#HumanitySpeaks

Who Will Protect The Assyrian Christians? By Scott Morgan

We are only a week removed from the Referendum (the September 25 non-binding referendum) that was held to determine whether or not Kurdistan would declare independence from the faltering Iraqi State. Yet, it seems that in the eyes of the international media the situation is status quo per ante when it comes to the long suffering Assyrian Christians.

We have been told how upset the Iraqi Government, Turkey and Iran are over the fact that the vote was actually held. The above mentioned states have seen fit to sever all air flights with Kurdistan, Erbil -- the de facto capitol of Kurdistan. In addition, they closed the commonly shared land borders, and in the case of Turkey, even shut down the oil pipeline that flows north so that the precious commodity cannot reach the international market.

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Photo Credit: CBN NEWS 2016

BUT-- what becomes of the religious minorities such as the Assyrians and the Chaldeans?

What would be their status after independence?

Would they get their own province as promised by Baghdad?

Would that same promise be upheld by the Kurds?

Before any vote was even cast, reports did indicate that several Assyrian towns would not be taking part in this referendum poll.

Why?

Was this a reaction to several Assyrian towns having their mayors replaced with Kurds by the KRG?

Would you be in favor of a KRG government that replaced your religious identification in town governance?

Of course not!

What Happened To The One Million Assyrian Christians In Iraq?

The Assyrian Christian community remaining in the region have declined substantially. Before the invasion by the United States in 2003, there were more than one million Assyrians living in Iraq.

However, since the rise of the Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS), and varied factors, that number has dwindled to around 300,000. In Kirkuk, Mosul, and much of the Nineveh Plains, ISIS has driven Christians out of their ancestral homeland - persecuting and executing.

With No Militia Force, the Assyrian Christians have zero leverage in the region.

When Iraqi Forces retreated following the Islamic State onslaught, it felt that the Assyrians would be left to protect themselves. A draft of the proposed Kurdistan Constitution released in 2006 placed the Nineveh Plain area under their control. A previous document omitted the Nineveh Plain from Kurd control therefore implying that it remained under the auspices of Baghdad.

However, the rapid advance of the Islamic State against Iraqi Government Forces placed the Christian Assyrians in a dangerous situation. As a result, the US State Department considered the attacks against Assyrian communities, including the rapes and murders to be GENOCIDE.

Now the question becomes what happens when the Kurds actually declare independence?

Will the Nineveh Plain remain with what remains of Iraq?

or

Will it become part of an independent Kurdish state?

Those are, in fact the easy questions.

The hardest question is:

Who will be the defender of the Assyrian Christians? There are plenty of actors who are moving against the Kurds such as Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

The world has used the term "never again" when it comes to genocide.

The world cannot overlook the Assyrian Christians again.....

The author is a special contributor to THE QUEEN ESTHER PROJECT BLOG and also publishes the Blog Confused Eagle which can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com and posts on other Blogs such as Dissecting Society and FireWatch Solutions.follow Scott on Twitter @confusedeagledc or connect with him via Facebook or LinkedIn. Scott lives and works in Washington, D.C.

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