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WikiLeaks: 2006-07-25: 06KIRKUK131: Assyrian Democratic Movement Leader on Christians' Status in KRG area

by WikiLeaks. 06KIRKUK131: July 25, 2006.

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM UT


Viewing cable 06KIRKUK131, C) ASSYRIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT LEADER ON CHRISTIANS'

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIRKUK131 2006-07-25 09:11 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL REO Kirkuk
VZCZCXRO0074
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL
DE RUEHKUK #0131/01 2060911
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 250911Z JUL 06
FM REO KIRKUK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0694
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0656
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHKUK/REO KIRKUK 0722
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIRKUK 000131 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/25/2016 
TAGS: PREF PREL PGOV PHUM PINR PINS ECON KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: (C) ASSYRIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT LEADER ON CHRISTIANS' 
STATUS IN KRG AREAS 
 
KIRKUK 00000131  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Tim Uselmann, Political Officer, IPAO, Department 
of State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
 
 
1.      (C) INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY:  Assyrian Democratic 
Movement (ADM) General Secretary, Salim Kako, stated on July 9 
that poor security and ethnic discrimination were causing 
Christians and Kurds to resettle to northern areas of Iraq, 
which was straining the relations between Kurdish and Assyrian 
Christian communities.  Many of these imigris have not been able 
to find housing or employment.  The ethnic association of each 
community was complicating the situation.  Assyrian Christians 
viewed themselves as Iraqis, while the Kurdish migrants have 
rediscovered their own Kurdish nationalist identity. 
Proselytizing activities of evangelical Christians were causing 
the Iraqi Assyrian Christian community to lose numbers on the 
national ethnic registry because they are being reclassified as 
Kurds.  END INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY. 
 
(C) CHRISTIAN, KURDISH POPULATION SHIFTS NORTH 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2. (C) ADM leader, Salim Kako, met with IPAO on July 9, 2006, to 
discuss the current status of Christians in the Kurdistan 
Regional Government (KRG) areas. He said that poor security in 
central and southern Iraq was causing Christians and Kurds to 
move to northern areas, which was straining the relationship 
between the two communities. Both ethnic groups were competing 
for scarce housing space and employment opportunities.  Kako 
said the only controls on this demographic shift were due to KRG 
security measures, since migrants to KRG areas were required to 
register with the local security office to prove they had an 
extended family or other means of support, and also to identify 
any political associations or activities. 
 
(C) SOME ASSYRIAN AREAS AT RISK, OTHERS PROTECTED 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
3.  (C) Between 85 and 95 percent of Assyrian Christians in Iraq 
lived in the Ainkawa-Dahuk-Mosul triangle, according to Kako. 
(Note:  Ainkawa is situated on the outskirts of Erbil, and is 
the seat of the Chaldo-Assyrian bishopric.  End note.)  He said 
Assyrian Christians were especially concentrated in the villages 
of Karakush, Karamlis, Bartallah, Tel Kaif, Tel Uskuf, Batnayah, 
and Al-Qosh.  Kako said the KRG had prohibited Kurds from 
purchasing houses or land in Ainkawa to protect its traditional 
Christian identity and to avoid potential ethnic tensions in the 
KRG capital that could result as Kurdish ex-patriots returned 
from abroad and bought up property.  He said that in other areas 
Kurds have been purchasing land from Christians who often used 
the money to leave Iraq, and that this was causing problems 
between the returning Kurds and the remaining Assyrian 
Christians who increasingly found themselves in the minority. 
Kako claimed the ADM had requested the KRG give land and 
property to Christians but so far they had received none while 
the Kurds continued buying Christian houses. 
 
(C) "LIKE ICE IN WATER" 
----------------------- 
 
4.  (C) Kako said the proselytizing activities of evangelical 
Christians, mostly Anglican Protestants, were causing problems 
within the Assyrian and Islamic communities.  First, the 
evangelical churches were causing the disappearance of Assyrians 
from the national roster because Kurdish was the official 
liturgical language of the evangelical churches in northern 
Iraq.  Kako stated that, upon conversion, former Assyrians were 
automatically re-registered as Kurds since the national roster 
was based on linguistic identity, creating a present but 
invisible Assyrian community, like "ice dropped in water." 
Second, Islamist groups such as Jami'a Islamiyya were blaming 
all Christians for recent Muslim converts to the evangelical 
churches, and used these proselytizing activities as 
justification to attack Christians in general, to include 
Assyrians. 
 
(C) RELATIONS WITH KDP AND PUK 
------------------------------ 
 
5.  (C) Kako dismissed the impression he said many people held 
that Assyrian Christians had better relations with the PUK than 
the KDP.  He said this impression was due to geo-political and 
cultural factors, namely that most Iraqi Christian cities fell 
under KDP areas of control and because there was a Turkish 
presence in Erbil which was more Islamist than in other areas. 
Kako asserted PUK-controlled Sulaymaniyah contained a relatively 
minor Christian presence and was also more open and tolerant. 
 
(C) KURDS WANT MOSUL, KIRKUK; ASSYRIANS LOOK TO BAGHDAD 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
KIRKUK 00000131  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
 
6.  (C) According to Kako, there was a growing political 
disconnect between the Kurds and Assyrians as the new Iraqi 
government took shape.  The Assyrian position vis-`-vis the 
Kurds had changed since 2003, when Kurds openly started talking 
about gaining Mosul and Kirkuk.  The strife between Shia and 
Sunnis positioned the Kurds to a new national power status, Kako 
said, but the KDP and PUK cared only about getting Mosul and 
Kirkuk, not about Baghdad, and put their Kurdish identity first. 
 He said the Assyrian community, in contrast, historically 
looked to Baghdad because this was the political center, 
Assyrians were traditionally well represented in government, and 
because Assyrians considered themselves to be Iraqis. 
 
(U) COMMENT 
----------- 
 
7.   (C) It is worth noting Kako repeatedly expressed concern 
during the meeting over the Assyrian communities in and around 
Mosul; he claimed the KDP appointed local leaders, had little 
concern with true democracy, and wanted to "use" the Assyrians 
to take control of the eastern portion of the city.  The 
villages Kako cited as having the highest concentration of 
Assyrians are all situated just north and east of Mosul, and 
thus annexation of these areas into the KRG would affect the 
bulk of Iraqi Assyrians. 
JBIGUS

 



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