Report to Committee on Foreign Relations:
Assyrian Administrative Area

By Ken Joseph Jr.

                                                              Presented To

                                                  Committee On Foreign Relations

                                                   Hon. Richard Lugar, Chairman


                                                              May 17, 2004

                                                         Rev. Ken Joseph Jr.

                                              Assyrian Christian Assistance Center

                                                         Baghdad, Free Iraq

 I. Introduction

The Assyrian Christians of Iraq are the descendents of the Great Assyrian Empire which can be traced back to Nineveh (present day Mosul) to 5000 BC and its peak in 612BC when it controlled much of the Middle East.

The Assyrian people first come to the attention of most people in the story of Jonah. They are the people of the city of Nineveh who `repent` of their sins and come back to God following the coming of Jonah. Again, they come to the fore following the death of Christ, when they become the first people to convert to Christianity through their King Abgar.  Following Following this they become, according to Kenneth Scott LaTourette, the historian, the `greatest missionary sending people in history`, bringing Christianity to China, India, Japan, The Philippines and throughout Asia.

Following the closing of the `Silk Road`, their numbers began to dwindle, but the Assyrian Christians remained in their homeland in Assyria, in the north of present day Iraq.

The terrible `Assyrian Holocaust` beginning in 1918 saw nearly 2/3 of the Assyrian Christians massacred at the hands of Muslims and Kurds.

In spite of these many reversals they continued to remain in their homeland. A tiny minority in a sea of Islam.


II. Present Day 

Presently there are approximately up to 6 million Assyrian Christians worldwide. According to figures from the time of Sadaam Hussein as recently as 2003 the population of Assyrian Christians within Iraq was put at 2.5 million.

Presently the Assyrian Christians are centered in Baghdad, the capital and in their homeland in northern Iraq.

Due to their status as the Indigenous people of Iraq they have been living in their homeland for over 6,000 years. Due further to the fact that they are Christians in a majority Islamic area they face persecution in a number of ways.

First, simply because they are the indigenous or original people. Second, because they are Christians. Third, because they are always seen as `agents` of the `west`.

Since the fall of Sadaam, the situation of the Assyrian Christians in Iraq has become very precarious and the only way for them to be able to survive in the dramatically changing environment is for a system to be put in place that will allow them to stay.


III. Assyrian Administrative Region

The Assyrian Administration Region is an area that comprises part of the Assyrian Homeland in Northern Iraq. (Map Enclosed). The area currently has an approximately 82% Assyrian population with a total population of approximately 450,000.

The capital of the Assyrian Administrative Region is the city of Bakhbeda, with approximately 30,000 population. The main industry is farming, poultry and light industry.

The Assyrian Administrative Region if provided autonomy and self government as in Kurdestan to the north, will be economically viable through the above industries as well as trade with neighboring Syria and Turkey and through investment and return of many of the 2.1 million Assyrian Christians in other areas of Iraq as well as the 3.5 million Assyrian Christians living overseas.


IV. Administration

A well qualified and able set of Assyrian Christians professionals are currently administering the area and can easily take over administrative duties of the Assyrian Administrative Region.

The Assyrian Administrative Region, as an autonomous, administrative region is able to provide for local services, including schools, security, transportation and basic services.

Due to the recent war and the effect of the sanctions there will be a need to upgrade various infrastructure.

It ie expected that their will need to be an initial expenditure according to the Coalition Provisional Authority calculations per region to repair damages from the war and bring basic infrastructure systems to the basics to enable business to return.

Once this is completed, though the area is well set to develop in a positive and forward looking matter.


V. Conclusion

It would be a tragedy if the Assyrian Christians, the indigenous, original people of Iraq and one of the last remaining Christian homelands in the Middle East were to be forced as a result of a recurrence of a long pattern of oppression to have to leave en masse from their own homeland.

In spite of various attempts at working out compromises,  the current Transitional Administrative Law in article 7 states `Islam is the Official Religion of the state` and puts the Assyrian Christians under the administrative control of the Kurds, those who a generation ago killed 2/3 of their population.

Without the minimum of regional autonomy, as granted to the other Minority groups in Liberated Iraq, the population will be forced to join the 3.5 million Assyrian Diaspora living overseas.

If, though the minimum autonomy can be achieved, The Assyrian Administrative Region will be a Middle East Success story of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, economic success and an example not only to the region but to the world.


VI. Contact

The Assyrian Christian Assistance Center

Box 2044

Baghdad, Iraq

1 646 785 0907           


Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian and has been in Iraq since March, directs and is writing a book about his experience in Iraq entitled `I Was Wrong!`

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