2/26/10 Iraq (DPA) — Christian Iraqi parliamentary election candidate Emad Yakou on Monday said Christians were being targeted in “almost daily” acts of political violence in the run-up to the March 7 election. “The almost daily targeting of Christians has become a disaster, because it targets a lively and authentic segment of the population that has proven its patriotism and its dedication to a united Iraq,” said Yakou, who heads the Democratic Assyrian Party in Kirkuk.
He was speaking amid ongoing violence and rancorous disputes over voting in disputed northern areas over US and Iranian “interference” in the electoral process and the disqualification of hundreds of candidates with links to the former ruling Baath Party.
Attacks on Christians also came alongside the conflicts between the Kurds and Arabs, “which the Christians in Iraq end up paying for, especially in Mosul” and the surrounding Nineveh province, he said.
“One my list’s priorities is to petition parliament on the issue of the targeting of Christians,” Yakou said. “This serious humanitarian issue has been met by silence from the government.”
“We will reveal those who have been involved in killing our children or forcing them to leave their homelands,” he said.
Kirkuk and the northern province of Mosul are at the centre of a political dispute between Arab and Kurdish Iraqis. Many of the country’s Kurds hope to make Kirkuk the capital of a future independent state, calling it their “Jerusalem.”
Iraqi Arab politicians meanwhile view the city and its nearby oilfields as integral parts of Iraq.
Tensions have also been particularly high in Mosul since an Arab nationalist party won last year’s provincial elections on a platform of taking back control of the province from Kurdish political parties and allied Peshmerga militias.
Insurgents opened fire on police guarding a checkpoint near a prominent mosque in Mosul on Monday, killing four, police told the German Press Agency dpa.