share

 Home | Government | WikiLeaks Information

WikiLeaks: 2008-10-09: 08BAGHDAD3258: Ninewa: Minority Communities Oppose Deletion of Article 50 from Provincial Elections Law, But Don't Unanimously Embrace Politics

by WikiLeaks. 08BAGHDAD3258: October 09, 2008.

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM UT


Viewing cable 08BAGHDAD3258, NINEWA: MINORITY COMMUNITIES OPPOSE DELETION OF

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs
Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08BAGHDAD3258 2008-10-09 06:13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO1868
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3258/01 2830613
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 090613Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9866
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003258 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM KIRF IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA:  MINORITY COMMUNITIES OPPOSE DELETION OF 
ARTICLE 50 FROM PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS LAW, BUT DON'T 
UNANIMOUSLY EMBRACE POLITICS 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 3204 
 
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:  Shaikhan Christians aligned with the 
Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) are angry over the 
omission of minority set-asides in the recently-adopted 
provincial election law.  In a September 30 meeting in Tel 
Keif, they said that, although they prefer a form of 
&virtual autonomy,8 their fallback position is guaranteed 
representation in provincial, district and sub-district 
bodies.  A diverse multi-ethnic, multi-religious delegation 
of minority community citizens from Tel Kayf district made a 
different point to us in a meeting on October 5, saying that 
integration into Ninewa Province as equal and 
indistinguishable citizens was in their communities, best 
interest.  The internal debate within the Christian community 
in Ninewa is between those who want to assert themselves in 
the new Iraq through political organization, and those who 
prefer to be an economic and professional elite without a 
concurrent political identity.  Other minority communities 
too are wrestling with the same questions -- how best to 
preserve community rights and identity in a rapidly changing 
Iraq.  End summary. 
2.  (C) On September 30, PRT leader returned to Shaikhan 
(reftel reported on September 16 and 20 meetings with Yezidi 
Prince Tahseen Beg), this time to meet with the district,s 
small Christian community, which numbers 150 families in the 
town, plus another 100 in rural areas, according to our 
interlocutors.  On October 5, a Shaikhan delegation ) an ad 
hoc committee formed in the last month ) consisting of Tel 
Kayf district Christians, Turkmen, Shia, Yezidi and Sunni 
Arabs -- asked to see us on the FOB. 
3.  (C) We met in Shaikhan September 30 with 10 Christian 
residents.  Although the venue was the local branch office of 
the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), most participants 
said that they were independent.  They asked to meet at the 
ADM building because they claimed it was the only place where 
they could talk to us without the presence of the Kurdish 
secret police.  They identified Khairi, head of the local 
Assa,esh, as the true power in the district, and claimed 
that he was anti-Christian.  They were also highly critical 
of Yezidi Prince Tahseen Beg, saying that he is a fanatic who 
ordered the killing of one of his own daughters for violating 
the group,s strict mores. 
4.  (C) The Shaikhan Christians characterized the area in 
which they live as dominated politically by the Kurdish 
Regional Government (KRG) through a Sunni Kurd hardliner and 
socially by an insular and fanatical (their view) Yezidi 
leadership.  The Shaikhan Christians told us that they want 
guaranteed representation in provincial bodies, but added 
that what they need is autonomy.  They made it clear they 
were not seeking geographic autonomy; rather, what they 
prefer is the ability to control the affairs of their 
community in village-level governance as well as in education 
and law enforcement.  After initial pleasantries, they 
launched into a tirade at the omission of guaranteed minority 
seats (Article 50) in the provincial election law.  In their 
view, this omission further marginalizes them and speeds the 
rate of emigration from Shaikhan, and from Iraq.  In their 
view, it also denies them government employment opportunities 
and access to government contracting. 
5.  (C) The October 5 multi-ethnic, multi-religious Tel Kayf 
delegation visiting the FOB represented itself as an ad hoc 
committee formed to represent the &true voices8 of the 
district.  Their message was that they prefer to remain 
within Ninewa Province, not in the Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG).  The Assyrian spokesman for the group said 
that all the communities represented wanted to be Iraqis; as 
a Christian, he said that meant being part of a group that 
had always contributed merchants, scholars, professionals and 
civil servants to the Iraqi state.  He acknowledged a 
political &glass ceiling8 but said that in previous 
regimes, Christians were part of a broader social contract ) 
for better or worse ) and had been able to thrive as a 
community.  One of the Turkmen made it clear that his 
community identifies with their brethren in Tal Afar, not 
Kirkuk (i.e., that they do not subscribe to a political 
agenda grounded in their minority identity).  The Shia 
participants stressed that sectarian violence was a political 
creation of irresponsible leaders.  The Yezidi advised us 
that, although the Prince has influence, not all Yezidi 
follow him. 
6.  (C) Comment:  Our emerging understanding is that ) for 
our Ninewa contacts -- it is no longer clear what it means to 
be an ethnic or religious minority in Iraq.  Some, 
particularly Christians, prefer the old paradigm:  a minority 
 
BAGHDAD 00003258  002 OF 002 
 
 
that &knew its place,8 but whose place was prominence in 
business, commerce, high-prestige professions, academia and 
the civil service.  A discrete political identity was not 
something to be sought; rather it was to be eschewed (and was 
even potentially dangerous).  There are more assertive 
political voices in the Ninewa Christian community, however 
-- ones who seek the same good, protection under the law, but 
via a significantly different methodology.   It may be 
unreasonable to expect clarity or consensus from a Christian 
minority that views its current security as a highly 
reversible phenomenon, and which is living in uncertain 
times.  Other minority communities too are wrestling with the 
same questions -- how best to preserve community rights and 
identity in a rapidly changing Iraq.  End comment. 
CROCKER

 



Government ForumGovernment Forum

WikiLeaks InformationWikiLeaks Information


Do you have any related information or suggestions? Please email them.

AIM | Atour: The State of Assyria | Terms of Service