Christians of Iraq
And “Nineveh Plain” Conspiracy
Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
Annahar Lebanese Newspaper: 25/09/2011
Assyrians today are considered the indigenous cultural group in what is known as Iraq. Throughout their history, they have been subjected to different kinds of national and religious persecution since the fall of their political entity in 612 BC. Their religion is Christianity, and they are divided into many sects: Syriac, Chaldean (Catholic) and Assyrian Church of The East. They used to form around 8% of the Iraqi population before the fall of Saddam, while today this rate has decreased to less than 3% due to frequent aggressions implemented according to strategies based on national and religious malice on one side, and international plots on the other side, especially after the Central Intelligence Agency controlled over the rule of Iraq (openly) since the fall of Saddam Hussain.
In the recent eight years, Assyrians have been reluctantly involved in the game of “new Iraq” which was no better than Iraq of Saddam’s time or that of the Islamic and the Ottoman ages. The Assyrian people well knows who blasts its churches and kills its elderly and young only to implant intimidation amongst the people, so that in the end Assyrians are forced to join a scheme much bigger than themselves and even bigger than Iraq itself, the scheme which aims at expanding geographic entities coined at their expense. These entities give greater weight to the powers conflicting in such an area that has been, throughout its history, under the focus of western powers’ greed since the days of “Silk Road” from Europe to the Far East.
In this big game today, Assyrians are playing the role drawn to them: victims, and not players. They are victims torn between the fires of Islamization and kurdification. And some international foreign channels talk about them every now and then to show dissatisfaction about the Iraqi government under internal bargains between kurdish and Islamic racism. And here, western politicians and their media succeeded in showing the problem as “Islamic persecution” and the solution for it is “kurdish protection”, note that kurds themselves executed all the massacres against the Assyrian nation over centuries, and Assyrian lands in occupied Assyria (northern Iraq) are still confiscated by kurdish leaders with the support of kurdish occupation authorities. In addition, the project of the so-called “Christian governorate” or “Nineveh Plain governorate” is nothing but a result of that policy, for the kurdish project of achieving the so-called “greatest kurdistan” is known for those who are interested in the middle-eastern affairs, and the demands of kurds in Syria today are nothing but a sequel to this project, because the map of the project, that joins lands from Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, is still hanging above Barzani’s head in his office as well as in all offices of the kurdish parties under the sight of Iraqi politicians.
All that above is associated with crucial negatively important developments facing the future of the Assyrian nation as people and as culture. Unfortunately, lands and power, if any power, of the Assyrians make the major obstacle for the kurdish scheme. The so-called “Nineveh Plain” zone is considered the historical and national homeland for the Assyrians historically, demographically and truthfully, and is the point around which Assyrians crowd together; it is the most qualified for an inception towards the Assyrian national project which extends from Great Zab to the Tigris River (The Assyrian Triangle) within the one Iraq and along the lines of the other groups. However, unfortunately, this region is the strategic link of what is named “Iraqi kurdistan” to what will be named “Syrian kurdistan” (in case of any change to the Syrian regime). All Iraqi politicians in general, and Assyrian politicians in specific, are aware of this project and of the kurds’ intention to push the Assyrian “people” forcedly and by terrorism to seek kurdish protection under the slogan of “Nineveh Plain governorate” according to the article /35/ of the constitution of the kurdish occupation which, in turn, stipulates that Assyrians be given autonomy (by Kurdish occupation authorities) in the areas where they form the greatest population, whereby kurds avoid the conflict with Arabs of Mosul since the residents themselves demand, though unwillingly, a governorate independent from Nineveh governorate, when the Assyrians take the hit. Arabization has been launched anew against these Assyrians – Today thousands of hectares of their lands are being confiscated by Arabist trends in Mosul as a reaction to the kurdish project: “the Christian governorate”.
In addition, it’s well-known to everyone that:
- No “Islamic” offence has taken place to the kurds who converted to the Evangelist Church.
- No aggression or terrorist act has taken place to anyone inside the kurdish occupation areas.
- The terrorist acts against Assyrians discontinued after their politicians adopted the project of annexing their lands to the kurdish occupation.
Though the article /50/ was issued by the governing council on September 29, 2003, which states that: “All acts, decisions, regulations, directives, instructions and orders that are issued by what is known as revolution leadership council and other Iraqi officials (During Baath Rule), and which are issued for the purpose of changing the political and the demographic reality in Iraq, shall be cancelled”, this was selectively enforced when the Governing Council kept the effects of Al-baath decisions on March 11, 1970 which states the separation of the Assyrian Nohadra (kurdified to “Dohuk”) from the Assyrian Nineveh, hence Assyrians are still divided administratively, politically and demographically under two conflicting authorities: kurdification and Arabization.
Moreover, the project of kurdifying the Assyrian homeland is “constitutional” according to the “democratic” Iraqi state legislations and its constitutional article /143/, which approved to name Assyria as “kurdistan” (land of kurds) without any Assyrian representation (despite the presence of a “representative”), in the Iraqi state institutions.
In this status quo, Assyrians have hope neither in their parties nor in the Iraqi government being no less aggressive to them than Baath or the kurdish trends while their sole hope lies in the Assyrian Diaspora, especially those in the United States and Europe which are actively ruling Iraq and where Assyrians exist powerfully and heavily, the thing that enables them to be heard by international tribunes, for the international ethical duty requires that Assyrians must be treated as the indigenous people of Iraq according to “Indigenous People Declaration” stated by United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007 which declares the right of self-determination of indigenous people (articles /3/ , /4/) to reserve its entity and culture which are considered an international trust.
Hence, and according to the UN legislation mentioned above, Assyrians have the right to obtain (at least) a “safe zone” internationally protected just like the kurds since 1991, because Assyrians have no trust in the Iraqi state especially because it is a group of Islamists and kurds, and this will be the first step on the road to achieving “Assyria Region” like that of the kurds, and as long as the Iraqi constitution became mere ink on paper after contradicting the Iraqi state to article /7/ of its constitution, by establishing a racial region on a national basis under the name of “kurd-stan” (land of kurds).
Haaretz newspaper summed up the Assyrian tragedy in a couple of words in the issue of December 24, 2010 under the headline “Christmas requiem for Iraq’s Christian community” by the newspaper political analyst and the historian and ME affairs specialist, Dr. Zvi Bar’el who wrote: “The Kurds object to establishment of a protected Christian enclave, because they want to annex the Nineveh Valley, most of whose residents are Christians”. And the “governorate” project will be the first step to that, constitutionally, since the “Iraqi” constitution permits annexing a governorate to a region, and this is a clear sign to that in case the issue is not redressed by Assyrians themselves before the others, then the Assyrian torture journey will go on by appropriating Assyrian lands and confiscating them by Arabs in the so-called “Nineveh Plain” and also by kurds inside their entity which has been imposed on Assyrians and on others since 1991.