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WikiLeaks: 2008-01-19: 08BAGHDAD135: Ninewa Christians Discuss Nineveh Plains Goals with Codel Wolf

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD135: January 19, 2008.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 08:51 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD135, NINEWA CHRISTIANS DISCUSS NINEVEH PLAIN GOALS WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD135 2008-01-19 08:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO6710
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0135 0190837
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 190837Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5266
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000135 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV EAID KIRF IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA CHRISTIANS DISCUSS NINEVEH PLAIN GOALS WITH 
CODEL WOLF 
 
REF: 07 BAGHDAD 3488 
 
Classified By: DEPUTY POLITICAL COUNSELOR ELLEN GERMAIN FOR REASONS 1.4 
 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) At the Ninewa PRT, Christian leaders representing 
parties including the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) and 
the Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP) expressed general 
consensus to CODEL Wolf (Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. 
Joseph Pitts (R-PA)) January 3 on forming a Christian, 
self-governed area in the Nineveh Plain -- while 
acknowledging there were different visions for implementing 
self-governance.  (Note: The ADM party in June 2007 released 
a statement calling their right to establish a 
self-administered unit in the Nineveh Plain a part of 
"executing and practicing Article 125 of the Constititution." 
Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution outlines the guarantee 
of "the administrative, political, cultural, and educational 
rights of the various nationalities, such as Turkomen, 
Chaldeans, Assyrians, and all other constituents." End note.) 
They told the CODEL there was no consensus among the at least 
28 different Christian political parties in Iraq on whether a 
self-governed area should fall under the Kurdistan Regional 
Government's (KRG) authority or report to the central 
government.  One ADM representative complained that Kurdish 
tribes had appropriated a lot of Christian land within the 
Kurdistan Region. (Comment: The ADM has envisioned an 
autonomously administered Christian region reporting to the 
central government, while the APP has supported the idea of 
Christian self-governance under KRG authority. End Comment.) 
 
2. (C) The leaders, including Basim Bello, Chairman of the 
ADM and the Mayor of Tel Kaif District in northern Ninewa, 
and Ninewa Provincial Council (PC) members Evlin Anwar Oraha 
(ADM) and Basima Isa Sulayman of the Iraqi Communist Party 
(ICP), a third ADM representative, and two APP members argued 
the Ninewa Provincial Council (PC) -- rather than other 
institutions like churches -- should decide how to spend the 
10 million dollars in aid that the U.S. Congress has 
earmarked for assisting religious minorities in the Nineveh 
Plain area.  They noted that 4 out of 41 members of the 
Ninewa PC were Christian, and there were also many Christian 
representatives in the local District Advisory Councils who 
had experience with distributing aid.  (Comment:  Iraqi 
Christian religious leaders have publicly expressed 
skepticism regarding plans to create an autonomously 
administered Christian region, arguing that Christians should 
be able to live amongst Muslims, without being isolated in 
one area.  Therefore, Christian political leaders sometimes 
represent a different "Christian" agenda than religious 
leaders and would likely want to avoid empowering the 
churches by distributing aid through them. End comment.) 
Rep. Wolf told the leaders that they should provide their 
inputs to PRT Ninewa and U.S. officials who would coordinate 
the assistance. 
 
3. (C) The CODEL solicited the leaders' specific anecdotes 
about anti-Christian persecution.  The leaders did not 
provide such anecdotes, but rather focused on communicating 
their concerns about the rise of nationalism within regions, 
political disunity amongst Christians, the demographic impact 
of continued Iraqi Christian emigration, and the Islamic 
basis for laws and the Constitution.  For example, Mayor 
Bello complained that minorities living in Ninewa had been 
deprived of their political rights since Iraq was established 
and they hope for self rule in both Ninewa and in the 
Kurdistan Region where there are approximately 120 Christian 
villages.  Rep. Wolf told the leaders he hoped that U.S. 
assistance would start building mechanisms for solutions; 
however, the assistance itself would not resolve the issues 
they raised.  Rep. Wolf also expressed his support for 
creating a State Department point-person to monitor the 
Christians' situation, noting this would be an individual the 
Christian communities could reach out to in order to ensure 
their concerns are heard. 
 
4. (U) CODEL Wolf did not have an opportunity to clear this 
cable. 
CROCKER

 



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