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WikiLeaks: 2008-09-06: 08BAGHDAD2869: Ninewa: Minority Community Representatives Share Concerns, and Prejudices, with UNAMI

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD2869: September 06, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 07:26 PM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD2869, NINEWA: HAMDANIYA MAYOR ARGUES THE SKY IS NOT

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD2869 2008-09-06 15:58 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO6933
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2869 2501558
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061558Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9260
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 002869 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: HAMDANIYA MAYOR ARGUES THE SKY IS NOT 
FALLING 
 
Classified By: PRT Ninewa Leader Alex Laskaris for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message. 
1.   (C) Summary:  The Assyrian Christian mayor of Ninewa,s 
Hamdaniya district told us that security in his community is 
sufficient and that there is less to the debate over whether 
to affiliate with the Kurdish region or Ninewa province than 
meets the eye.  Mayor Nissan Karumi professes no allegiance 
to any political party, and contempt for all of them.  He 
argued that all Hamdaniya,s communities are capable of 
coexistence, and voiced no objection to Kurdish-dominated 
sub-districts of Hamdaniya joining the Kurdish region.  The 
mayor offered a standard list of grievances against the 
provincial government but said the problems are systemic in 
nature.  End summary. 
2.  (C) PRT leader paid a courtesy call on Nissan Karumi, 
mayor of the Hamdaniya district of Ninewa Province, on 
September 2.  Karumi cleared up one mystery right off the 
bat: &Hamdaniya8 is the district,s official name, 
&Qarakosh8 is the Ottoman name that most people use, and he 
himself uses its Assyrian name of &Begdadaa,eh8.   Karumi 
said that Hamdaniya district had 150,000 people in 1997, a 
number that has grown by some 4,000 IDP families since 2003. 
He said that the newcomers are mainly Christian IDPs from 
other parts of Iraq, including Mosul.  Other groups of IDPs 
include Shebak and a smaller number of Yezidis.  He thought 
the district was 80-90 percent Christian, with a Sunni Arab 
community centered in Nimrud sub-district and one small 
Turkman community. 
3.  (C) Karumi said that the security situation in Qarakosh 
town and the broader Hamdaniya district is satisfactory.  He 
attributed this to the fact that the area was comprised of 
close-knit communities in which strangers were easily 
identified.  He allowed that the KRG-Ninewa green line passed 
through his district, but said that was a dispute among 
politicians with little impact on the daily life of the 
community.  Karumi said that men working as private security 
guards filled the vacuum created by the fall of the regime 
and have gone from protecting churches to a broader law and 
order role.  The fact that their salaries come from KRG 
Finance Minister Sarkis Aghajan bothered him, but only 
insofar as the personnel were accruing no pension rights or 
other benefits.  He said he hoped that they would all be 
integrated into the police, but noted that &these things 
take a long time in Iraq.8 
4.  (C) We asked Karumi where he stood on the issue of 
remaining in Ninewa Province or joining the KRG.  He 
responded that if every other group in Iraq is demanding 
autonomy, he might as well do the same.  As a lawyer, he 
said, he knows that this is not possible, but hopes that by 
demanding it for himself he could show other groups what a 
bad idea it really is.  Karumi said that this dispute was 
between politicians and political parties, explaining that he 
is not the former and not a member of the latter. 
5.  (C) Karumi explained that a District Mayor is not a 
political position; the mayor is a town administrator who 
controls no resources.   He got the job, he said, because he 
was a prominent insurance lawyer who coalition forces and 
others approached to take the position.   He lamented the 
over-centralization of power in Iraq, asking how it was 
possible to govern a country in which every decision ) no 
matter how small ) needs a minister,s or director 
general,s approval. 
6.  (C) Karumi said that there are some 250 poultry farmers 
in the district who are interested in working together.  He 
complained that the farmers are not getting the support they 
need from the government, mainly feedstock, and lack the 
ability to get their goods to market in a systematic way.  We 
asked if the farmers had an association and, if so, are they 
looking for credit in order to run businesses on a strictly 
commercial basis.  Karumi said that the entrepreneurial 
skills and instincts do not exist in the district to operate 
in this way; he complained that there are 10,000 college 
graduates in the district, all of whom think the government 
owes them a desk job where they can make money without doing 
any work. 
7.  (C) Comment:  Hamdaniya resembles other Christian 
communities in Ninewa that we visit regularly, enjoying 
relative prosperity, order, and security.  Karumi is unusual 
among Christian leaders, however, in acknowledging that 
Christians have attained a degree of normalcy following 
violent uprooting from Mosul and other parts of Iraq. 
CROCKER

 



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