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WikiLeaks: 2010-02-28: 10BAGHDAD523:
PRT Ninewa: Archbishop of Ninewa Describes Climate of Fear

by WikiLeaks. 10BAGHDAD523: February 28, 2010.

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 10:42 AM UT


Viewing cable 10BAGHDAD523, PRT NINEWA: ARCHBISHOP OF NINEWA DESCRIBES CLIMATE

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
10BAGHDAD523 2010-02-28 08:59 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #0523/01 0590859
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 280859Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6871
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000523 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/I 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS KIRF IZ
SUBJECT: PRT NINEWA: ARCHBISHOP OF NINEWA DESCRIBES CLIMATE 
OF FEAR 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 0505 
 
Classified By: Ninewa PRT Leader W. Patrick Murphy: Reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (U) This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 
message. 
 
2.  (C) Summary.  Ninewa's Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Emile 
Nouna, meeting with USG officials for the first time since 
his January installation, described how Christian families 
are leaving Mosul after a recent spate of targeted killings. 
The brutal Feb 23 home invasion and murder of a father and 
his two sons, relatives of a Catholic priest, send a shock 
wave of fear throughout the already skittish Christian 
community.  Citing an inadequate response on the part of the 
GOI and local security authorities, he said the politically 
motivated, though unknown, perpetrators, might wish to empty 
Mosul of all Christians.  He suggested that a USG statement 
condemning the attacks could help reassure the Christian 
community and spur Iraqi security forces into action.  End 
Summary. 
 
3. (C) On February 24 PRT Ninewa team leader met with Dr. 
Emile Fadel Nouna (PROTECT), the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop 
of Mosul, to discuss recent attacks on Mosul,s beleaguered 
Christian community (reftel).  This was the PRT,s first 
meeting with the prelate, who was installed in January after 
receiving Pope Benedict,s consent in November 2009 but has 
heretofore declined meeting with USG officials for fear of 
reprisal.  Our meeting took place in Archbishop Nouna's 
northern Ninewa hometown of Al Qosh, an hour and a half north 
of Mosul.  He serves nearly 20,000 lay Catholics throughout 
the greater Mosul diocese. 
 
A SHOCK WAVE OF FEAR 
-------------------- 
 
4. (C)Archbishop Nouna described in emotional terms a recent 
spate of attacks against Christians in Mosul, during which 
unknown assailants have assassinated at least eight people, 
while kidnapping, beating, and raping several others.  He 
said the February 23 home invasion and murder of a father and 
his two sons, relatives of a Catholic priest, had sent a 
shock wave of fear throughout the Christian community. 
Christians, he said, are being killed for their &identity8 
and no longer feel safe anywhere, including in their homes. 
Nouna, in exasperation, said he wished the Christians were 
treated like other abused minorities in Ninewa and simply 
subjected to extrajudicial arrest and temporary detention. 
&Anything would be better than this violence,8 he added. 
 
5.  (C) Nouna described the attacks as well planned, executed 
with military and intelligence-style precision.  This, he 
said, distinguished the attacks from Mosul,s notorious 
criminal activity in which most victims are the target of 
robbery and extortion.  Archbishop Nouna said he does not 
know who is behind the violence, but believes there is a 
political objective.  He said that attacks have been 
intermittent since 2004, noting that perpetrators often take 
advantage of election time to target Christians because Mosul 
is a contested city and all sides try to influence the 
Christian community.  He concluded that the perpetrators 
might have a nefarious plan &to empty Mosul of all 
Christians.8 
 
ON THE MOVE 
----------- 
 
6.  (C) The Archbishop confirmed reports that Christians have 
been moving out of Mosul, specifically citing some 40 
families that have fled to Al Qosh alone.  He added that 
Christians are relocating primarily to Hamdaniyah and Tal 
Kayf districts, but acknowledged that some are also 
emigrating permanently outside of Iraq.  Nouna admitted that 
Qemigrating permanently outside of Iraq.  Nouna admitted that 
he also fears for his own safety, asking the PRT Team Leader 
not to reveal his meeting with a USG official to GOI 
authorities.  (Note: In March 2008, unknown assailants 
kidnapped and murdered Nouna,s predecessor, Chaldean 
Archbishop Pauos Faraj Rahho. End Note.) 
 
SEEKING HELP 
------------ 
 
7. (C) The Archbishop said when he raises attacks on 
Christians with Iraqi government and security officials, the 
authorities always say they are willing to help but do 
nothing in response.  The TL noted deep USG interest in the 
plight of Ninewa,s Christians and other minorities.  In 
 
response, the Archbishop suggested the USG could help by 
pressuring local authorities to provide better security.  He 
also offered that it would be helpful if a senior USG 
official publicly condemned the killings.  When the TL asked 
about possible programming for Ninewa,s Christian 
communities, the Archbishop said his people only trust Church 
institutions.  The United States therefore could help by 
supporting Christian educational and medical facilities, 
which he noted are open to all denominations. 
 
COMMENT: SEEKING SOLUTIONS 
-------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Attacks on Mosul,s vulnerable and diminishing 
Christian community are emerging as a critical backdrop to 
the Iraqi national election in Ninewa.  Security officials 
are slowly starting to realize the scope of the problem 
(UNHCR estimates that up to 2,000 individuals had fled Mosul 
since the beginning of the year for temporary refuge in 
nearby Christian enclaves), but are having difficulty 
diverting resources and attention away from election-related 
operations.  Archbishop Nouna is a stoic, well-educated 
leader (he has a Ph.D in theological anthropology) who is 
pressing hard for an adequate security response to the 
crisis.  His own fear, however, is very telling: he declined 
to meet us in Mosul, preferring instead the anonymous 
sanctuary of a Catholic orphanage in remote Al Qosh, and his 
hands visibly trembled as he recounted the attacks that have 
had such a widespread impact on his community.  End Comment. 
 
HILL

 



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