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Iraq : Christians Marginalised and Vulnerable

ICC Note

Iraqi Christians continue to face marginalization and discrimination in the country.

02/05/2009 Iraq (Christian Today Australia)-Provincial council elections were held in 14 of Iraq ‘s 18 provinces on Saturday 31 January. Because Iraqi politics is totally tribal the stakes are high and Christians, as a small minority, are inevitably marginalised. For various reasons the elections were generally peaceful. Also no voting was held in the still ethnically mixed, highly contested and volatile northern provinces of Dahuk, Arbil, Sulaymaniyah or Kirkuk .

Tensions are high in the northern Nineveh Province where a massive ethnic power-shift is about to take place. It has been the centre of the Assyrian homeland for several millennia and is where most of Iraq ‘s remaining Christians live. However, for the past few centuries it has also been Kurdish ‘frontier’ territory. When the Sunni Arabs boycotted the 2005 vote, they opened the door for Kurds to extend their control into Arab-majority areas — lands Arabised by Saddam Hussein to ensure Arab majorities in oil-rich areas. Oil-rich Mosul ( Nineveh ‘s capital) subsequently became a front-line in the Sunni Arab insurgency. After the US-led surge in central Iraq drove militants north, Mosul also became al Qaeda’s new Iraq base in its jihad for the imposition of fundamentalist Islam.

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