US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD2529

KURDISH IDP ENCLAVE IN NINEWA SLOWLY RECOVERING FROM SADDAM-ERA ARABIZATION

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD2529
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD2529 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-06-15 14:47:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PHUM PREF PGOV PTER PINS IZ KRG Parliament Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP Kurdistan Islamic Union Kuristan Regional Government
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002529 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2025 
TAGS: PREL, PHUM, PREF, PGOV, PTER, PINS, IZ, KRG Parliament, Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, Kurdistan Islamic Union, Kuristan Regional Government 
SUBJECT: KURDISH IDP ENCLAVE IN NINEWA SLOWLY RECOVERING 
FROM SADDAM-ERA ARABIZATION 
 
 
Classified By: Acting Regional Coordinator Clarence 
Hudson.  Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
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Summary 
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1.  (C) The Kurdish Yezidi settlement of Mahut in 
northeast Ninewa, 30 years ago a site of forced re- 
settlement of Kurds, is today a large village center 
struggling with the same infrastructure issues as most 
other Ninewa communities, based on a visit to Mahut on 
June 13.  Kurds largely re-occupied nine smaller 
villages surrounding Mahut just after the fall of the 
former regime, living in houses constructed by Arabs 
during their 30-year occupation.  Despite Mahut being 
part of Ninewa, residents fly the flag of Kurdistan 
and the KDP is building roads with KRG funding.  End 
Summary. 
 
2.  (U) Elements of the 448th Civil Affairs Battalion 
of Task Force Freedom visited the village center of 
Mahut, located about 23 miles northeast of Mosul in 
Ninewa Province, accompanied by Regional Embassy 
Office Mosul Poloff, on June 13.  The group also 
visited a nearby farming village of Mamrashan. 
 
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Mahut Village Center Home To Displaced Kurds 
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3.  (U) Village leaders in Mahut said the Yezidi town 
grew exponentially in 1975 when, after the Algerian 
Agreement with Iran, Saddam Hussein forcibly removed 
them from nine nearby villages, giving their houses 
and property to Arab settlers.  Mahut was surrounded 
by Arabs and served as a makeshift detention center 
for the Yezidis, whose Kurdish roots but non-Islamic 
religion often draws persecution from other people 
groups in northern Iraq.  Mahut's 15,000 residents 
today keep their smaller village identification, 
reportedly grouping close together in the town's 
cinderblock sprawl.  Mahut shows the same development 
problems observed in other towns populated by Yezidis. 
Unemployment is at 75 percent and electricity is 
limited to a few hours a day, the leaders said. 
Unhealthy living conditions persist:  raw sewage runs 
in the streets -- causing frequent cases of typhoid. 
 
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Kurds Have Returned to Outlying Villages 
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4.  (U) Village leaders said that many residents 
returned to their former villages in the immediate 
aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  A stop at the 
nearby village of Mamrashan confirmed this, with 
Yezidi leaders pointing out that most construction in 
the village of mud huts was the work of Arabs -- only 
one house, the house of the village chief, was of 
Yezidi construction.  Arab occupiers reportedly 
destroyed the Yezidi temple that once overlooked the 
village.  The village chief said Arabs abandoned the 
village when the former regime fell.  Village leaders 
said they had returned to growing wheat on their land, 
though they complained that some Arabs had built large 
homes on their property.  None of the villagers we met 
had spoken with the government about getting 
compensation for lost property nor had made claims to 
the Iraq Property Claims Commission (IPCC).  Leaders 
in Mahut said more people would return to their 
original villages if housing were available. 
 
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KDP Planting the Flag, With KRG Money 
------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) Houses in Mahut and Mamrashan flew the flags 
of the KDP and of Kurdistan.  Village leaders 
unanimously gave thumbs-up when asked if they 
supported the KDP.  The KDP chief for Mahut was the 
principal interlocutor for the villagers.  He said 
that a new road being constructed down Mahut's main 
drag was being built by the KDP, paid for with funds 
from Dahok Province in Kurdistan.  The doctor in 
Mahut's sole medical clinic said he received half of 
his support from Dahok Province despite being locate 
in Ninewa. 
 
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Comment 
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6.  (C) Thirty years after the upheaval caused by 
Arabization, Mahut has clear developmental problems 
like most of the Yezidi settlements in northeastern 
Ninewa.  Probably, the return of some villagers to 
their ancestral homes softened some social pressures. 
Housing shortages for returnees seemed to be a 
recurring theme.  The area is a bastion of support for 
the KDP, which seems intent on acting as a de facto 
government and exerting its influence on the 
northeastern part of Ninewa. 
 
7.  (U) Basrah and Kirkuk, minimize considered. 
 
 
Jeffrey 

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