Assyrians of Iraq Are Denied Representation, Again

2/11/2006 5:08:13 AM

Once again, Assyrians, the indigenous people of Iraq are deprived of a true representation in Iraqi government. The rights of the Assyrians Christians of Iraq are as much in jeopardy today as they were during Saddam’s regime.

On February 10, 2006, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) released December 15th, 2005 election results: The United Iraqi Alliance received 128 seats, the Kurdish Alliance gets 53 seats, and the Arab Sunnis acquired 44 seats. Among Iraqi minorities, the Turkmen and Yezidies each earned one seat. Due to the very low number of votes for the Christian slate, one of the 45 reserved national seats was appropriated for Christians.

In a press conference a few hours before the list of parliament members was released, Farid Ayar, the official spokesman of IECI told Elaph, the most popular Iraqi news agency, “a special order by the Federal Court has mandated the de-Baathification committee to make special arrangement for expulsion of some of the candidates on their list”.

This special arrangement applies to a few candidates including the Christian representative, Mr. Younadam Kanna, who held high ranking position with Saddam’s Baath party. Kanna, who also enjoys close relationship with Jalal Talabani has been desperately pleading to him and others for the favor of removing his name from the list of the de-Baathification committee. Despite the Iraqi Supreme Court’s order of expulsion of 153 names on the de-Baathification list from the parliament, IECI followed Jalal Talabani’s request and removed only two names from their list, leaving Younadam Kanna as the Christian representative. Khaled Al-Shaami, a director of the de-Baathification committee announced, “We will continue seeking expulsion of all 153 individuals”.

A reliable source from Baghdad informed Assyria Times that Kanna has succeeded to gain a temporary presidential reprieve by Talabani on a condition that even though his name will be released as a new member of the parliament, he will not occupy the Christian seat and will not serve in the government when the new parliament convenes in two weeks. Kanna will have to appoint another person from his slate to serve as the Christian representative.

Younadam Kanna, the Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) has earned Jalal Talabani’s support in the past few years in exchange for the national and political rights of the Assyrian people in Iraq. Despite his leadership of ADM, as a member of the Kurdish Parliament, Kanna has openly waived and denied any rights the Assyrians have in their own homeland.

Kanna’s ADM party and his Al-Rafedeen slate has no support among the majority of the Assyrians of Iraq and Diaspora. They perceive him as the traitor of the Assyrian Cause and the Assyrian martyrs’ blood, as well as a puppet of the Kurdish parliament. He did not even once mention the Assyrian name during his membership in the Iraqi government since the liberation of Iraq. He isolated himself from all other Assyrian political parties and national organizations, and has refused to answer any questions from his constituencies. He was the only one who held high the Transitional Administration Law (TAL), the document which grossly denied the political and national rights of the Assyrian people.

Still carrying the Assyrian title on his political party for the purpose of eliciting financial support from the Assyrians of Diaspora, Kanna has helped the Kurdification policy in Northern Iraq where the majority of the Assyrians have been residing ever since the creation of the Garden of Eden, long before the occupation of Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen.