total, with 700 in Qaraqash, 350 in 
Bartallah, and 200 in Karamlash.  There was no formal 
headquarters or leadership, said Lalo, but he himself was 
appointed leader over the militia by the authority of the 
governor.  Weapons permits were issued through the provincial 
government, and the guards were required to wear civilian 
clothes.  The role of the force was to protect Christian 
districts and churches by searching, detaining and turning armed 
non-residents over to local police. 
 
3.  (C) Lalo said the guards had strict rules of engagement, 
however.  Deadly force was not permitted.  They could only carry 
AK-47 assault rifles, not pistols, heavy weapons, or mortars, he 
said.  Lalo claimed most guards were volunteers that held normal 
jobs.  Many worked at least two days at regular jobs, then one 
day as a guard.  A few, on the other hand, were paid 
professional guards, claimed Lalo.  Most have training from 
previous military or police experience, he said, and ex-Iraqi 
Army officers provided regular refresher training.  The 
principal financial supporter was KRG Minister of Finance 
Sarkese Aghjian, a Christian Kurd.  Lalo noted that funding came 
from Aghjian's personal coffers, and not from the KRG.  Local 
churches provided limited financial support, he said, and the 
guards themselves often paid for their own equipment and 
ammunition.  Membership was limited to Christians, however, as 
no other religious groups could join the force, he said. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
4.  (C) The Christian guard force appears to be the principal 
security service in the Christian areas surpassing the police in 
numbers and authority: compared to the 1,250 or so guards, there 
are no more than 200 Iraqi Police (IP) in the area, Lalo 
claimed.  According to Lalo, the IP look to the Christian guards 
to secure the area, and apparently act as a backup to the guard 
force.  During our visit to Bartallah to meet with Aimen we 
stopped and took pictures of some of the "Bartallah Guards," as 
they were identified on their badges (which were written in both 
English and Arabic).  The guards we spoke to were indeed wearing 
civilian clothes and carrying AK-47s. 
 
5.  (C) The mere presence of Christian militias in Ninewa Plains 
raises very real concerns.  It indicates the determination of 
local residents to protect themselves by any means necessary; 
the failure of provincial police and military officials to build 
 
MOSUL 00000057  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
the confidence of their constituents outside of Mosul; and the 
possibility of the provincial government's complicity with 
Kurdish officials from Iraqi Kurdistan to support militias in 
Ninewa.  Aimen claims the guards are not being trained or 
commanded by Peshmerga, but it remains unknown how closely 
aligned the forces are to the KRG.  To us, allegations that a 
single individual is supporting such a large force alone do not 
seem credible.  Furthermore, if allegations the militias are 
being funded by the KRG are true we wonder about the 
ramifications of further Kurdish encroachment in Ninewa Plains 
and what that means to the future of legitimate security 
efforts, as well as questions of which government entity -- the 
GOI or KRG -- will ultimately control the area. 
MUNTER

 


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