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WikiLeaks: 2008-07-09: 08BAGHDAD2139: Ninewa: Diversity of Views from Assyrian Christian Leaders in Al Qosh

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2139: July 09, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 03:09 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD2139, NINEWA: DIVERSITY OF VIEWS FROM ASSYRIAN CHRISTIAN

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2139 2008-07-09 15:17 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO3001
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2139 1911517
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 091517Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8232
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 002139 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: DIVERSITY OF VIEWS FROM ASSYRIAN CHRISTIAN 
LEADERS IN AL QOSH 
 
Classified By: PRT leader Alex Laskaris; reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
 
1. (C) In a July 3 meeting with PRT and US Army civil affairs 
personnel, Mayor of Tal Kaif District (and Provincial 
Chairman of the Assyrian Democratic Movement) Basim Bello 
said Assyrians in Ninewa Province feel intimidated by the 
Kurds and suffer from a lack of essential services.  Bello 
said the solution lies in the inclusion of all groups in the 
provincial government.  He said civil rights protections for 
Christians will continue to be a concern whether 
predominantly Christian areas remain part of Ninewa or join 
the KRG.  He reiterated his party's position that the 
Christian areas of Ninewa should form an autonomous region 
under Article 125 of the constitution.  PRT leader stressed 
the USG,s commitment to ensuring fair treatment of minority 
communities within Iraq and said minority protections will be 
an important indicator of the overall health of Iraqi 
democracy. 
 
2. (C) In a separate meeting with Father Dinkha Issa, the 
Assyrian Christian priest in charge of the Monastery of Rabbi 
Hormiz and nearby Church of the Holy Virgin at Al Qosh, PRT 
leader asked about the welfare of Christians in Al Qosh. 
Dhinka expressed hope the church could help bring peace to an 
area that he described as "disputed between two governments" 
(the Government of Iraq and the KRG).  Unlike Basim, Dhinka 
said there have been no problems with intimidation or 
interference from political parties or Kurdish security 
forces.  He said the main problem for the church and its 
adjoining orphanage was inadequate drinking water; a new 
orphanage building, funded by KRG Minister of Finance Sarkis 
Aghajan, was nearly finished.  He asked for help procuring a 
vehicle gate to help secure the monastery site. 
 
3. (C) Comment:  These two conversations with long-term PRT 
interlocutors reflect the differences of view within the 
Assyrian community.  Both men are dedicated to protecting 
their community, but may come to different conclusions about 
how best to ensure its safety in a new Iraq.  PRT will 
continue to cultivate close contact with all of Ninewah's 
minority groups and report the diversity of views held by key 
figures on questions of politics, security, and community 
identity.  We will also explore the possibility of using our 
resources to help secure unique religious sites like the 
Monastery of Rabbi Hormiz, which is an invaluable piece of 
Iraq,s national patrimony and a potential tourist attraction 
capable of generating wealth in a poor area. 
 
CROCKER 


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