ASIA/IRAQ - Political maneuvers on the future of the Nineveh Plain. The Chaldean Patriarch: it is unwise to talk now of self-determination

Monday, 29 August 2016 international politics

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The future political and administrative arrangement of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, after the eventual liberation of those areas still under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State jihadists (Daesh), is an issue which is "still uncertain", and "it is not wise to talk about self-determination". This is what Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I said during a meeting he had on Thursday, August 25, with US General Terry Wolff, deputy special envoy of the US President at the international military anti-Daesh coalition led by the United States. During the meeting, which was attended by some leaders of the Embassy in Iraq, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also noted that the US has a "moral responsibility to help Iraq get out of the serious situation in which it finds itself".
The words of the Chaldean Patriarch come after a series of actions carried out by leaders and activists of local political forces on the political and administrative future which is still controlled by Daesh. In recent days, representatives of political parties guided by Christian activists, such as the national Parliamentary Imad Youkhana, requested that the area of Nineveh is recognized the autonomy guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution, allowing local components to manage areas such as security.
Already in late July, Sunni politician Atheel al Nujaifi, former governor of Nineveh province and leader of the political party Al Hadba, had declared that the province of Nineveh, once freed from the jihadist Islamic State (Daesh), will be transformed into an autonomous region, divided into provinces - six to eight - with also a certain degree of administrative autonomy. Such opinions were also addressed to the Christians who lived in the villages of the Nineveh Plain, and fled en masse before the conquest of the region by militants of Daesh. They still proposed once again the project of an "predominantly Christian autonomous province", to be set up in the Nineveh Plain to acknowledge the local Christian communities a role in the operation of the administrative institutions and in the field of protection and security.
But the words of al Nujaifi also confirm that the "promises" aimed at Christians are becoming subject propaganda of projects of political management of the area that appear competing with each other. Previously (see Fides 19/07/2016), Kurdish leader Masud Barzani, President of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, during a meeting with Christian politicians held in Erbil, had foreshadowed the creation of a "Christian state" in the Nineveh Plain, and the subsequent call for a referendum to allow the inhabitants of such an autonomous administrative entity to choose their own political framework under the rule of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, rather than under the federal government based in Baghdad. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 29/08/2016)