Iraq - One of the results of the fall of Baghdad is
the treasure trove of hitherto secret documents that
have come out. One that has just come out documents
in stark terms a decades long pattern of ethnic
cleansing in Northern Iraq.
Entitled `The Settlements And Villages Of The
Christian Assyrians In The Region Of Kurdistan Iraq`
the document which goes to 104 pages is a shocking
view of a previously mostly unknown campaign of
terror against a tiny minority in Iraq.
Documentation totaling 290 villages in the Northern
part of Iraq read page after page next to the
village name `destroyed`.
Document with `Confidential For Internal Use Only`
and subtitled `The Contribution Of The International
Non-Governmental Organizations To The Islamization
of Assyrian Villages` goes into great detail on the
destruction of the indigenous people of the region.
after page tells the shocking story of Assyrian
Christians uprooted from their villages by force -
villages they have lived in for centuries and
ordered immediately to leave by moslems in
conjunction with the forces of Saddam Hussein and
the Kurdistan Regional Government.
compiler of the report writes `The Atmosphere is one
of exceptional hopelessness and depression as I have
witnessed nowhere else in its intensity.`
with a clear agreement that its source not be
revealed the document is difficult to read in its
sanitized version of the destruction of a people
after entry reads `demography forcibly changed`,
``destroyed`, `disappeared` `gas holocaust`, `intifada`.
`secret war` has been ongoing in the area since the
end of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and has resulted
in the `Ethnic Cleansing` of an area that was the
traditional homeland of the Assyrian Christians
since before the time of Christ.
the Assyrians but also populations of Jews too have
disappeared according to the secret document.
Gewargis Church 1300 years old destroyed 1978` is
another entry telling the story of the attempt to
destroy all vestiges of the Christians and Jews of
an area that has been theirs for centuries.
in many ways even more shocking, though is what
forms the subtitle of the report the role of
International Aid Organizations - in many cases
religious ones in the effort.
report refers to one international religious aid
organization with an entry reads `has indeed behaved
in such a matter against all advice . It certainly
has done so in many and greater cases with sometimes
irrevocable consequences for the Assyrians.`
Entries read `gas-Anfal` meaning the villagers were
gassed during the `Anfal Campaign` by the Saddam
government to destroy the area and `islamizize` and
`gassing of the Kurds` extended to a much greater
population of Assyrian Christians as well, although
this has been previously completely hidden.
`Mar Odishu Church destroyed Church bell stolen from
pattern of `ethnic cleansing` against the indigenous
Assyrian Christen population of the area by the
Kurdish Regional Government, the Saddam Hussein
government has decimated the area of its original
inhabitants to the point that whereas for a
millennium it was their country there are now only
scattered villages that are Assyrian - most of the
inhabitants having been killed or moved to larger
check of the Assyrian Christian community in Baghdad
backs up the secret report. `They forcibly came into
our villages and ordered our people out under
penalty of death. Each time we were replaced in our
own villages by moslems who had come from other
parts of the country. It is careful and organized
plan to get all Christians out of Northern Iraq,
particularly in an area where we have the historical
right to be there` says Amir Oraha an Assyrian
Activist who was jailed under the regieme of Sadaam
Hussein for his activities.
to the area confirms our worst fears. Village after
village broken. Churches, Seminaries and homes only
rubble. In village after village - many with only a
dozen or less villagers there are huge moslem
mosques donated by Saudia Arabia not as a recipes
gesture abut as the final step of the ethnic
cleansing - to replace the former church with a
moslem mosque nobody needs or wants but to put to
ret the past.
about today? `We have 10,000 families who want to
return to their villages now. They are living in
Baghdad, Mosul and overseas. We have tried. We have
appealed to the United States, to the Iraqi
Government, to International Organizations for help
but we are not being helped. The Kurds are being
given massive funds to move to our area but we are
report by EU Parliament Member Albert Jan Maat says
`International Aid is mainly distributed through
regional and therefore moslem leaders and seldom or
never reaches the Assyrians`.
fighting to see that a percentage of the 160 million
Euros designated for the reconstruction of Iraq be
designated for minorities.`
be done? We are appealing to the world to help us.
We do not understand why the United States budgeted
180 million dollars for Kurds to move to our
villages and nothing budged for us to move back to
the villages that we were forcibly taken out of by
Saddam Hussein and his men.` says Oraha. `We are
waiting for help so the Assyrian Christians can
finally return home.`