Peshmerga Save Assyrian Villages from ISIS
Earlier this week, the Kurdish Peshmergas took defensive positions along the borders of the Nineveh Plains to protect Assyrian & Chaldean villages from ISIS terrorists.
The timely intervention by the Kurdistan’s defence force saved the Christian community from certain calamity at the hands of Da’ish(ISIS) extremists. Some twenty villages, with a population of 120,000 Assyrians were next on the ISIS list of macabre liberation. Food, shelter and humanitarian aid were also freely distributed to the Christian refugees pouring from the city of Mosul, by the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Whilst the Assyrians were grateful to the Peshmerga forces for shedding blood for the liberation of the Nineveh Plains, they were disappointed with their own political parties. The Assyrian Democratic Movement spent some twenty years raising funds for their military wing (Qrawtan) but when DDay came, they were nowhere to be seen.
One would think millions of Dollars that were raised by gullible overseas Assyrians would’ve been enough to muster a hundred men, to at least participate with the Peshmerga force. A token gesture that would have gone a long way to securing their rights on the plains. It’s a fact of life; political rights are never given, they are taken. Politics is inherently selfish and Assyrian nationalists just don’t get it.
In fact this military, political and humanitarian apathy by the Assyrian political parties nullified any nationalistic prerogatives. It puts the disputed Nineveh Plains squarely within Kurdistan, who after all gave martyrs to it.
Despite numerous warn- ings, another blunder by the ADM was their refusal to partner with the Kurdistan coalition and instead build political ties with Arab tyrants in Baghdad. This miscalculation by the ADM does not give them a political leg to stand on, now that every single Assyrian village falls within Kurdistan’s new borders. It’s an absolute fait accompli that the national and patriotic destiny of the Assyrians and Kurds are a shared one, albeit with separate ethnicities.
The new borders of Iraq are being redrawn very quickly and ADM’s political mates from Baghdad are out of reach, ADM underestimated the fortunes of Kurdistan and left themselves politically stranded. Now, they’re unlikely to feature in any future negotiations with the KRG.
However, the Assyrians who had the vision to cooperate with the KRG right from the beginning and were actually ridiculed as Kurdish puppets by nationalists will be the ones in the control seat, from now on. History taught these Assyrian realists that making friends with the people you share the land with pays dividends; the friends that ADM sought are now two countries away from home.
Finally a crucial observation is that the Assyrian political prowess in Iraq would’ve been seriously bolstered had their brethren returned from overseas to boost a dwindling population of 280,000 souls. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, maybe less than a hundred individuals have bothered to repatriate from the 1.5 million Assyrians living abroad.
Remember, geopolitics is defined by demographics, and demographics are governed by numbers. Although belated, the Assyrians should begin an organized program of repatriation, because nationalism will NOT salvage their domestic insolvency, only patriotism will. Regrettably, Assyrians were outnumbered last week in a military conflict and couldn’t fight. I fear the same will happen in the political battle, where size really will matter.
The events were a victory to the Assyrians who advocated an extended Kurdistan Region, and a ‘reality check’ for those who didn’t.
An Iraqi Christian displaced grandmother holds a child in her arms with a sign of the cross on the forehead of the child. Thousands of Iraqi Christians have arrived in Kurdistan after ISIS attacks on Qaraqosh town.