ASIA/IRAQ - A “contest” of promises over future autonomy for Niniveh Plains

Saturday, 30 July 2016 international politics  


Mosul (Agenzia Fides) – Atheel al Nujaifi, a local Sunnite politician former governor of the Province of Niniveh and leader of the al Hadba political party, has asserted that once freed from the jihadist clutches of the self-proclaimed Islamic state (Daesh), the province of Niniveh shall be transformed into an autonomous region , divided in counties – between six and eight – each with a certain degree of administrative autonomy . “This will mean” said Nujaifi “that all the different groups in the region will enjoy a regime of self-government, because they cannot continue to believe in any more promises regarding their protection”.
The Sunnite political leader, according to local media was referring implicitly to hundreds of Christians living in villages in the Niniveh Plains, forced to flee en mass the advance of Daesh militia. His remarks refer once again to the plan - in the air for some time – for “an autonomous Christian majority province”, to be instituted in the Niniveh Plains and the acknowledgement of the role of the local Christian community in the working of administrative institutions and in the field of protection and security. However the words of Nujaifi also confirm that “promises” made to Christians are becoming propagandistic proposals about the planning and political management of the area, proposals which would appear to compete with each other themselves. Only a few days ago (see Fides 19/7/2016), Khurd leader Masud Barzani, president of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, in a meeting with Christian politicians at Erbil, prefigured the creation of a sort of “Christian province” in Niniveh Plains, and a successive referendum to allow the people living in that self-governed entity to choose their political setting under the government of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan rather than under the federal government in Baghdad. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 30/7/2016).