Saturday, January 17, 2009


This came in from Stafford:

The Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project (ISDP) has been spreading disinformation against the Kurdistan Region. To attract US Government attention and support they try to assert that the future of Iraqi democracy is directly dependent on how minorities are treated within the country.

The numbers being reported are very unreliable. The number of Christians in Iraq could be significantly fewer than 500,000 in a country of an estimated population of 28 million. Even from the Kurdistan Region, which is personally secure and politically stable, where Christians from Baghdad and Mosul have sought refuge, many Christians continue to emigrate.

ISDP tries to assert that minorities are threatened by both Arabs and Kurds. To add weight to the issue, they have assumed other minorities into their argument - Shabak-Kurds, Yezidi-Kurds, and Turkmen. Shabak-Kurds and Yezidi-Kurds adhere to non-Muslim and non-Christian religions while Turkmens are either Sunni Muslim or Shia Muslim.

The international media has been critical of the KRG and the presence of peshmerga in areas where Christians, Shabak-Kurds, and Yezidi Kurds have been traditional inhabitants. The fact is that the KRG and peshmerga have been providing much needed security services. Members of these communities in the Nineveh Plain (Al-Qosh, Bashiqa, Bartilla), however, recently confirmed that if it weren't for the KRG and peshmerga they would be wiped out, eliminated.

Excerpt: "Youash, who authored a paper on the Iraqi minority crises for the American University International Law Review, warned that the demographic changes will hurt Iraq because Assyrian Christians "are disproportionately represented in Iraq's professional and educated elite." "

This paper asserts that "Assyrians" are an ethnic group that includes members of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Church of the East, and other churches and denominations. It asserts that these Christians trace their origins to the Assyrian empire. This is questionable and given the many migrations over more than 6,000 years to the area now known as Iraq many Iraqi Christians do not agree with this theory.

Excerpt: "The deliberate targeting of minorities by Islamist extremists, including the government-affiliated Sadr Militia and Badr Brigade, and by prejudicial policies from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is emptying Iraq of its indigenous Assyrians."

What "prejudicial policies"?

Excerpt: "There are debates about the culpability of the central government in Baghdad regarding the targeting and persecution of ethno-religious minorities. The basis of this debate is the inability of the central government to develop and implement policy, and therefore minority persecution is not government-driven. This is debatable in terms of assessing central government apathy or the political affiliations of the major militias. However, the KRG is highly effective at developing and implementing policy and therefore carries a significant degree of responsibility for its persecution of minorities."

Excerpt: "The situation in northern Iraq and KRG-controlled areas (where the government has formal jurisdiction and where it is seeking to dominate) can be likened to a return of Saddam-era authoritarianism. The community has long felt the pressure and intimidation of the Peshmerga, particularly from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Peshmerga, however, are an extension of their political leaders in the KDP, and the problem is political."

This paper is likely to be used as reference ammunition against the Kurdistan Region just as the paper used statements from biased secondary sources in the US State Department's 2005 Human Rights Country Report: "In the January elections, many of the mostly non-Muslim residents on the Nineveh Plain were unable to vote. Some polling places did not open, ballot boxes were not delivered, and incidents of voter fraud and intimidation occurred. These problems resulted from administrative breakdowns on voting day and the refusal of Kurdish security forces to allow ballot boxes to pass to predominantly Christian villages."

There's more: "The situation in northern Iraq is tangibly that of a new apartheid-like development track for Christian Assyrians as they widely choose not to succumb to KDP authoritarianism. However, it appears that U.S. Government neglect of this community in terms of equitable reconstruction and development is aiding their starvation into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. By all accounts, the U.S. Government’s disregard for the development needs of Christian Assyrians in light of the scale of their dislocation causes them to fall prey to the predatory behavior of the KDP." And there's still more.

This paper was published in a credible journal at a reputable university. It contains disinformation, inaccuracies, and falsehoods. It needs to be authoritatively contested.

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