The Honorable Jabir Habeb
Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq
3421 Massachusetts Ave., N.W
Washington, D.C. 20007
Dear Mr. Habeb
We would like to bring to your attention recent important developments in the area of Northern Iraq. Currently under the jurisdiction of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), it is an area that has been the ancestral homeland for the Assyrian nation (AKA as Chaldeans and Syriacs) for thousands of years. We have recently received accurate reporting that the KRG has begun a systematic, and illegal, confiscation of farming lands belonging to Assyrian villagers from the province of Duhok (AKA Nohadra in Assyrian). Ownership of these lands was transferred to the regional government without previously consulting their rightful owners and under the pretext that they were needed for the development of a “project” by the Kurdish Ministry of Tourism which, upon completion, will economically benefit the whole area. At the same time, and in other areas of the region, the KRG is turning a “blind eye” to encroachment on Assyrian lands by Kurdish businessmen who are either member of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and/or business partners with individuals that are associates of Barazani.
The Barazani Family aided by the Kurdish security forces (Asayesh), and under the “veil of government entities,” has continued with the policies of demographic change that the regime of Saddam Hussein had used for decades (until its removal in 2003). While the Kurdish enclave wants the world to perceive it as an “oasis” of democracy and tolerance in a strife ridden Iraq, the truth is the indigenous people of the land, the Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) and other non Kurdish ethnic and religious minorities suffer on a daily basis from “disguised and unofficial” policies of discrimination.
As of the date of this letter, we have collected thousands of signatures from US citizens asking their elected officials (House, Senate and the President) to pressure the Barazani family and the KRG to return the confiscated areas to their rightful owners and to stop their policies of demographic change and the Kurdification of the region. We have also contacted members of the British Parliament, the European Union, and the Vatican informing them of the same abuses.
We are now asking you, as Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq, to bring this matter to the attention of the Federal government in Baghdad, and specifically to the office of the Prime Minister, so he may demand that the KRG bring an immediate halt to these injustices and remedy these recent misgivings. We are hopeful that our requests for the return of confiscated lands, and the prosecution of those who encroach on lands that don’t belong to them, will not fall on “deaf ears,” but in case they do, we would like to assure you that we will be leading a worldwide Public Relations campaign against the KRG, and its
leaders, and will include the Federal Government in Baghdad since ultimately it’s the Federal government’s responsibility to ensure that basic human rights of its citizens are guaranteed, regardless of their religion or ethnicity and the region or province they happen to live in.
The people of Iraq have endured ruthless regimes and endless wars and bloodshed for decades and have paid a heavy price, measured in millions of lost lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in losses of the country’s national wealth, to ultimately bring about the current constitution. That document has numerous flaws and deficiencies, albeit written with the hope that it will “sew” back the very fabric of Iraqi society. This document must be revered and its articles implemented and should not be tossed aside, because if it is ignored and the rights of minorities are not protected, then all the suffering the Iraqi people had endured was in vain and Iraq will never be able to join the rest of the civilized nations of the world.
United Assyrians of Los Angeles (UALA)