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WikiLeaks: 2006-05-31: 06MOSUL56: Ninewa: Local Christian Officials Claim Internally Displaced Persons Growing in Number

by WikiLeaks. 06MOSUL56: May 31, 2006.

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 04:45 PM UTC


Viewing cable 06MOSUL56, NINEWA: LOCAL CHRISTIAN OFFICIALS CLAIM INTERNALLY DISPLACED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSUL56 2006-05-31 07:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL REO
Mosul
VZCZCXRO2403
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMOS #0056/01 1510715
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 310715Z MAY 06
FM REO MOSUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0493
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0083
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0066
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0070
RUEHMOS/REO MOSUL 0512
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSUL 000056 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL PINS PINT PGOV PHUM IZ MARR
SUBJECT: NINEWA: LOCAL CHRISTIAN OFFICIALS CLAIM INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS GROWING IN NUMBER 
 
REF: A) MOSUL 48; B) 2005 MOSUL 149 
 
MOSUL 00000056  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Cameron Munter, PRT Leader, Provincial 
Reconstruction Team Ninewa, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 
 
 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) Local religious and political officials report that the 
number of internally displaced Christians fleeing Baghdad and 
Mosul to eastern Ninewa is growing.  Father Aimen of St. 
George's Catholic Church in Bartallah claims around 3,000 
displaced persons are already residing in Al Hamdiniya District, 
with many more expected as the Iraqi school year ends on June 8. 
 Aimen says the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been 
providing monetary assistance to the displaced through local 
churches.  Plans to construct housing for Christian IDPs in 
Bartallah are almost complete, he says, but potential builders 
are seeking additional funding from the GOI, USG, and the 
international community.  Aimen believes if something is not 
done soon to address the situation the number of displaced 
persons will become a heavy burden on already strained residents 
of Ninewa's Christian community.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) PRT met with Father Aimen Paulus (known as "Father 
Aimen"), Rector of St. George's Assyrian Catholic Church and 
George Kako, parishioner and businessman in Bartallah on May 27. 
 
 
------------------------------------ 
DISPLACED CHRISTIANS: NUMBER GROWING 
------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (C) Local religious officials reported the number of 
internally displaced Christians in the area of Ninewa Plains 
(eastern Ninewa) was growing (ref a).  Father Aimen and George 
Kako alleged there were approximately 550 Christian IDP families 
in northern Iraq with more arriving every week.  Aimen estimated 
there was between 2,500 and 3,000 people affected by the 
displacement as a result of sectarian violence in Baghdad and 
Mosul.  He believed as the Iraqi school year ended the week of 
June 8 more Christians would seek refuge in Ninewa Plains. 
Aimen said IDPs reported receiving threat letters advising their 
departure from Muslim neighborhoods immediately following the 
close of the school year.  However, Aimen did not have copies of 
the letters.  Aimen claimed that neither the provincial nor 
central government in Baghdad had engaged on the issue, although 
he admitted he had not directly petitioned either for help.  He 
believed such requests would be fruitless.  Aimen said neither 
the USG nor UNAMI had helped, even though a UNAMI delegation 
visited the area recently and spoke to several refugees. 
Rather, help had only come in the form of monetary donations 
from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and directly from 
the KRG Minister of Finance Serkese Aghjian, a Christian Kurd. 
Aimen said he was also disappointed by the media's lack of 
interest in the issue. 
 
4.  (C) Zuher Yousef of Beth Nahrain Patriotic Union claimed 
Christians fleeing Baghdad to Bartallah and Qaraqosh were mostly 
from the neighborhoods of Dora, Ghadeer, Mahdee, and 
Baghdad-Jideeda.  Edmon Youkhana of Assyrian Democratic Movement 
(ADM) said on a recent visit to Dora neighborhood he personally 
witnessed the bad living conditions there.  He claimed Dora went 
"dead" after three in the afternoon, with businesses closed and 
little or no pedestrian traffic.  About eight Christians were 
murdered there daily, he said.  In Mosul Christians were fleeing 
the neighborhoods of Nabi Younis, said Youkhana, and in the past 
four months about 60 families had left Mosul for Iraqi 
Kurdistan.  He said ADM was conducting a survey on the issue and 
would provide the PRT with its findings soon.  Shimael Zayya of 
the Assyrian Patriotic Party said providing shelter to Christian 
IDPs in Ninewa Plain and Iraqi Kurdistan was becoming a burden. 
He said the Christian religious community and the KRG were 
helping provide assistance, such as shelter and donations. 
 
----------------------- 
ONE FAMILY'S EXPERIENCE 
----------------------- 
 
5.  (C) PRT spoke to a displaced family from Baghdad that was 
now living with relatives in Bartallah.  Sha'mon Georgis Isaac 
and his wife Mo'aziz Aziz Naser and their eight children and one 
seriously ill granddaughter left their home and business in Dora 
 
MOSUL 00000056  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
after receiving a direct threat from masked gunmen as well as a 
letter telling them to leave immediately, they said.  Over the 
past 18 months they lost three family members, they claimed, 
including two sons-in-law.  The family of 11 has been residing 
in two small rooms and relying on the goodwill of friends and 
neighbors for help.  Since Isaac and his family were not from 
Bartallah they were unable to participate in the food ration 
system, he said.  Aimen claimed the KRG was giving Christian 
IDPs in Ninewa between 75,000 and 150,000 (50 to 100 USD) Iraqi 
Dinars monthly.  Isaac and Naser, whose house in Baghdad was 
adjacent to a Sunni mosque, confirmed previous reports of imams 
advising Muslims not to buy property from Christians but to wait 
until Christians fled so the property could be obtained for 
free.  Naser said the family at first stayed with friends in 
another neighborhood in Baghdad for two months before seeking 
safety in Ninewa on April 14.  Naser said the family was too 
afraid to return to Baghdad and would like to stay in Bartallah 
if they could find jobs to support themselves. 
 
--------------------------- 
PROPOSED HOUSING FACILITIES 
--------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) Meeting the anticipated needs of future additional IDPs 
Aimen and Kako prepared a proposal for the construction of a 
housing complex for 200 to 250 IDP families.  Kako and St. 
George's parish would provide the land for the complexes, he 
said, but they were hoping for funding from the USG and 
international NGO community.  So far, only the KRG had offered 
initial support to get the project moving.  The housing would 
only be for Christian IDPs, according to Aimen, even though 
large numbers of Shabek Shia IDPs were coming to Ninewa from 
Mosul as well.  Kako and Aimen believed the Shia community 
should address the needs of their own people, however, rather 
than having a unified IDP assistance program for the area, they 
said.  This was particularly important since Christians and Shia 
would be unable to live together peacefully in the same 
compound, claimed Aimen. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7.  (C) These accounts of Christian IDPs in Ninewa pale in 
comparison to recent statistics of Arab IDPs around the country. 
 Yet these accounts are troubling.  That the KRG, through MOF 
Aghjian, is providing monetary support to the families and has 
plans to partially fund any housing tenements for Christian IDPs 
can be read from many angles: altruistically, it certainly 
indicates the goodwill of the KRG towards its minority 
neighbors.  Unfortunately, KRG aid, especially from a disputed 
official such as Aghjian who has been accused by ADM and other 
political groups of "buying off" Christian religious officials 
in Ninewa (ref b), might raise flags of potential Kurdish 
encroachment in minority villages.  Kako, a leading businessman 
who has done well on contracts from Coalition Forces and the 
USG, has his proposal completed and is ready to construct 
housing for the IDPs on his property.  His willingness to do so 
is as much a reflection of his general thoughtfulness for the 
displaced (he has been recognized as being extraordinarily 
generous to charities in Ninewa Plains), or as a potential 
profiteer of an unfortunate series of events.  Whatever the 
motives of Kako, or the KRG, the fact remains: Christians in 
eastern Ninewa are beginning to feel the impact of violence to 
the south. 
MUNTER

 


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