US embassy cable - 06MOSUL21

NINEWA SHIAS CLAIM ALL IS CALM AFTER SAMARRA INCIDENT, BUT REQUESTING MORE SECURITY FOR ASHURA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Identifier: 06MOSUL21
Wikileaks: View 06MOSUL21 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: REO Mosul
Created: 2006-02-23 17:08:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINS PINT PGOV PHUM IZ MARR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6780
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMOS #0021 0541708
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231708Z FEB 06
FM REO MOSUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0419
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0017
RUEHMOS/REO MOSUL 0437
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSUL 000021 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/23/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PINS, PINT, PGOV, PHUM, IZ, MARR 
SUBJECT: NINEWA SHIAS CLAIM ALL IS CALM AFTER SAMARRA INCIDENT, BUT 
REQUESTING MORE SECURITY FOR ASHURA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Cameron  Munter, PRT Leader, Provincial 
Reconstruction Team Ninewa, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 
 
 
 
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SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) Shiite political party members, especially among the 
predominantly Shia Shabek community in Ninewa, have called for 
calm.  They expressed great sadness about the attack on February 
22 on the Al-Askariya Shrine in Samarra and said they hoped the 
incident would not increase tensions between Shias and Sunnis. 
Demonstrations in the Shabek and Christian village of Bartalla 
were peaceful yesterday, and another is planned in the same 
village for February 24.  Given the incident in Samarra and 
Shabek tensions with the Kurds, Shabek leaders have requested 
additional security for the upcoming end of Ashura celebration 
coming up in mid-March.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) PRT Poloff met with Shabek Democratic Assembly (SDA) 
members Yousef Muharam (who also serves as assistant to national 
assemblyman Dr. Haneen Al Qaddo), Mohammed Fathi, and Saad 
Bazwaya in Mosul on February 20, and spoke to them and other 
Shia community representatives on following days. 
 
--------------------------- 
SO FAR, PEACE HAS PREVAILED 
--------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Members of the predominantly Shia SDA claimed that all 
was calm so far in Ninewa one day after the Al-Askariya Shrine 
in Samarra was damaged on February 22.  Party spokesman Muharam 
told Poloff that a demonstration held in the mostly Shia Shabek 
and Christian village of Bartalla yesterday was peaceful.  The 
Sadr Movement Mosul Office in Bartalla organized the 
demonstration and it was estimated that 150 people participated. 
 Muharam said another demonstration is planned for February 24 
also in Bartalla and that SDA would organize it.  He estimated 
that around 700 people would participate.  No demonstrations 
have been planned for other areas in the province.  Supreme 
Council for Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI) representative 
Aref Younis told Poloff that the party was working closely with 
SDA to ensure that cooler heads prevailed over the incident. 
Ninewa Governor Duraid Kashmoula and Vice Governor Khassro Goran 
have both called for calm.  And the Iraqi Police (IP) reported 
there were no security issues so far in the province. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
INCREASED SECURITY REQUESTED FOR ASHURA ANNIVERSARY 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4.  (C) Given heightened tensions over the bombing in Samarra, 
Muharam said Shia Shabek would like additional security for the 
40-day anniversary of Ashura planned for March 19.  He said in 
addition to the village of Bartalla, there are three holy Shia 
sites in eastern Ninewa in the villages of Tesharub, Abasiya, 
and Alirush.  Processions are to begin in each of these 
locations and then converge on nearby Bartalla.  He expects at 
least 10,000 people would participate in the event in March. 
 
5.  (C) Muharam said Ashura celebrations on February 11 were 
peaceful but, due to harassment by the Kurdistan Democratic 
Party (KDP) Peshmerga, the event almost did not happen.  He 
claimed KDP Peshmerga arrived to break up the processions.  He 
said although Ministry of Interior (MOI) Commandos from southern 
Iraq led by LTC Hassan, a Shia, did a good job guarding 
procession routes, the Peshmerga were able to enter and disrupt 
events inside Bartalla village.  He said matters became heated 
when SDA leader Al Qaddo arrived.  He claimed Peshmerga tried to 
block the entrance to the shrine in Bartalla, but were held off 
by Al Qaddo's private security detail until Coalition Force (CF) 
Stryker brigades arrived to "save the day."  Muharam said there 
were no casualties or injuries reported and that the 
celebrations were able to continue uninterrupted for the rest of 
the day.  He said, however, many people fled the area once the 
Peshmerga arrived and were not able to participate.  Muharam 
said to avoid a similar or messier incident in March he asked 
for additional force protection from CF, IP, and the MOI. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6.  (C) Ninewa has been spared the turmoil that has hit southern 
Iraq since the Samarra bombing.  Leaders of all faiths and sects 
have called for calm.  But potential remains for conflict, even 
in the far north, as Ashura comes to an end next month. 
 
MUNTER 

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