Viewing cable 05VATICAN194
Title: IRAQ: RELEASED ARCHBISHOP CALLS FOR U.S.

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VATICAN1942005-01-20 15:30:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS  VATICAN 000194 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE (LEVIN), NEA/NGA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PHUM PINR IZ PHUM PINR IZ VT VTPREL
SUBJECT: IRAQ: RELEASED ARCHBISHOP CALLS FOR U.S. 
WITHDRAWAL 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.(SBU) Hours after being released by insurgents, 
Mosul's Syro-Catholic Archbishop called for a timetable for 
U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.  Archbishop Basile Georges 
Casmoussa emphasized his good relations with local Muslims 
and blamed his kidnapping on mistaken identity.  He further 
claimed that his kidnappers' goal had been "to get 
Americans out of the country."  The prelate attributed his 
quick release to the Pope's strong plea on his behalf.  For 
its part, the Holy See said it had paid no ransom for 
Casmoussa's release and had been surprised by the 
kidnapping given that both Christians and Muslims held the 
archbishop in high regard.  An official of Iraq's Chaldean 
Catholic church in Rome countered Casmoussa's comments on 
the U.S. presence in Iraq, saying that despite rising 
violence, the U.S. had to stay "to get the job done." 
 
----------------------------- 
CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL TIMETABLE 
----------------------------- 
 
2.(U) Just hours after his release, Mosul's Catholic 
Archbishop called for the U.S. to set a timetable for troop 
withdrawal.  In an interview with the Rome-based Catholic 
news agency, Asia News, Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa 
said his abduction was not "anti-Christian," but rather 
"something done to get the Americans out of the country." 
The archbishop asserted that "there was no common ground 
between Iraqi Christians and the occupiers."  He claimed 
his abductors had at first not realized who he was, and had 
freed him after hearing the Vatican's call for his release. 
Casmoussa said he enjoyed good relations with the Muslim 
community and that he had received many messages of support 
from his Muslim friends when he returned home. 
 
---------------- 
VATICAN PRESSURE 
---------------- 
 
3.(SBU) The Vatican was particularly energetic in 
working for Casmoussa's release, issuing an official papal 
statement to the press as soon as news of his abduction 
came in.  Charge spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Archbishop 
Leonardo Sandri in the hours after the abduction was 
reported, who expressed appreciation for U.S. interest and 
welcomed further information from U.S. sources and U.S. 
action to secure the archbishop's release.  In a subsequent 
meeting, the Holy See's Assessor, Monsignor Gabriele 
Caccia, told Charge that the Vatican had learned that 
Casmoussa had been abducted by mistake by a group that was 
seeking money, not for any religious motivation.  After the 
quick release, the Vatican insisted that no ransom had been 
paid.  Its official statement said the Holy See had been 
totally surprised by the abduction, given the great esteem 
both the Christian and Muslim communities held for 
Casmoussa. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
CHALDEAN REP: NOT AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN CAMPAIGN 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (SBU) The Chaldean Catholic Church's representative in 
Rome, Monsignor Philip Najim, told us January 19 that he 
had been in contact with Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, 
who had not expressed increased concern for his own safety. 
"Let's hope [the abduction of a high-ranking Christian 
official] was just a mistake, as they say it was," Najim 
said.  He asserted that there had been continuing violence 
against Christians in recent weeks, but felt that, while 
the incidents underscored a perilous security situation in 
Iraq, they did not represent an increased targeting of 
Christians by insurgents. 
 
------------------------ 
U.S. MUST FINISH THE JOB 
------------------------ 
 
¶5.  (SBU) When asked about Casmoussa's statements regarding 
the American presence in Iraq, Najim merely emphasized his 
opinion that the U.S. had to stay to "get the job done." 
"The situation is getting worse and worse," he said, "but 
only America can fix it."  He suggested that the USG needed 
to devote greater resources to its Iraq efforts if it were 
to be successful.  "I don't care about Saddam, [the claims 
of the existence of] WMDs, or anything in the past," he 
continued.  "Let's be practical and move ahead.  If you are 
 
 
successful America will be beloved and the whole region 
could change for the better." 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6.(SBU) Casmoussa's comments on the U.S. presence in 
Iraq track with previous remarks he has made.  Just last 
month he told an American Catholic weekly that there was no 
shortage of pain, hardship and even death caused by the 
U.S. military presence in Iraq.  He claimed Americans 
killed a young member of his flock in 2003 and that one of 
his monks had been left paralyzed after a road accident 
involving an American tank in early 2004.  His political 
sensibilities aside, the quick and forceful reaction by the 
Vatican to Casmoussa's kidnapping illustrates the Holy 
See's continuing preoccupation for the safety of the 
Christian community in Iraq. 
 
¶7.  (U) Baghdad minimize considered. 
 
Hardt 
 
 
NNNN 

 2005VATICA00194 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED 

 
UNCLAS  VATICAN 000194 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE (LEVIN), NEA/NGA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PHUM PINR IZ PHUM PINR IZ VT VTPREL
SUBJECT: IRAQ: RELEASED ARCHBISHOP CALLS FOR U.S. 
WITHDRAWAL 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.(SBU) Hours after being released by insurgents, 
Mosul's Syro-Catholic Archbishop called for a timetable for 
U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.  Archbishop Basile Georges 
Casmoussa emphasized his good relations with local Muslims 
and blamed his kidnapping on mistaken identity.  He further 
claimed that his kidnappers' goal had been "to get 
Americans out of the country."  The prelate attributed his 
quick release to the Pope's strong plea on his behalf.  For 
its part, the Holy See said it had paid no ransom for 
Casmoussa's release and had been surprised by the 
kidnapping given that both Christians and Muslims held the 
archbishop in high regard.  An official of Iraq's Chaldean 
Catholic church in Rome countered Casmoussa's comments on 
the U.S. presence in Iraq, saying that despite rising 
violence, the U.S. had to stay "to get the job done." 
 
----------------------------- 
CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL TIMETABLE 
----------------------------- 
 
2.(U) Just hours after his release, Mosul's Catholic 
Archbishop called for the U.S. to set a timetable for troop 
withdrawal.  In an interview with the Rome-based Catholic 
news agency, Asia News, Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa 
said his abduction was not "anti-Christian," but rather 
"something done to get the Americans out of the country." 
The archbishop asserted that "there was no common ground 
between Iraqi Christians and the occupiers."  He claimed 
his abductors had at first not realized who he was, and had 
freed him after hearing the Vatican's call for his release. 
Casmoussa said he enjoyed good relations with the Muslim 
community and that he had received many messages of support 
from his Muslim friends when he returned home. 
 
---------------- 
VATICAN PRESSURE 
---------------- 
 
3.(SBU) The Vatican was particularly energetic in 
working for Casmoussa's release, issuing an official papal 
statement to the press as soon as news of his abduction 
came in.  Charge spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Archbishop 
Leonardo Sandri in the hours after the abduction was 
reported, who expressed appreciation for U.S. interest and 
welcomed further information from U.S. sources and U.S. 
action to secure the archbishop's release.  In a subsequent 
meeting, the Holy See's Assessor, Monsignor Gabriele 
Caccia, told Charge that the Vatican had learned that 
Casmoussa had been abducted by mistake by a group that was 
seeking money, not for any religious motivation.  After the 
quick release, the Vatican insisted that no ransom had been 
paid.  Its official statement said the Holy See had been 
totally surprised by the abduction, given the great esteem 
both the Christian and Muslim communities held for 
Casmoussa. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
CHALDEAN REP: NOT AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN CAMPAIGN 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (SBU) The Chaldean Catholic Church's representative in 
Rome, Monsignor Philip Najim, told us January 19 that he 
had been in contact with Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, 
who had not expressed increased concern for his own safety. 
"Let's hope [the abduction of a high-ranking Christian 
official] was just a mistake, as they say it was," Najim 
said.  He asserted that there had been continuing violence 
against Christians in recent weeks, but felt that, while 
the incidents underscored a perilous security situation in 
Iraq, they did not represent an increased targeting of 
Christians by insurgents. 
 
------------------------ 
U.S. MUST FINISH THE JOB 
------------------------ 
 
¶5.  (SBU) When asked about Casmoussa's statements regarding 
the American presence in Iraq, Najim merely emphasized his 
opinion that the U.S. had to stay to "get the job done." 
"The situation is getting worse and worse," he said, "but 
only America can fix it."  He suggested that the USG needed 
to devote greater resources to its Iraq efforts if it were 
to be successful.  "I don't care about Saddam, [the claims 
of the existence of] WMDs, or anything in the past," he 
continued.  "Let's be practical and move ahead.  If you are 
 
 
successful America will be beloved and the whole region 
could change for the better." 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6.(SBU) Casmoussa's comments on the U.S. presence in 
Iraq track with previous remarks he has made.  Just last 
month he told an American Catholic weekly that there was no 
shortage of pain, hardship and even death caused by the 
U.S. military presence in Iraq.  He claimed Americans 
killed a young member of his flock in 2003 and that one of 
his monks had been left paralyzed after a road accident 
involving an American tank in early 2004.  His political 
sensibilities aside, the quick and forceful reaction by the 
Vatican to Casmoussa's kidnapping illustrates the Holy 
See's continuing preoccupation for the safety of the 
Christian community in Iraq. 
 
¶7.  (U) Baghdad minimize considered. 
 
Hardt 
 
 
NNNN 

 2005VATICA00194 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED