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WikiLeaks: 2006-08-17: 06BAGHDAD2992: ADM Reports Continued Marginalization of Christians

by WikiLeaks. 06BAGHDAD2992: August 17, 2006.

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM UT


Viewing cable 06BAGHDAD2992, NINEWA: ADM REPORTS CONTINUED MARGINALIZATION OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BAGHDAD2992 2006-08-17 10:01 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO2863
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2992/01 2291001
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171001Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6319
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002992 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2011 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA:  ADM REPORTS CONTINUED MARGINALIZATION OF 
CHRISTIANS 
 
REF: MOSUL 00048 
 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Leader James Knight. Reasons: 1.4(b) and (d). 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
 
 ------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) PRT Team Leader Knight and IPAO Pope met 
Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) Mosul Director 
and Provincial Council Representative Gevara Zia and 
ADM Deputy Director for Mosul Toma Khowshaba at PRT 
offices on FOB Marez (Mosul) 12 August 2006.  Zia 
and Khowshaba complain that Christians and other 
minorities in Ninewa continue to be marginalized by 
Arabs and Kurds.  They insist that Ninewa's Chaldo- 
Assyrian community was victimized by Kurdish 
intimidation and vote rigging in the January 2005 
provincial elections, denying ADM three Ninewa 
Provincial Council seats they would otherwise hold. 
 
2.  (C) Sectarian attacks by Arabs have caused the 
formerly large Christian communities in Basra and 
Baghdad to virtually disappear -- some of those 
families have fled to Ninewa, while others are going 
overseas.  ADM representatives are urgently 
concerned that more Christian land will be 
expropriated, further diluting the limited power 
Christians now hold in Ninewa and elsewhere in Iraq. 
End Summary. 
 
------------------------------------- 
2005 VOTING RIGGED AGAINST CHRISTIANS 
------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) When asked by Team Leader Knight to detail 
current ADM concerns, Zia compared Ninewa's Chaldo- 
Assyrian community to Native Americans and other 
indigenous minorities which struggle to maintain 
their cultures and control of their lands.  As his 
first example, he emphasized that Ninewa's 
Provincial Council should include at least four ADM 
members given Ninewa's Christian population.  This 
level of representation was denied in Ninewa's 2005 
provincial elections by Iraqi National Guard 
intimidation and ballot-box stuffing directed by 
Kurds.  Zia added that Shabek and other minorities 
are not problems for Christians, since they too 
suffer from Arab and Kurd marginalization. 
 
4.  (C)  Zia further accused the Independent 
Elections Commission of Iraq (IECI)-- then 
responsible for overseeing the election -- of bias 
in favor of Kurdish party lists.  Given this 
experience and the Sunni boycott of the 2005 
election, the Provincial Council of Ninewa is now a 
Kurdish entity -- 31 of the 41 members 
represent Kurds.  Zia asserted that vote-rigging 
targeting Christians was reported in a timely 
fashion to the USG, UN representatives, the IECI and 
the Iraqi Army, but ADM complaints were ignored. 
 
5.  (C) Zia is fearful that Kurd manipulation and 
intimidation will be repeated in upcoming provincial 
elections, and will further Christian 
marginalization in Ninewa.  Nonetheless, Zia 
affirmed that ADM will continue its efforts to gain 
political representation in the province 
commensurate with the Christian share of Ninewa's 
population. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
CHRISTIANS FROM BASRA AND BAGHDAD FLEEING TO NINEWA 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
6.  (C) In response to PRT Leader's query for 
further details on Christian communities in Ninewa, 
Khowshaba observed that over 3,000 Christian 
families recently relocated to the Ninewa Plains to 
escape violence in southern Iraq (Reftel).  He 
pointed out that Basra and Baghdad are being rapidly 
emptied of Christians, and some areas like Dora in 
Baghdad have been completely abandoned.  Displaced 
Christian families now in Ninewa have been assisted 
by friends and relatives and by the Assyrian Aid 
Society, which distributed funds raised in the 
United States, Europe and Australia.  No help has 
been offered or provided by the Ninewa Government. 
 
BAGHDAD 00002992  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
7.  (C) Khowshaba pointed out that that many of the 
best-trained and educated Iraqi Christians are 
leaving Iraq for Europe or the U.S.  This emigration 
further diminishes the political influence of Iraq's 
Christians. 
 
--------------------------- 
MORE LAND SEIZURES EXPECTED 
--------------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  When asked how Christian displacement has 
been accomplished, Zia recounted expropriation of 
Christian land under Saddam.  Under Law 117, 
traditionally Christian land in Ninewa was 
reallocated to Saddam supporters -- in 2001, 1230 
parcels of Christian land in Qara Qosh were given to 
Sunni Arabs.  Only 60 of those parcels have yet been 
returned to Christian families. 
 
9.  (C) Zia pointed out that a new land-tenure law 
similar to Saddam's Law 117 has been adopted by the 
GOI, to be administered by the Ministry of 
Municipalities.  Zia fears this new law will be used 
to displace still more Christians.  He believes 
Ninewa's Provincial Council will do nothing to end 
seizures of Christian land, since they favor Kurds 
and Arabs who control the provincial government. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10.  (C) ADM leadership clearly believes Chaldo- 
Assyrians remain oppressed by Arabs and Kurds, and 
believes that Ninewa's provincial government does 
not now protect their interests.  However, Zia's 
portrayal of Christians as one group among other 
minorities in Ninewa -- and implicitly their 
political partners --  suggests encouraging maturity 
in the ADM and other minority political groups. 
 
11.  (C) Comment continued.  If Khowshaba's numbers 
for Christian IDPs are correct -- and are in 
addition to the 2300-plus total of IDP families 
currently reported by the Provincial Council's 
Committee for Displacement and Migration and 
Ninewa's Red Crescent --  the total number of IDPs 
in Ninewa may reach 5,500 families (perhaps 21,000 
individuals).  However, like most of the Sunni IDPs 
in Ninewa, Christian IDPs have been supported by 
informal family and community networks rather than 
formal IDP assistance.  It remains to be seen 
whether this influx will contribute to enhanced 
numbers of Christian voters  when new provincial 
elections take place in 2007.  End comment. 
KHALILZAD

 



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