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WikiLeaks: 2007-11-29: 07AMMAN4738: Iraqis in Jordan Update

by WikiLeaks. 07AMMAN4738: November, 29, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 08:10 PM UT


Viewing cable 07AMMAN4738, IRAQIS IN JORDAN UPDATE - NOVEMBER 28

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07AMMAN4738 2007-11-29 17:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
VZCZCXRO9415
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHAM #4738/01 3331749
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291749Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1099
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0627
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 004738 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR FOR NEA AND PRM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREF SOCI IZ JO
SUBJECT: IRAQIS IN JORDAN UPDATE - NOVEMBER 28 
 
REF: AMMAN 4560 
 
Classified By: Ambassador David Hale for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Ambassador Hale urged new Jordanian Prime 
Minister Nader Dahabi, Minister of Planning Suhair al-Ali, 
and Chief of Royal Court Bassem Awadallah to regularize the 
status of Iraqis in Jordan.  The Ambassador attended an Iraqi 
Chaldean mass on November 25 and offered continued embassy 
outreach to respond to the questions and concerns of Iraqi 
Christians in Jordan.  Embassy observers report a significant 
increase in both Iraqi families returning overland to Iraq, 
and in cross-border commercial traffic at the Karameh-Trebil 
crossing.  Iraqi-Jordanian negotiations over the transaction 
details of the Government of Iraqi's $8 million assistance 
pledge continued during Iraqi Finance Minister Jabr's 
November 27-28 visit to Jordan.  END SUMMARY. 
 
AMBASSADOR PRESSES NEW PRIME MINISTER 
TO REGULARIZE IRAQI STATUS 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) During his first meeting with new Jordanian Prime 
Minister Nader Dahabi on November 27, the Ambassador urged 
the PM to legalize (i.e., issue residence permits) the status 
of Iraqis living in Jordan and to waive their overstay fines 
(which at 1.5 Jordanian dinars per person per day rapidly 
accumulate into sizeable financial burdens).  During a 
separate November 27 call on Minister of Planning Suhair 
al-Ali by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, the Ambassador 
reiterated his request for regularization, noting the 
continued (albeit unfounded) fear in the Iraqi community of 
deportation if out-of-status Iraqis attempt to access 
educational or health services or to seek work.  He did so 
with Royal Court Chief Awadallah that same day.  While 
Jordanian officials were non-committal, they said they would 
work on the issue. 
 
3.  (C) COMMENT AND NOTE:  While 56 percent of Iraqi 
respondents to the May survey by Norwegian research 
institute FAFO claimed to have legal residence, other 
observers including local NGOs and the ICRC estimate the 
number to be far fewer.  Regularization of status remains a 
major obstacle to supporting the needs of Iraqis in Jordan. 
Granting legal residency would allay Iraqi fears of 
deportation and encourage greater numbers of Iraqis to access 
expanding social services being offered by the GOJ, the UN, 
and NGOs.   While the GOJ is not in the business of mass 
roundups or deportations, Iraqis and NGOs report that such 
fears linger and individual detentions and deportations occur 
- though the GOJ maintains deportations affect only those 
posing a security or criminal threat.  END COMMENT AND NOTE. 
 
CROSS-BORDER ACTIVITY ON THE INCREASE 
------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) During a November 27 Karamah-Trebil border visit, 
the Embassy's Civil Affairs Liaison Team (CALT) observed a 
dramatic increase in cross-border vehicle movement.  CALT 
team members counted 8-10 vehicles, mostly rented Suburbans 
loaded with the trappings of family life (furniture, bedding, 
televisions), compared with negligible movement during the 
preceding months.  Families (of four to six-members) appeared 
to occupy the Iraq-bound vehicles.  Jordanian border 
officials reported that they too have observed this trend of 
Iraqis departing Jordan over the past week.  In addition, 
two-way truck and commercial traffic appeared to be on the 
increase as well with 250-300 trucks and commercial vehicles 
crossing per day, up from 100-125 just one week ago. 
 
OUTREACH TO IRAQI CHRISTIANS 
---------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) On November 25, the Ambassador attended Sunday mass 
at the Chaldean Vicariate church.  An offshoot of the 
Catholic Church, the Iraqi Chaldeans represent the largest 
Iraqi Christian community in Jordan - self-estimated at 
between 10,000 and 12,000 members strong.  The Church offers 
its poorer members occasional food and non-food item support, 
informal education in its churches, and catechism classes for 
Iraqi children in Amman and Fuheis. 
 
6. (SBU) Following the service, the Ambassador met with 
Father Ramon al-Moussali, a Syrian priest who has lived in 
Jordan for nearly a decade, and approximately 30 members of 
his congregation.  Chaldean families recounted their reasons 
for fleeing Iraq - threats, beatings, kidnapping and murder - 
as well as the physical hardships and bureaucratic obstacles 
related to life in Jordan and their prospects for 
resettlement. 
 
AMMAN 00004738  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
7. (SBU) The Ambassador committed to regular follow-on 
meetings between embassy officers and Father Moussali and his 
parish.  The next such meeting will take place on December 
13; Post will send a consular officer, refcoord, and human 
rights/religious freedoms officer to hear the concerns of the 
community and answer questions regarding eligibility for 
resettlement programs in an attempt to provide accurate 
information and dispel some of the myriad myths abounding 
within the Iraqi community.  Emboffs will encourage UNHCR 
Jordan representatives to join these meetings as appropriate. 
 
GOVERNMENTS OF IRAQ AND JORDAN DISCUSSING USD8 MILLION 
PLEDGE 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
8. (C) Following up on the previously reported transfer of 
USD 8 million from the Government of Iraq to the Iraqi 
Embassy in Amman to assist with displaced Iraqis living in 
Jordan (ref A), Iraqi Minister of Finance Bayan Jabr Solagh 
traveled to Amman November 27-28 to discuss disbursement 
mechanisms.  Several sources have confirmed that negotiations 
between the GOI and GOJ are ongoing with the Iraqi government 
continuing to insist upon a direct bilateral transfer.  Any 
agreement reached will be reported septel. 
Hale

 



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