wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04VATICAN4839 2004-12-21 15:32:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
Cable title:  

NEW IRAQI AMBASSADOR CALLS FOR TIGHTER BORDERS,

Tags:   IZ KIRF PHUM PREL SOCI VT 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					C O N F I D E N T I A L  VATICAN 004839 

SIPDIS


C O R R E C T E D C O P Y. CHANGING CLASSIFICATION REASON
FROM 1.5 TO 1.4

DEPT FOR EUR/WE LEVIN; NEA/RA; NEA/NGA;DRL/IRF DEATHERAGE,
ABRAMSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2014
TAGS: IZ KIRF PHUM PREL SOCI VT
SUBJECT: NEW IRAQI AMBASSADOR CALLS FOR TIGHTER BORDERS,
MORE SECURITY TRAINING


Classified By: Ambassador Jim Nicholson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

-------
Summary
-------



1. (C) Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See Edward Ismail Yelda
called for tighter controls on his country's borders in a
December 16 meeting with the Ambassador. He urged particular
attention to the Jordanian border, which he cited as a source
of foreign fighters and weapons. Yelda said the situation in
Iraq called for more coalition troops, and also advised more
comprehensive training and more careful screening of Iraqi
security forces. Yelda described the ongoing security
concerns affecting Iraq's Christian community, asserting that
Baathists seeking to build support for a return to the old
regime were primarily responsible for the attacks on
Christians. Yelda said coalition and Iraqi forces needed to
be more aggressive against the insurgents, as they had been
in Fallujah. Yelda thanked the Ambassador warmly for the
U.S. intervention in Iraq, and said the U.S. would be needed
there for some time to come. End Summary.



--------------------------


Watch the Border with Jordan


--------------------------





2. (C) Iraq's new Ambassador to the Holy See, Edward Ismail
Yelda, called for tighter controls on his country's borders
in a December 16 courtesy call on the Ambassador. Yelda
noted that Iraq's borders with Iran and Syria needed to be
tightened, but became animated as he turned to Jordan. "No
one will talk about this problem because of political
considerations," he said, "but there are many evil people in
Jordan" who are undermining Iraqi security. He claimed that
the Jordanian border was loose, due to border guards
accepting bribes on both sides. He worried about the "many
trucks" that cross into Iraq, apparently uninspected. Jordan
and other countries, Yelda declared, had yet to "get the
message" about halting the flow of terrorists, arms and money
into Iraq.



--------------------------



--------------------------


More Coalition Forces, More Training for Iraqis Needed


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) Ambassador Yelda also called for more coalition
forces in Iraq. Aside from their obvious help in maintaining
order, he said that the greater visibility such troops would
be an important factor in sending a psychological message of
stability. Expanded training and more effective screening of
Iraqi security forces was urgently needed, he said.
Commenting on problems with Iraqi security forces, Yelda
claimed that Baathist elements had infiltrated the Iraqi
forces, resulting in the common use of police or other
security service uniforms in many kidnappings and other
crimes. In fact, Yelda recounted how he himself had been the
target of an assassination attempt in which a bomb had
exploded at his residence. Several men posing as security
agents arrived in uniform in the aftermath of the explosion
and attempted to take the wounded Ambassador away. Yelda
said he was able to hold them off until legitimate
authorities arrived, at which point the impostors fled.
(Note: Yelda said he had been injured in the blast and had
undergone medical treatment in England on two separate
occasions for his injuries. End note.)



--------------------------


Baathists Behind Violence; Christians at Risk


--------------------------





4. (C) Yelda acknowledged that foreign elements were
carrying out many of the terrorist bombings in Iraq, but
maintained that Baathist elements were pulling the strings.
For Yelda, the targeting of Christian churches was a
particularly unsettling aspect of the terror. He said the
Baathists wanted to make the point that the new government
could not or would not protect Christians -- this in
comparison to the relatively secure situation for Christians
under Saddam. Yelda described a difficult situation for
Christians, claiming that since April insurgents had killed
Christian women or girls at the rate of nearly one per day.
He said interim government officials had asked "the
Americans" to do more to protect Christians, but with little
improvement in the situation, many were fleeing the country.
The Ambassador assured Yelda that protection of Christians
was a key USG priority, reflected both in frequent contacts
between our Embassy in Baghdad and Christian leaders as well
as in our Embassy's contact with the Holy See.



5. (C) As a Christian, Yelda said he felt a special
responsibility to help protect his co-religionists in Iraq.
Though he is a member of the Assyrian Church of the East and
not a Catholic, he will find common ground with the Vatican
on this issue. (Note: Unlike the Chaldean Catholic Church,
the majority Christian group in Iraq, the Assyrian Church of
the East is not in union with Rome. The Chaldeans share
common roots with the Assyrians, dating back to the second
century, but broke off from the Assyrian Church of the East
in the sixteenth century. Following periods of acrimony,
relations between the Assyrian and Chaldean Churches have
improved somewhat in recent years, as have relations between
the Assyrians and the Holy See. End note.)



--------------------------


More Aggressive Stance Needed


--------------------------





6. (C) According to Yelda, coalition and Iraqi forces needed
to be more aggressive against the insurgents. He
acknowledged concerns about violating sacred Islamic ground,
but insisted that there were limits. "There are tunnels and
passageways underneath these mosques" where the terrorists
store weapons and "actually conduct training exercises," he
said. Yelda noted with grim approval coalition operations in
Fallujah, qualifying his praise only with the criticism that
the crackdown should have come sooner. He implied that if
the coalition and Iraqi forces were to be successful,
additional similar operations would be needed in other towns.



--------------------------


Gratitude for Intervention


--------------------------





7. (C) On behalf of his people and government, Yelda
thanked the Ambassador for the U.S. intervention in Iraq, and
said he regretted the loss of American lives. He appealed to
the USG to stay the course in Iraq, saying that U.S. forces
would be needed in the country "for a very very long time."
Yelda said that he was not supportive of a much larger role
for the UN in Iraq at this time. According to Ambassador
Yelda, the countries who had already sacrificed their
soldiers and finances should be the ones to maintain
influence there. In this connection, he said that he would
be disappointed to see French or German influence in Iraq.
Yelda was optimistic about the upcoming elections, though he
cautioned that after decades of tyranny, "democracy would not
come overnight." He said education and job creation would be
key factors in developing a strong Iraqi democracy.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





8. (C) Though the Rammadi native had been living in England
since the 1970s, Yelda moved back to Baghdad last spring, and
seems to have had more than his share of action since then,
given the October assassination and kidnapping attempts. His
background in England will continue to influence his work
here. Until Yelda's arrival, the most prominent Iraqi in
Vatican circles was Monsignor Philip Najim, representative of
the Chaldean Patriarch. There is no love lost between Yelda
and Najim, who knew each other when both lived in England.
Yelda grimaced when asked if he had had much contact yet with
Najim in Rome, but offered that he had invited the monsignor
to accompany him to his November presentation of credentials
to the Pope. Yelda claimed that many Iraqi ex-pats in London
had a poor impression of Najim since, Yelda hinted darkly,
Najim was sometimes identified with the old regime. For his
part, Najim (protect) lambasted Yelda in a meeting with
Poloff some weeks ago, calling him "worthless" and "a drunk."
We saw no evidence of the latter, though Yelda did lament
the tame nightlife in Rome, noting that there was much more
to do in the after-hours in London.



9. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.

NICHOLSON


NNNN