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WikiLeaks: 2009-07-13: 09BAGHDAD1891: Seven Churches Bombed in Baghdad

by WikiLeaks. 09BAGHDAD1891: July 13, 2009.

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 08:41 AM UT


Viewing cable 09BAGHDAD1891, SEVEN CHURCHES BOMBED IN BAGHDAD

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD1891 2009-07-13 12:37 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO5105
PP RUEHBC RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1891/02 1941237
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131237Z JUL 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3907
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001891 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2019 
TAGS: KIRF PGOV PTER IZ
SUBJECT: SEVEN CHURCHES BOMBED IN BAGHDAD 
 
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* Missing Section 001 * 
*********************** 
 
 
BAGHDAD 00001891  002 OF 002 
 
 
in the government, especially with the 2010 national 
parliamentary elections on the horizon.  Minister Selim also 
thought that the bombings were election related and predicted 
that the number of attacks will likely increase during the 
latter half of 2009.  Non-Muslim Endowment Director 
al-Naufali stated that the Christians were targeted because 
"we are the weakest" part of Iraqi society.  Al-Naufali 
argued that those who carried out the attack want to create 
divisions between Christians and Muslims and return Iraq back 
to the chaos of 2004 and 2005.  Speaking to the press, 
Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako stated that the attacks were 
"meant to pressure Christians to migrate from Iraq and never 
return." 
 
--------------- 
Another Exodus? 
--------------- 
 
5. (C) Poloff queried Christian political and religious 
leaders whether they too thought this latest round of attacks 
would spark another exodus of Iraq's Christian population out 
of Baghdad.  Minister Wijdan thought that Christians were now 
more worried and would want to leave.  However, Father Augin 
and MP Kanna told Poloff that Christian leaders were speaking 
to their community and telling them not to be afraid.  Father 
Augin said that he was personally encouraging his 
parishioners to stay in Baghdad and continue to come to Mass. 
 Al-Naufali argued that the Christians who remain in Baghdad 
are too poor to leave to Syria or Jordan and that anyone who 
had the means to emigrate had already done so. 
 
------------ 
GOI Response 
------------ 
 
6.  (SBU)  Prime Minister Maliki has not yet issued a public 
statement, but this is probably because he and his Spokesman 
are out of the country.  As this cable was going to press, 
local media was reporting that Iraqi police have stepped up 
security at and are investigating the Baghdad bomb sites and 
that Vice President Abdul Mahdi has urged Iraq's Christians 
not to flee, and asked the international community to help 
protect it from extremists.  Presumably to prevent a repeat 
of the October 2008 attacks against Christians in Mosul (refs 
D and E), the Ninewah Operations Command according to earlier 
press reports has banned vehicle traffic in Christian 
neighborhoods there. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) After 18 months of relative calm, these simultaneous 
attacks on Iraq's Christian community are very troubling. 
Christian leaders told us recently that the need for greater 
services and job opportunities was their primary focus, not 
security (refs A, B, C).  These attacks will likely alter 
this calculation.  The Embassy and the PRTs will continue to 
reach out to GOI officials and leaders of Iraq's Christian 
community to find out more information on the attacks, and 
who is responsible.  We will also raise the issue with GOI 
security officials to see what additional security 
precautions can be instituted to help protect the Christian 
community and its churches.  End comment. 
HILL

 



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