ASIA/IRAQ - Iraq's parliament: no to changes in the status of Nineveh Province to reserve "protected areas" to religious minorities

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 religious minorities   international politics   sectaniarism  


Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Iraqi Parliament voted yesterday, Monday, September 26, a motion to close the door to any possibility of changing the legal status of the northern province of Nineveh. The motion, presented by the Sunni parliamentarian Ahmed Jarba, received broad support by the Parliamentary Assembly, gathering the support of the Shiite forces and many Sunni parliamentarians. The Iraqi people - said Jarba after the vote - rejects any prior assumptions regarding the distribution and legal reconfiguration of the Nineveh Plain. According to the proponents of the motion, any change of the current administrative and legal status of the province at the moment would be a violation of the Iraqi Constitution. In their view - report local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides -, issues regarding the future of the institutional structure of the area will be dealt with only if and when the full liberation of those lands from the dominion of the jihadist of the Islamic State (Daesh) will be carried out. And in any case, projects to reconfigure the area on ethnic or sectarian basis represent as many attempts - promoted by external forces - to influence future political scenarios in the region "under the pretext of aid to religious minorities".
The pronouncement of the Iraqi Parliament is a deliberate halt over all hypotheses - both inside and outside of Iraq - to split the province of Nineveh and obtain "protected areas" to be reserved for religious and ethnic minority groups, with wide political and administrative autonomy. In recent times (see Fides 16/09/2016), political campaigns and initiatives launched especially in the US had reproposed the projects to turn the Nineveh Plain in an autonomous area, reserved for the Chaldean Christian, sire and Assyrian populations. On September 9, twelve members of the US House of Representatives - 9 elected in the Republican Party, and 3 elected in the Democratic Party - presented a resolution to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House to ask the US Congress and the international community to promote the recognition by the Iraqi government of a Province corresponding to the Plain of Nineveh and organized according to legal criteria in line with the "self-determination by indigenous peoples".
The resolution, presented by Republican Jeff Fortenberry on behalf of his colleagues, introduces and argues the request with a list of 16 considerations, many of which refer to the campaigns carried out in recent months to push the US government and other Western political institutions to apply the definition of "genocide" to the various forms of brutality and oppression carried out by militants of the Islamic Caliphate (Daesh) on Christians and other minority groups. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 27/09/2016)