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الرئيسية / English / Vision after Liberating Mosul and the Nineveh Plain Towns

Vision after Liberating Mosul and the Nineveh Plain Towns

 

Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Chaldean Catholic Church


Introduction
In the 1930, Christians were about 5% of Iraq's population and used to have a vital presence in the most important cities of the country. However, the number has sharply declined after the USA invasion of Iraq in 2003 due to the subsequent chaos of sectarian “quotas” the security deterioration as well as threatening and blackmailing of Christians by terrorists worsens the situation. For example; kidnapping and murdering Bishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul and other members of the clergy in 2008; explosion of Our Lady of Deliverance Church (Sayedat Al-Najat Church, Baghdad) in 2010; and the invasion of Mosul and Nineveh plain by ISIS (Daesh) in 2014; etc.
 
Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq with a population of about two million, the majority of them are Sunni Arabs. Before ISIS invasion in August 2014, it was also a home for Christians, Kurds, Turkmans, Shabak and Yazidis.

It seems that the region is moving toward a pre-prepared plan in order to fix the political situation in Iraq, in which Christians and minorities may not gain what ensures their existence, survival, and secured future. There might be a chance to invest in global sympathy due to their suffering, but the most urgent thing now is to put aside their differences and work seriously to achieve unity, cohesion and cooperation to safeguard Christians’ existence on this land since there are some “political hunters” trying to use them for getting certain advantages. In other word, Christians’ risk has become a token of exchange for regional stability.

The political process in Iraq was not correct from the beginning since it was built based on sectarian and partisan quotas, which created most of the country’s problems. Indeed, this was contrary to the universal fact of putting the right person at the right position, regardless of their affiliations and patronage, which should be a concrete step to protect “our shared home” and the principles of profound relationships that will enable us to move toward a secure and prosper future for a unique “multicultural” nation, all enjoying the same citizenship with its rights and obligations.

Therefore, in planning for the future of Mosul and the towns of Nineveh Plain we have to focus on the situation of Christians and minorities who were subjected to persecution and a genocidal process (under the terms of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide). Freeing Mosul and Nineveh plain from ISIS might hold a glimmer of hope for native residents to return home with the condition of providing legal protection for them, and also granting them the necessary time to re-build trust with their neighbors. Otherwise, the “hemorrhage” outflow of migration will continue, even from safe areas, which is a very serious sign.


What are the concerns – challenges after liberation?
We must be prepared to deal with certain issues after the departure of ISIS especially that we know Nineveh province is different from Anbar and Salah-Alddin due to its “mosaic composition”. Perhaps, the outcome will be a storm of conflicts even worse than before “God forbid”, if those in charge are not both strict and open-minded to “diagnose” the reality and put things at the right place considering the following:

a)    Adopting an open, wise and unified vision among the political parties. Such vision must be based on the reality and able to gain respect for administering security, politics and management fairly.

b)    Understanding that the military victory over the ISIS jihadists does not mean solving the problem and to continue dismantling extremists’ widespread ideology.

c)    Being prepared to contain the consequence of the current humanitarian situation of refugees (millions), which is moving from bad to worse due to the lack of proper housing, health care, schools, nutrition and jobs. This situation might degrade into creating new terrorist groups.

d)    Dealing logically with conflicts’ outcome, such as taking revenge and fighting for leaderships and ownership of seized properties. Therefore, it is crucial to secure that each person is fairly given his rights.
 
e)    Being aware of the demographic changes, including internal, regional and international ambitions that the “players” are trying to have a roadmap for their future gains and advantages, even before the release of Mosul and Nineveh Plain.

f)    Using the economic recession and “corruption” in Iraq as an excuse to delay reconstruction and the return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to their hometowns.
 
Requirements for reconstruction and the return of IDPs
a)    Provide international cover to protect these areas after the liberation (e.g. United Nations Monitoring).

b)    Impose a state of emergency in Mosul City and the Nineveh Plain.

c)    Appoint new Imams of mosques, preferably those who are well-known for being open minded and moderate.

d)    Emphasize the role of media in spreading a culture of openness, tolerance, acceptance of others, promotion of co-existence, stability and cooperation to confront, extremism, hatred and violence.

e)    Set up a reliable source of funds for the reconstruction and development of Nineveh Plain towns to give people a hope for returning and settlling.

f)    Establish a relief and humanitarian assistance body to rehabilitate the infrastructure in order to speed up the return of IDPs.

g)    Take into account a self-administration as a solution for Christians of the Nineveh Plain, at this stage.

h)    Give “returnees and all citizens” the right to practice referendum, after allowing a period of time to settle and establish secure conditions. They can then, choose their “own” association with the central government, KRG or the proposed Sunni region!

 

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