Friday, June 09, 2006

From:Assyrian International News Agency
Continuing Persecution Renews Calls for Assyrian Safe-Haven in Iraq
Posted GMT 6-9-2006 16:59:22
(AINA) -- Assyrian Christians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) continue to be targeted within Iraq. Recent attacks have highlighted the varied groups perpetrating the attacks. On March 17, 2006, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) paramilitaries broke into Mr. Slewo David Simon's home in Batnaya, a Christian town in Northern Iraq. Mr. Simon had recently emigrated to the US after a series of altercations and incidents with KDP militants. As the armed assailants broke into the home, Mr. Simon's neighbors Mr. Nabil Jaro and his brother Mr. Faris Jaro interceded to prevent the break-in and looting.
Later that afternoon at 5 pm, KDP personnel dressed as Iraqi National Guards forcibly entered Mr. Nabil Jaro's home. The KDP paramilitaries ransacked Mr. Jaro's home, broke his furniture, and confiscated his gun. Mr. Jaro was then roughed up and arrested as his terrorized family looked on. Mr. Jaro was then taken to the KDP occupation center in Tel-Kaif in the Nineveh Plain on trumped up charges of terrorism. KDP officers then served Mr. Faris Jaro with an arrest warrant and indicated that his brother, Mr. Nabil Jaro, would not be released until he turned himself in as well. The next day, Mr. Faris Jaro turned himself in, accompanied by his terrified elderly mother and another brother. Two KDP officers along with two other KDP personnel proceeded to severely beat both brothers for several hours while shouting derogatory anti-Christian and anti-Assyrian insults.
Fearing that her sons may be killed, the mother pleaded with her sons to apologize to their attackers in order to be released. Following an apology under duress, the brothers were released. Their neighbor's home has since been expropriated as the new KDP party office in Batnaya in the Nineveh Plain. The establishment of a KDP party office in an area without any Kurds is widely believed to be intended to "bring Christians in line" and dampen enthusiasm for any independent political expression.
Assyrians in other parts of Iraq have not fared much better due to a steadily deteriorating security situation (AINA 4-28-2006).
According to Voices of Iraq, the director of operations for the Nineveh governorate police stated during his briefing on June 5th, 2006, that another Assyrian has been murdered by armed gunmen in the city of Mosul. According to nearby shop owners, the director said, the unidentified gunmen entered Ms. Rahima Elias' shop, one of many in the commercial part of town, and opened fire immediately killing her. Mr. Elias owned a beauty supplies store in the Drakzliya District located west of the city of Mosul. The 33 year old was a native of Karimles, a ChaldoAssyrian town approximately 18 miles east of Mosul.
On April 6, Mr. Samson Awisha was walking home in Baghdad when five men came out of a car and shot him dead. Earlier, presumably the same group of assailants had kidnapped Mr. Awisha's two children for ransom. After paying the ransom, Mr. Oisha's children were released and then quietly sent out of Iraq to Syria along with their mother for safety. The kidnappers had demanded that Mr. Awisha not take his children out of the country. After the murder, Mr. Awisha's family was threatened not to hold a funeral service lest the entire family be targeted. Mr. Awisha was laid to rest secretly and quietly, without a funeral.
On May 30th, 2006, and reported that Ra'ad Joseph, born in 1976, was found murdered in the Industrial quarters of Mosul. Mr. Joseph was from Bartella in Northern Iraq. Mr. Joseph was married with one child and was an owner of a bodybuilding gym. Reports from Mosul indicate that the murder is suspected to be an act of revenge as the decision of ownership of the gym was awarded him after public bidding for the gym. He was threatened by the Kurds to withdraw his bid but he refused.
on June 2nd, 2006, and also reported that The Evangelical Church of Ascension was attacked by a rocket bomb the night before. The bomb caused damage to the church building and caused a gaping hole in the church dome. No injuries were reported because the attack happened during the night.
On June 3, 2006, and reported that armed men murdered a Christian engineer in front of his home in Basra the previous night. The Christian engineer, whose name has not yet been released, worked at the al-Najeebiyya Electrical Circuit Station in al-Ma'aqal. The murder seems to be due to religious reasons since the engineer was a Christian and there have been many killings against Christians in Basra and much effort made to force them to leave the city.
Assyrians are now in an untenable position, being targeted by many sides of an increasingly violent conflict in Iraq. Assyrians are targeted in northern Iraq as well as other areas. As one activist noted, "Christians are now targets of Islamic groups, gangs who accuse them (Assyrians) of links to the West, and the Ba'athists and nationalists who view them as traitors."
In their October 2005 report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted what Assyrians had already known, namely, "While much of the hardship and harassment they (Assyrians) report that they face is symptomatic of the situation of general insecurity faced by all Iraqis in present-day Iraq, members of the Christian minority nevertheless appear to be particularly targeted. Iraqi Christians feel especially apprehensive about the overwhelming presence of extremist Islamic groups and armed militias, whose display of intolerance towards non-Muslims has become a nearly daily feature in Iraq."
Another report by Refugees International (RI) dated November 5th, 2005 noted that over 500,000 Iraqi refugees had left Iraq by November 2005. According to RI, the UNHCR is unable to register all refugees, but that of the Iraqi refugees registered in Syria "Nearly half... are Christians, although Christians comprise only about 5% of the population in Iraq."
In an earlier statement, the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission labeled Assyrians "endangered," stating "As people, groups, and whole communities start to identify by religious affiliations other than their common Iraqi nationality, the Christian minority find themselves increasingly despised, marginalized, and exposed. They are endangered, without equality before the (Islamic) law, having no clan networks and retaliation ideology, and lacking security in a lawless Islamic society." (AINA 2-7-2006)
While Assyrians recognize the general insecurity afflicting most Iraqis in and around Baghdad, the continued harassment and attacks in their homes in the north have been doubly taxing. Although some Assyrian families have fled from Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra back to their ancestral villages in the north, most -- as the UNHCR reports have documented -- have instead chosen to leave Iraq entirely. What had been designated a destination point for internally displaced Assyrians has instead been hijacked by KDP militants.
The example of the Jaro brothers illustrates difficulties faced by Assyrians living under a brutal tribal KDP occupation. As one analyst noted, "The confiscation of the Jaro home shows a double tragedy for the community. On the one hand, yet another family has forcibly and violently lost their home to KDP thugs with no recourse to the authorities. On another level, the entire community of Batnaya is now subjected to an armed KDP occupation."
The continued KDP hegemony into still more historically Assyrian areas has further increased tension between Assyrians and the tribal Behdanani Kurds of the KDP. According to the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) and the Iraqi Constitution, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) administration and occupation would only extend to areas occupied by Kurds prior to the war. The steady encroachment of KDP paramilitary militants beyond the KRG occupied areas is viewed as illegal and provocative. One Assyrian leader recently asked, "There are no Kurds here; why do they need an armed presence to terrorize our people here?"
With the growing conflict following the Samarra mosque bombing on February 22nd, the already disproportionate impact on Assyrians has only intensified. The increasing insecurity and subsequent exodus of Assyrians has reinvigorated calls for an Assyrian Administered area. As one analyst summarized, "Only an Assyrian Administered Area, a safe zone in the Nineveh Plain that is secured by Assyrian police, will ensure the confidence of the populace to stay."
© 2006, Assyrian International News Agency. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

The lawlessness in Iraq that threatens smaller ethnic and religious groups is of course a result of the American war against that country, creating a tragic situation for everyone there, but on top of that an almost complete lack of security for Christians.

I do not know what the answer is now, this is part of the mess my country has wrought. At the least the Assyrians deserve to be offered relocation here if they cannot have safety and security there.
Thanks for visiting my blog.

I've posted this in spite of being non-Assyrian because there is an almost complete lack of information or interest among Americans about the Iraqi minorities, and because the curernt administration is not open to considering that their policies might be making refugees of western-oriented Iraqis.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin
I believe that we need to call on the prez to call on all of the US to undergo a week of fasting and mourning over what we have wrought in Iraq. During this week all public/private forms of entertainment would be suspended. The hope is that by showing deep remorse, we can call on the Iraqi people and their leaders to find nonviolent ways to work out their conflicts.

I likewise don't believe that given the status quo that whether we're there or pull out that things will resolve themselves. It really is up to the Iraqi people and their leaders.

ps, thanks for posting, I did reply. When did we interact before?
I'll reply both here to eliminate the confusion of any (if there are any) future readers, and on your blog.

Our paths crossed at Theology Web, where you posted a link to your friend's blog on Critical Realism (which you may notice I've got on my side bar). [For any annonymous future readers, it's a good read, if it's still there when y'all read this.]

I left T-Web when I found the controversy (and ad hominem attacks) deleterious to my health. I'm still on the mailing list, and may from year to year still drop in for a glance, but have no plans to resume posting or responding at T-Web.

I do believe things in Iraq are drawing increasingly further from resolution, which some use as grounds for continued American military involvement, and which I instead see as an argument that American military presence is no longer improving the Iraqi situation, whether or not it did so earlier.

There is a very informative post in either a January or February (2007) issue of Zinda magazine (see link on left on Assyrian news) by an Assyrian American soldier as to how we might succeed in Iraq, and then determine if the US is willing to adopt that strategy, especially now.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin

I am glad I no longer post at TWeb.

The spirit of discussion isn't very Christian.

I don't think it matters that Bahir was not under Persian control. I do believe that there was a release of groups held captive in Babylon to their native lands by the Persians, but if you have info, then I'd be interested...

If you could email me at wetzelld at gmail dot com more on why my hypothesis that there was some influence from exiled Judaism on those other groups who returned from the exile imposed by the Babylonians, I'd be interested.

I believe there was some cultural exchanges via the great silk road and the timing seems uncanny, but I'm willing to examine all the evidence. But my theological prior tends to belief that the Jews did not make up the largesse of their history during the time in exile and that they did plant critical seeds for the spread of Xty during that time...

ps, I'd encourage you to tell others about my idea for calling on Bush to call for a week of fasting and mourning over what we have wrought in Iraq. I think that is something that'll be easier to rally people around, unlike military strategy. I think too much is really in the hands of the Iraqi people...


A friend of mine has the following motto:
A candle or two for an hour or two for (world) peace

I found I rarely had time for a candle or two, so I just put on pants, socks, shirt, etc for peace with justice.
Bobbert! I am in Awe, once again at the man you are, and the social disharmonies you shout out to undo.

You are Very Intelligent in more than the numbers on IQ Scales. Yop have a big Heart and Soul for poeple, Ideals, and such you hold dear.

Once again, I Bow to You

Remember:"Up with the Nose, and Out with the Pinkie!"

And Remember:< Nose in the air, and Up with the Pinkie!>

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?