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WikiLeaks: 2007-04-26: 07BAGHDAD1425: Baghdad Christians Say Insurgents Displacing Christians in Doura, Coalition Patrols Doura

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD1425: April 26, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 04:48 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD1425, BAGHDAD CHRISTIANS SAY INSURGENTS DISPLACING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD1425 2007-04-26 12:02 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO7912
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1425/01 1161202
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 261202Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0921
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC// PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 001425 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2017 
TAGS: PHUM MOPS KIRF PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: BAGHDAD CHRISTIANS SAY INSURGENTS DISPLACING 
CHRISTIANS IN DOURA, COALITION PATROLS DOURA 
 
REF: A) US ARMY NEWS RELEASE 12 04 06 B) BAGHDAD 1190 
 
BAGHDAD 00001425  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: DEPUTY POLITICAL COUNSELOR ROBERT GILCHRIST, FOR REASONS 
 1.4 (B,D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: During separate meetings with PolOff, three 
Christian contacts since April 16 have verified April 17 
Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) on-line news 
reports that Sunni insurgents have begun a new campaign to 
displace Christian residents of Baghdad's Doura district. 
Having already driven out many Shiite residents, Al Qaeda in 
Iraq (AQI)-affiliated insurgents are reportedly now beginning 
to drive out Christians.  Contacts report that since April 4, 
at least eight families have left Doura after insurgents gave 
them the choice to convert, pay to support the insurgency, 
leave, or die.  The contacts alleged that the insurgents' 
tactics include using children as spotters.  On April 22, 
Bishop Shlemoon Wardoni, the Vice Patriarch of the Chaldean 
Church told PolOff that he was still seeking proof of these 
claims.  Meanwhile, Coalition Forces in Doura have not 
directly observed AQI displacement of Christians, but say it 
is consistent with AQI's alleged, prior displacement of 
Shiites in Doura.  The Coalition is taking steps to try to 
address the situation, including increasing dismounted 
patrols of the area. END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------- 
ANTI-CHRISTIAN THREATS IN DOURA 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Three Christian contacts -- who are locally hired 
staff from Baghdad -- informed PolOff in separate meetings 
that as of April 14, Sunni AQI-affiliated insurgents have 
issued a fatwa (religious edict) declaring that Doura is an 
"Islamic State".  The fatwa was reportedly "announced" by the 
posting of paper fliers to the district's electrical poles. 
One Christian contact on April 16 reported that AQI has 
forced at least eight families from three different Doura 
neighborhoods -- Mu'alameen (Mahalla 830), Iskan Shabi 
(Mahallas 822, 824, and 826), and Mechanic (Mahallas 858 and 
854) -- to leave their homes during the previous week. 
(Note: "Mahallas" are numbered sectors within each district. 
End note.)  According to the contact, AQI also warned Sunni 
families living in the area not to interfere. 
 
3. (C) On April 22, Bishop Shlemoon Wardoni, the Vice 
Patriarch of the Chaldean Church -- who has negotiated for 
the release of numerous Chaldean priests kidnapped for ransom 
-- told PolOff that that he had not been able to 
independently verify the existence of the fatwa and the 
stories of forced displacement. He said that he had asked 
Doura Christians to provide him copies of the fatwa 
announcement, but thus far no one had done so.  Wardoni 
argued that it was important to collect supporting evidence 
for the claims of victimization, adding that people sometimes 
exaggerate when they are afraid. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
INSURGENTS REPORTEDLY DEMAND: PAY, CONVERT, LEAVE, OR DIE 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
4. (C) One Christian contact on April 19 reported to PolOff 
that Sunni insurgents forced her uncle's family out of their 
home located in Doura's Mahalla 838, Street 58, on April 4. 
She said the family fled after insurgents burned the family's 
Western-style women's clothing in the street, and then, 
putting a gun to her aunt's head, gave the family the choice 
to convert to Islam, pay the "jizya" tax, leave, or die.  The 
contact said that the amount the insurgents demanded for the 
"jizya" was 30,000 USD.  (Note: "Jizya" was a tax levied on 
non-Muslims during early Islam. End note.)  The family 
immediately left the home, without taking any of their 
belongings and is now living at another location in Baghdad. 
The contact asserted that some Christians believe insurgents 
are targeting them because they view Christians as 
pro-American (ref B). 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
AQI SAID TO USE RADIOS, PATROL STREETS, TRAIN CHILDREN 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
5. (C) The contact reported that during the April 4 raid on 
her uncle's home in Mahalla 838, the insurgents used 
hand-held radios to take instructions from their leader -- a 
sheikh -- throughout the raid.  She added that according to 
Mahalla 838 residents, the insurgents patrol the streets in 
cars to make sure that people are complying with their 
 
BAGHDAD 00001425  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
demands.  Insurgents in Mahalla 838 reportedly rotate the 
license plates on three vehicles they use for their patrols 
-- a 1980s blue "Barazili" sedan, a 1980s red "Barazili" 
sedan, and a newer light blue Kia double-cabin pickup truck. 
The insurgents also reportedly use a Kia van, with a 10 to 15 
passenger capacity, for kidnappings. 
 
6. (C) The contact also alleged AQI is using several mosques 
in the vicinity of Mahalla 838 on Fridays to teach children 
as young as eight years old how to use weapons to combat the 
U.S. military.  She said the names of the mosques are:  Abdul 
Aziz, Othman, Bashir Al-Hudda, and Al-Mustafa. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- 
INSURGENTS SAID TO DISTRIBUTE ABAYAS, USE CHILDREN AS SPOTTERS 
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- 
 
7. (C) Another Christian contact, on April 18 reported to 
PolOff that a woman from a Sunni family now occupying her 
home in Doura's Mahalla 826, Street 17, told her recently 
that the "mujahudeen" are now going door-to-door to 
distribute black gloves, socks, and abayas for women to wear. 
 The same woman said the insurgents have implemented a rule 
prohibiting women from using cell phones in public. 
 
8. (C) The contact added that the insurgents were using 
children as spotters to obtain information on the families 
that they were targeting in Doura and identify locations that 
Coalition Forces frequent in order to plant bombs in those 
places.  Meanwhile, the local residents -- including Sunnis 
-- are reportedly too intimidated to say anything when they 
see insurgents installing improvised explosive devices 
(IEDs).  The source commented that the insurgents are 
good-looking, well-dressed young men, who sometimes wear 
white and black patterned head-dresses when conducting 
operations; however, she was unable to comment on their 
number.  She assessed that someone is paying them and 
providing them equipment. 
 
------------------------------------- 
FIRST THE SHIITES, NOW THE CHRISTIANS 
------------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) The Christian contacts noted that the Sunni insurgents 
had previously driven out or killed the Shiites living in 
certain areas of Doura and that the campaign against 
Christians appeared to be the next phase of a plan to rid the 
district of its non-Sunni population.  For example, one 
contact reported that the insurgents had already forced 
Shiites out of Iskan Shabi (Mahallas 822, 824, and 826).  The 
Christian contact that left her home in Mahalla 826, Street 
17, stated that she fled after finding the corpse of Shiite 
man at her doorstep in December 2006. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
COALITION ASSESSMENT/INITIATIVES IN DOURA 
----------------------------------------- 
 
10. (S) Coalition commanders in Doura cannot confirm these 
specific accounts of intimidation and are not aware of 
Christian enclaves in the referenced mahallas.  Therefore, 
the Coalition assesses the accounts may be from isolated 
Christians in Sunni neighborhoods.  At the same time, 
however, the Coalition notes that an AQI campaign against 
Christians in Doura would be consistent with AQI's previous 
history of forcing the displacement of Shiite residents from 
the area.  The Coalition assesses that such intimidation will 
likely increase in the near term, particularly with the 
planned departure of Coalition Forces from the Combat Outpost 
(COP) located at the Chaldean seminary in Doura at the end of 
May -- at the request of the Chaldean Church (ref B). 
 
11. (S-NOFORN) In order to continue protecting the residents 
of Doura, the Coalition is exploring alternate COP sites near 
the seminary, increasing dismounted patrols in the mahallas, 
and conducting Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations to 
improve understanding of the local population.  For example, 
the Coalition initiated Operation "Close Encounters" designed 
to identify systematically residents of each neighborhood and 
determine occupied/unoccupied residences.  This operation 
strives to improve the Coalition's understanding of the 
dynamics within the mahallas, as well as to target potential 
insurgent caches, possibly based in deserted homes. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
BAGHDAD 00001425  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
 
12. (C) At this time, Post cannot verify that there is a 
large-scale AQI campaign in Doura to target Christians 
exclusively.  Post is attempting to collect specific 
information on the location and nature of insurgent activity 
in Doura to help the Coalition military units that patrol 
Doura focus their efforts.  Post will continue to seek 
information from Christians able and willing to provide 
evidence to validate allegations of intimidation.  END 
COMMENT. 
CROCKER

 



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