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WikiLeaks: 2008-09-03: 08BAGHDAD2828: Ninewa: Minority Community Representatives Share Concerns, and Prejudices, with UNAMI

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2828: September 03, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 07:23 PM UT


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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2828 2008-09-03 03:14 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
DE RUEHGB #2828/01 2470314
O 030314Z SEP 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002828 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2018 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Leader Alex Laskaris, Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
1. (C) Summary:  Ninewa,s minority communities are divided 
between and among themselves over the article 140 process. 
Some claim that their communities will be better off under 
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) rule; others prefer to 
remain part of Ninewa Province.  Some cite the KRG as their 
primary threat, while others cite Al Qaeda.  Internal unity 
among confessional or ethnic minority groups is still far 
over the horizon; getting Ninewa,s minority groups to 
recognize common interests and make common cause is an even 
more daunting challenge.  At the same time, it is the Sunni 
Arab majority that is the source of the insurgency and which 
is most alienated from provincial power, either the formal 
structure through Mosul or the informal KRG mechanisms that 
dominate the political life of the province.  End summary. 
2. (C) On August 26-30, a UN human rights team led by Maria 
Soledad Pazzo (Argentine) visited PRT Ninewa to interview 
representatives from ethnic and confessional minority groups, 
as well as Arab and Kurdish groups regarding the human rights 
situation in Ninewa Province.  (Note: PRT did not sit in the 
meetings with the UN.) 
3. (C) On August 27, the UN team met with Yezidi and Shebak 
groups from Hamdaniya and Al-Sheikhan led by Hussein Aswad 
Mato of the Yezidi Cultural Center and Sindibad Shawkat of 
the Shebak Cultural Center respectively.  According to Pazzo, 
both groups were highly politicized and appeared to be paid 
to support the KRG publicly.  Neither raised any specific 
human rights concerns but noted their satisfaction with the 
security situation provided for them by the KRG. 
4. (C) Also on August 27, the UN team met with Kurdish 
members of the Ninewa Provincial Council as well as some 
members of the Herki, Keki and Mizori groups.  (Note:  The 
Herkis are Kurds who supported Saddam Hussein and are now 
outcasts in the Bartalla area.  The Keki and Mizori are 
Kurdish clans both suspected of instigating violence against 
Yezidis in Al-Sheikhan in February 2007.)  The head of the 
delegation was Mahdi Herki, who is also a KDP Provincial 
Council member.  Overall, Pazzo said the Kurds primarily 
blamed the difficult security situation in Mosul on Arab 
Muslim extremists.  In addition, Pazzo said that Herki and 
the others attending the meeting blamed the Kurdish exodus 
from Mosul city on the repeated assassinations of Kurds at 
the hands of Muslim Arab extremists.  None of the attendees, 
including the Herki Kurds, mentioned any Kurd-on-Kurd 
5. (C) Pazzo and her team met with Sunni Arab and Turkmen 
tribal leaders on August 28.  There were Arabs 
representatives from the districts of Sinjar, Makhmoor, 
Mosul, and Tel Afar.  They were led by Shaher Sultan of Qaraj 
sub-district, who complained mostly of unlawful Kurdish 
detention of Arabs.  In addition, the Arab representatives 
from Sinjar said they were being discouraged from registering 
to vote by Peshmerga forces guarding Voter Registration 
Centers.  According to Pazzo, the Peshmerga would tell Arabs 
trying to register that elections would not be held so there 
was no need to register.  The Arabs said they all faced 
difficult economic conditions with regard to rising food 
prices.  (Note:  Voter registration in Iraq is a passive 
system; if one is listed on the Public Distribution System 
list (rations database), then one is registered to vote.  The 
voter registration update period which ran from July 15 
through August 28 allowed Iraqis to check the list and ensure 
their information was correct.  End Note.) 
6. (C) The Turkmen, led by Ahmed Younis Salih from the 
village of Rasheediya in Mosul district, said their main 
concerns were the lack of services and the economic 
deprivation they suffer.  The Turkmen representatives said 
that the provision of services was only marginally better in 
Turkmen villages under Kurdish administration (such as those 
around Basheeqa) than those under the Ninewa provincial 
administration.  The Turkmen also said that they could not 
enter Mosul for security reasons, which hurt the ability of 
their community to conduct trade. 
7. (C) On August 29, the UN team again met with Yezidis and 
Shebak leaders as well as the Christian mayor of Tel Kaif, 
Bassam Bello of the Assyrian Democratic Movement.  Bello 
described Kurdish attempts to win support through either 
payouts or intimidation, according to Pazzo.  Consequently, 
Assyrian Christians in Tel Kaif who do not want to join the 
KRG are subject to threats and harassment. 
BAGHDAD 00002828  002 OF 002 
8. (C) Qosay Abbas of the Shebak Democratic Assembly told a 
similar story for the Shebak in Hamdaniya.  According to 
Pazzo, Abbas said that the KDP employs threats and 
intimidation against any Shebak groups that try to assert an 
independent, non-KRG aligned identity.  Pazzo also said that 
Abbas took time to explain the intimidation and violence the 
Shebak IDPs now residing in Hamdaniya district had faced. 
According to Pazzo, Abbas emphasized that the Shebak IDP 
communities in Hamdaniya are suffering due to unemployment. 
9. (C) The Yezidis in Sinjar led by Wa,ad Mandou Hamou of 
the Yezidi Movement also echoed much of what Bello and Abbas 
had said about the strong-arm tactics of the Kurdish 
political parties, according to Pazzo.  Hamou, however, said 
that the economic situation for the Yezidi in Sinjar were as 
big, if not a bigger, concern.  According to Pazzo, Hamou 
said that the ongoing drought has hit the Yezidi farmers 
especially hard, thereby pushing food prices up in an already 
depressed economy. 
10. (C) It is important that the UN and other interlocutors 
meet regularly with these groups.  Although these are set 
piece meetings, they serve the useful purpose of ensuring 
that a wide cross-section of views is heard.  As with 
previous meetings, we will need to keep in contact with the 
participants to ensure that they suffer no retaliation for 
having met with the UN. 
11. (C) Minority rights are critical to our work in Ninewa, 
and we have succeeded in assembling a broad range of 
interlocutors in all communities and of all persuasions. 
That said, the insurgent threat to the province is deeply 
rooted in the Sunni insurgency, which feeds off the profound 
alienation of Sunni residents from their provincial 
government.  Having pursued aggressive minority outreach over 
the last two months, we will continue to build on the links 
that have been established and renewed.  However, we are 
turning our attention to the Sunni community and will spend 
the coming weeks reaching out to its members. 


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