Sputniknews – August 2016
After having established a quasi-state in the Middle East, Daesh has been guilty of many evils, including persecution of other ethnic groups, whose religious beliefs happen to differ from radical Islam, such as the Assyrians. A group of Swedish politicians now advocate the creation of a local Assyrian autonomy to prevent future genocides.
Sweden must see to it that Assyrians are granted local autonomy over the Nineveh Plains in order to be able to ensure their survival in the Middle East, Swedish Liberal Party members Nino Maraha, Birgitta Ohlsson, and Robert Hannah demand in an open letter in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. According to them, this must be done soon, before it’s too late, preferably under UN patronage.
“Two years ago, Daesh occupied one of Iraq’s largest cities Mosul, where church bells fell silent after over 1,600 years as the city’s Christians were forced to flee head over heels,” Liberal activists wrote. However, it was only a premonition of what was to come. Shortly thereafter, the Nineveh Plains in Iraq were emptied of its indigenous people, as hundreds were slain and over 50,000 were forced to flee.
Unfortunately, not all Assyrians managed to escape the black-clad jihadists. Women and children were captured, raped and enslaved. Girls were sold as sex slaves. This is a human tragedy difficult to grasp, the Liberals pointed out. According to them, many Assyrians still dream of a future in Iraq and Syria, despite today’s nightmare. Therefore, it is important to support these people’s desire for a life of peace and freedom.
According to the Liberals, Daesh’s time is running out, and it is imperative for the international community to clear the way for the Assyrians to return to their areas of origin. Earlier, the Liberals long pushed for Sweden to contribute experts and equipment in the fight againts Daesh. By its own admission, the Liberals also support all forces, including the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga, that could limit the physical expansion of the so-called “caliphate.”
Previously, the Liberals decided in 2011 to push for an Assyrian autonomy in the Nineveh Plains, their historic area of origin. Some two years later, the Iraqi government endorsed a similar decision, which, however, was never put into practice on account of the Daesh invasion. Today, the Liberals continue to push for Assyrians’ right to self-determination in the Nineveh Plains and will require a similar decision in Syria, once the war comes to an end.
The Assyrians are native throughout Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Today, they are among the oldest communities in the world and have over the years suffered systematic persecution and several genocides because of their faith and ethnicity.
The number of Assyrians in Iraq has fallen sharply in recent years. Including the 2003 war in Iraq, the country’s Assyrian community dropped from 1.5 million to about 300,000. The international Assyrian diaspora number over 4 million.