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Volume IX

Issue 34

27 October 2003
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This Week In Zinda

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Are We Ready To Claim Our Political Position?

  Assyrians Hold their First Conference in Iraq
Final Statement of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian General Conference
Assyrian Patriotic Party on the Name Issue
First Political Conference for Iraqi Christians
  Chaldean National Conference to be held in February 2004 in Baghdad
Donny George: Uneasy Guard of Iraq's past

You Guys are Still Around?
Unity, Yes. Bush, No!
USA Today features Donny George
Rev. Kando Should Stick to His own Pulpit
Thinking & Acting with Rationale


Hirmis Abbona Lecture in London
Listen to Voix des Assyro-Chaldéens


Burning Issues

  Ret. Senator John Nimrod Discusses Future of Iraq




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The Lighthouse


The change has finally come to our beloved homeland. The question remains, what next? Are we, as the indigenous people and rightful owners of this blessed land, prepared to claim our rights within our ancestral homeland?

As a litmus test to determine if Assyrian nation at large is prepared to undertake this task, the following questions have to be addressed:

1. Does Assyrian nation share any common objective with other inhabitants of this land namely; the Shiaa, Sunni, Kurds, Turkomans and others?
2. Does the official recognition of the Assyrians as the indigenous people of the present day Iraq by the above groups, take away certain rights claimed by any of them?
3. Does Assyrian nation share any common and mutual interest with any of the governments in the region?
4. Does Assyrian nation have a plan of action for its national agenda to pursue such alliances with such neighbors?
5. Do we know whose political interests are in direct conflicts with those of ours?
6. Can Assyrian nation expect any support for its cause from the governments in the region such as: Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, or any of the Gulf States?
7. Does Assyrian nation enjoy any broad-base International support of the world community or any International organizations?
8. Has the Assyrian nation prepared itself to present its case to any world body?
9. Does the Assyrian nation possess the means to manage its own affairs, given the opportunity?
10. Does this nation as all other nations deserve to have its own national homeland?
11. Is an Assyrian national homeland for all of our people, regardless of the country of origin, place of birth or religious affiliation our final goal or simply a national aspiration?
12. Have we concluded that the word “Assyrian” means, all Christian, Syriac speaking people or is there another definition for the full meaning of the word “Assyrian” as it relates to its original and historical meaning of this word?
13. Has this nation reached a national consensus and a plan to reach that aim?

I hope that these questions, after being fully considered and analyzed by the readers, will offer us all an opportunity to determine the level of our preparedness to meet the challenges before us and ultimately, answering the original question asked under the heading of this article.

Along the advancement of world civilization, at present there is the emergence of the two global agendas: “Human Rights” and “Environment Rights”, but has the world civilization body matured enough to have the principal global agenda of the “Civilization Rights”? Actually encompassing both of the two of the above? To protect the civilization achievements, the most contributor nations against zero contributor masses? And to secure the advancement of civilization?

In proposing this pre-question it is assumed that the body of the “Civilization Rights” is matured and soon to be on the agenda and on top of the two other rights.

Now the pre-question for litmus: Does the benefit of the civilization body allow:

1. The most contributor nation-civilization - “the Assyrian” - to perish?
2. The most qualified body, as the parents are for their offspring guard, protect and to oversee the right use of its immense heritage, to perish?
3. A nation with a distinctive identity proven in a long duration of its achievements long history of millennia to perish?

And the identity acquired not by chance but in the ups and downs conditions, and the identity imprinted with the following major characteristics:

a- Transparency b-Accountability c-Integrity
d- Industriousness e-Faithfulness f-Determination

And all these indispensable for the advancement of civilization?

4. Anti-civilization evils and zero contributor masses to prevent the existence and reestablishment of Assyrian the most contributor nation for civilization?

If the answer to the above four questions is “Yes”, then the civilization is not concerned about the existence of Assyrian Nation, and the civilization body is not yet matured!

Then the present civilization must expect a much worst end than that which befell on the civilization two and a half millennia before, by the fall of the sole “Assyrian Superpower”, invaded by anti-civilization zero contributor hordes and unfortunately in alliance with their sister state Babylon, shortly to be perished itself by nomadic hordes.

It is academic consensus that a power did fall that by today’s standards should have continued for another millennium! And that the fall did lead the Western world to plunge into dark ages up to the Renaissance, and the Eastern world into turmoil to present.

The world civilization had to wait 2.3 millennia to catch up with Renaissance and make a breakthrough to reach to present civilization.

But even for having the Renaissance the civilization was lucky. Because of the two exceptional events, without which the world would not have been enjoying the present civilization.

The two events were offered and caused by the second Assyrian resurgence after the Christ, in the from of the “Assyrian Spiritual and Cultural Empire” (ASCE) of A.D., also known as “Assyrian Church of the East”. The empire wielding scientific, cultural and spiritual power and influence all over the Asia to the farthest ends of the continent, until the middle of the second millennium A.D. The first event did occur when in early second millennium, the central Asia’s volcanic human eruption of Turks and Mongols did send sweeping and annihilating waves to East and to the West.

Th Assyrian Church because of its influence and footholds did save Europe from eradication. Along this effort, the Assyrian Church did urge the volcanic forces to send emissaries to Europe to have alliance against the evils of the time. But Europe of that time was not that mature to understand and appreciate the blissful offer. Europe had to pay dearly later because of the developments that did occur as a consequence of rejection, the Turks and Mongols now had embraced Islam.

The second event was, that as Assyrian Church of the East was the major body in A.D. era, holding and developing science, technique and medicine and other academic knowledge along with the spiritual activity, did also have all respective institutions in Islamic realm. Thus, the academic knowledge of two previous introductions to West during Alexander the Great and Crusader Wars were enriched in the third introduction through the Islamic realm of Spain and did spark the Western world Renaissance.

Well, fro the impacts of Assyrian civilization, luckily there were these two events, saving of Europe and sparking of Renaissance that came to the help.

But what of present civilization is annihilated, with having in view the effects of mass destruction technology, what end does the poor civilization have to expect?

Lamassu (the epitomized emblem of the Assyrian identity)* hopes that at this critical time all academic, social and potential centers of civilization that are presently financially strapped and out of attention, will be activated and get their role and enforce the world civilized political bodies to save the civilization body from Armageddon.

Here are respectively the answers for each question with omission of questions to be added in printing:

A-1: The Assyrian nation demands:

a. To exist, to resume their constructive role and to renew the glorious past of Mesopotamia.
b. Their persistent and atrocious liquidation as the most persecuted nation that history has ever witnessed, to be stopped.
c. To guard and protect the remnant offspring of their accomplishments, their immense heritage. To see their right use for civilization advancement, as the parents are the most qualified body to guard and take care of their offspring.
d. To turn around the prevailing trend of turmoil since the loss of their power, to renew the second to non-civilization of their homeland Mesopotamia.

Then, why this want must not be a common objective with inhabitants? And where part of them is originally and historically Assyrian, converted forcibly to other faiths? It is academic consensus that since the fall of Assyrian Empire, Mesopotamia has never been relieved from perpetual turmoil and instability.

Thinking pragmatically, wouldn’t a democratic, free and powerful Mesopotamia with the help of its indigenous people who had made it a cause history in civilization and power, ensure a better future for its inhabitants? Could there be a more sound common objective than this?

A-2: There is a plenty of land to be reclaimed, plenty of economic potentials to be exploited. With Assyrian assuming their constructive role, wouldn’t there be a powerful Mesopotamia to ensure their rights for existence in future? While weakness does make it unsure. Pragmatism, flexibility is the key for existence.

A-3: Why a pragmatic and logical thinking neighbor-country must not be interested in having a democratic, free and well developed neighbor?

A-4: As the neighborhood people have been fundamentally benefiting from Assyrian culture in the past, there do exist potential common interests in political, economical areas, where the plan of action will be elaborated on time.

A-5: No. Because all the people around are pragmatic. And they will benefit from a prosperous, wealthy Mesopotamia’s original owners that have determined to renew its beneficial past. And civilization momentous course at present has made it inevitable.

A-6: The answer is yes. If they do understand that at present cross section of history the civilization body has matured and do understand the nature’s law of “natural selection”, the power of civilization thrust and they are pragmatic. Just in our time in Near Eats, we are witnessing the case of Palestine, where the pragmatism was ignored and it did result in catastrophic end.

A-7: Yes and a big yes. There is long list of the key, academic, international institutions and societies who have been and are dreaming to help the Assyrian cause.

Why to help? Because the Assyrians are the world’s most contributor nation for the civilization. Their political super and sole super power empire, having the history’s longest duration for couple of millennia has left that immense invaluable documentary material, that it would take the four next centuries, to unearth, to decipher and examine just the written material.

The same is the situation with less time, for the written material left by “Assyrian Spiritual and Cultural Empire” of A.D., known also as “Assyrian Church of the East” or “Nestorian Church of the East”.

Why the Assyrian heritage is that much invaluable to put the immense effort on it?

Because there is a big gap between quantitive pure science and comparative human science. To fill the gap, you need documentary historical material of the long past period.

Before the discovery of Assyrian heritage material, the civilization body had exhausted the documents left by Latin and Greek nations, but no avail to obtain further social science criteria.
The academic consensus is that one of ten thousands of Assyrian material unearthed and exploited provides more information than what has been left by Greeks and Latins!!!

Then why the civilization bodies mentioned above do dream to help Assyrian nation to exist?


a. As the parents are the naturally the most qualified body to guard their offspring, the same the Assyrians are the most naturally qualified body to guard their own offspring, their heritage, and to see it is correctly used for the advancement of civilization and a credible history. To prevent their misuse for fabrication of false identity by ones who lack any accomplishment. Or to see that the heritage items are not stolen and eradicated where they invalidate the false identity claim by some.
b. Such a distinctive nation, which is invaluable asset of civilization, to be protected and assisted to continue its contributions.

A-8: Unfortunately, the answer is no. Assyrians are the most persecuted nation of the world. Since the fall, they have been under the nonstop, most annihilating attacks and crippled to extinction extent. If there now do exist couple of millions of the once the sloe super Power Empire, that is by itself an unbelievable miracle.

So, the Assyrians at this moment hardly can provide a capacity that is required efficiently represent their cause to the international political authorities for help. Assyrian do hope that the civilization advancing elements, and the most effective one, the Assyrian.

A-9: Yes. They possess inherently and at highest level all the basic potentials indispensable for a successful management and prosperous accomplishments (see A-10)

Assyrians do hold major (may be the most) initially revolutionary evolution jumps and or break through records in civilization advancement course. Here just to mention the ones in management, examining the evolutionary and revolutionary course of power struggle, Assyrians do hold the initial break through records of: from city state to nation state, then to empire, to super power and to sole super power of the civilized world!!

To manage one business store, you don’t need that management skill, but for a number of stores you need special management skill.

The same is the case of managing one city to a number of them to a sole super power empire, having in view that, at that time, they didn’t have the developed systems of transportation and the communications of today. Which are indispensable for management of vast complexes.

With the same unparalleled intrinsic genius managerial skill they did established and manage their “Spiritual and Cultural Empire” of A.D. all over the Asia, and ocean of diverse people. The academic consensus is that in precision wise it was functioning like a watch!! And this all accomplished without having a political and financial support behind them.

You just concentrate to shower your people with:

a. A part of their parents’ second to non accomplishments;
b. A part of their perpetual annihilating persecution again second to none;
of which because of their increasingly wretched fate they know nothing. In the other end, they will do their miraculous wonders as ever.

A-10: There are nation states with zero achievements record, then why the Assyrian with their unique unparalleled record of achievements, acquired in the historical longest period, are not more than deserved and qualified to own their national homeland?

A-11: Yes, it is a national aspiration to acquire the “National Unity Synergy Power” in accordance to nature’s laws for living entity, which as a result encompasses the first part of the question.

I will add, the aspiration is for all historically Assyrian, with identical Assyrian culture. Here, the culture is meant:
How to survive (survival tool), and why to survive =identity=standard. And that culture is the product of gene plus environment.

A-12: If my understanding of the last part of the question is right, the answer is the same as for Q-11.

A-13: Yes as follows.


To acquire and to enjoy the “National Unity Synergy Power”. This, to be behind of each Assyrian to help to meet the following triad needs:

a. Materialistic needs;
b. Intellectualistic needs; the culture and the accomplishments, the specific Assyrian tool of survival.
c. Political security needs in his original homeland.

Directive and Plan:

To concentrate, again to concentrate to shower our people with following triad disciplines:

a. Accomplishments, Assyrian as the most contributor nation for civilization.
b. Annihilating atrocities since the fall, Assyrian as the most persecuted nation.
c. Equipping the mass particularly the students with political and human science.

To meet the Assyrian and Mesopotamian basic and urgent academic needs, also to fulfill the dream of international centers, six enclaves must be allocated in Assyrian Metropolises: Ashur, Kalikhu, Nineveh, Arba-ilu, Babylon, and else – to establish the following international academic and financial centers:

a. Assyriology International University (a central body for world perspective faculties).
b. “Assyrian cultural and Spiritual Empire” (ACSE) International University. Presently the subject of Aramaic Departments of civilized world universities. (a central body for world respective faculties)
c. Assyrian History, Literature and Culture University.

As well for protection and advancement of “Civilization Rights”, “Human Rights”, and “Environment Rights”.

d. Mesopotamia University.

For defense and all other academic requirements.

e. Mesopotamia Financial Cooperation, with respective academic faculties.

Alfred Dooman

* When Assyrian did surpass and left behind for couple of millennia, all other world inhabitants in knowledge and achievements, they did set their objective to build a paradise on the earth for its inhabitants, identified and epitomized themselves in the form of Lamassu, commonly known as human headed winged bull; indicating: Layered Beard as master of wisdom, Eagle wings for master of sky, Bull/Lion Body form master of Earth.

Good Morning Assyria


Courtesy of the Associated Press (26 October); by Salym Abraham

(ZNDA: Damascus) Iraq's long-oppressed Christian Assyrian minority held its first ever conference in Baghdad, made possible by the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, a statement issued at the end of the conference said.

"The conference came under circumstances during which our (Chaldean-Assyrian) people are looking forward to a new dawn after the removal of (Saddam's) regime and to an era in which freedom, democracy, human dignity and the homeland's independence and sovereignty are achieved," said the statement, faxed to The Associated Press office in Damascus.

More than 500 people, followers of Assyrian, Orthodox Syriac, Chaldean and Maronite churches from around the globe came to Baghdad to attend the Oct. 22-24 conference, held under the auspices of Ayad Allawi, the president of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, according to the statement.

The conference, organized by the Iraqi Assyrian Democratic Movement and the Syrian Assyrian Democratic Organization, called on the international community and Iraq's neighbors to help Iraq achieve security, stability and restore its independence and sovereignty.

The conference also called for building a pluralistic Iraqi regime that "respects all ethnic groups and religions" in the country, according to the statement.

The statement stressed the need for Iraq's one million Chaldean-Assyrians to be given "an administrative region in the Nineveh plateau" - the place where the ancient Assyrian capital stood 3,000 years ago - and their "political, religious and cultural rights in the rest of Iraq."

"The conference stressed that Chaldean-Assyrians be recognized as the indigenous people of Iraq on basis of equality with all other ethnic groups," the statement said.

One member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council in Iraq, Younadem Kana, is Assyrian Christian.

The zenith of the Assyrian empire was between the 9th and 7th centuries B.C., when it stretched from the Gulf through modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1933, the then Iraqi government massacred around 5000 Assyrians in Semele, a town in northern Iraq. Since the secular Iraqi Baath Party took power in Iraq in 1968, Chaldean-Assyrians were referred to as Arab Christians.

The three-day conference called for including Syriac, a modern version of Aramaic - the language Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken, in any future Iraqi constitution.

Participants, politicians and intellectuals, came from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and as far as Europe, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, according to the statement.


Under the auspice of Dr. Ayad Alawi, the interim President of the Iraqi Governing Council, and under the slogan "Our Unity and Our National Rights in Iraq," the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian General Conference in Baghdad was held between October 22-24, 2003.

Among the participants were Mr. Yonadam Kanna, the representative of our people in the Iraqi Governing Council, representative for Mr. Paul Bremer, Head of Civil Administration in Iraq, and representatives from various Iraqi organizations. Among the participants were as well representatives from different organizations, religious, civic and cultural institutions representing all aspects of our people from throughout Iraq and delegates from Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and the Diaspora (Europe, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).

The conference took place under circumstances when all Iraqi people are looking forward to a new era and dawn after the passing of the previous regime. Iraqis are looking forward to an era when freedom and democracy is accomplished, human dignity is preserved, and Iraq is independent and sovereign. The conference represents a historic and important point; long awaited by our people, an urgent necessity fulfilled by many merits on the path to secure this people's identity, continuous national and civic existence on his forefather's land.

This existence extends to thousands of years since Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, and Ashur where the first laws were coded and where rules and regulations were put in place. This nation continued in her offers with her adoption of Christianity until this very day. For three days, the participants debated the conference's agenda with its main points. Many valuable studies and researches were presented, which addressed the Iraqi national matters, ethnic matters, and our case.

After thorough deliberations and discussions, the conference instituted certain principles and foundations:

On the Iraqi National Side:

-The conference stressed the unity of Iraq. It called upon the international community and neighboring states to support and help Iraq to secure his security and stability, his independence and national sovereignty. A support needed to take Iraq back to his normal place where he can play his role and build relations based on common interest and mutual respect with all of his neighbors and his return to the international community.

-The conference stressed the establishment of a federal, pluralistic, and democratic system of government. This system shall affirm the principles of governing in peace and the separation of authorities; a system that honors international treaties and agreements, prescribes to human rights, institute the rights of all ethnic and religious groups that the Iraqi people belong to.

On the Ethnic Side:

-The conference stressed the unity of our people, with all the names known by (Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian) since they are titles for one creator, which we are proud of and is dear to us. This we feel because it proves our historic and civilized depth into ancient times and reflects various historic periods that diversified our peoples' roots and connection to this land, and still is. And due to the urgent necessity imposed by the fragile situation that our people and case are going through, the conference stressed the importance to agree on one united ethnic name that go hand in hand with our situation in Iraq. Thus, the participant agreed on the title ChaldoAssyrian for our people and on Syriac as the name of our language and culture, to be used in the constitution. The conference stressed that the Iraqi permanent constitution shall be liable to institute the ethnic existence of the ChaldoAssyrians as indigenous people. They are to be equal with the rest of the Iraqi ethnic groups and live with the principles of partnership in this country, which will guarantee his ability to practice his ethnic, political, administrative, and cultural rights and his right to be represented and nominated in the legislative, administrative, and judicial branches of government.

-The conference stressed the necessity to institute an administrative region for our people in the Nineveh plain with the participation of other ethnic and religious groups, where a special law will be established for self administration. Furthermore, insuring administrative, political, cultural rights in towns and villages throughout Iraq where our people are residing in.

-The conference stressed the issuance of legislations that remedy the injustice that has befallen our people and the removal all traces of policies that changed the demographic picture to regions that belonged to our people, relying on the census of 1957 and earlier.

-The conference demanded the acknowledgement for the rights of our people who migrated or were forced into migration to return to Iraq. In this regard, the conference values the decision of the Iraqi Governing Council for issuance of the new citizenship law.

-The conference stresses the role of the ChaldoAssyrian woman through her exercising of her full rights and her participation in all aspects of life. The conference calls upon our people in Iraq and Diaspora to do their part and practice their national and ethnic responsibilities in the rebuilding and the advancement of Iraq. Additionally, the conference calls for the continuation of dialogue with the rest of the organizations and institutions that did not have the chance to attend the conference for whatever reason to stand united in serving our cause. The conference concluded its sessions by establishing a general secretariat, which will follow up and apply the conference's recommendations and decisions through the committees that were emanated from the conference.

October 24, 2003 A.D. / 6753

[Z-info: Unauthorized translation by Fred Aprim]


Concerning the issue of our people's name, the Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP) has dealt with in complete transparency and through positive activism. This, the APP has approached from two levels:

First is subjective, internal, and on the Assyrian level. Through this level, the APP stressed and since its first steps in the path of national struggle, and we stress it today again explicitly and unequivocally, that we were committed with rooted faith, and with great pride and honor to the Assyrian name for our people. This commitment was without hesitation, fear from being blamed, and with absolute satisfaction that the Assyrian name gained its historic legitimacy from the great sacrifices that our Assyrian people have given through their long history and the columns of martyrs who gave their souls offerings on the altar of freedom. Accordingly, we used the Assyrian name in our daily lives and in our correspondences, whether through our writings, announcements, radio stations, and through other media outlets. However, and at the same time, we do not deny to others among our nation their rights to commit to any other name that our people as a whole, or a segment of it, were known by through our long history; a name that they see fit for our people. We assure that we respectively are committed to their choice and will deal with them with transparently and positively. This we do because of one essential fact, which we consider as the good grounds for the mutual national activity. This fact is our faith that we are one nation and one people and that every name includes the others. This is what our political party confirmed in its second congress in July 2002.

This is our stand; it is felt by everyone whom we dealt with through our positive correspondence towards the many points of interest that brings us closer to each other. This we should promote without getting into useless arguments that leads us to much wasted energy and efforts and subsequently squandering our national rights.

The Second is on the official, external, and objective level. Through this level, we stated and we assert it here again without amiability, ambiguity, or bargaining or yielding towards any side in order to gain limited political advantages. We state it because it is something of importance that we realize and understand completely, it forces itself upon us, and that is the reality on the ground. The APP is with any name that guarantees our national rights and affirms our existence as people similar to the other ethnic groups in Iraq, our home, whether the name is ChaldoAssyrian or that used in the United States during the Census 2000 (Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac). We are with any other suggestion that solves this problem and ends these useless arguments. We will be committed and will cooperate positively with any suggestion on condition that it will be born through common understanding formulated by everybody (intellectuals, institutions, political organizations, etc.) and where the majority agrees upon it.

We wish that we had made our stand clear and definite; a stand that leaves no room for misinterpretations or doubts.

Bureau of Culture and Information
October 11, 2003

[Z-info: Unauthorized translation from Arabic by Fred Aprim. Original Statement in Arabic at


Courtesy of the al-Zaman Newspaper (24 October)

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Iraqi Christians, from the three major sects, held their first political conference in Baghdad, which continued for three days, under the banner "Out Unity and Rights." The Preparatory Committee stated that they are seeking to establish "Independent Church Council" that will be responsible to reflect their voice.

Archbishop Shlimon Wardoni, the Patriarchal Vicar of the Chaldean Catholic Church, stated in the opening ceremony that the aim and goal of the heads of churches and sects in Iraq is to establish Independent Church Council. In that Council, all Christians will work together in order to unify their voice in dealing with the state and people.

Furthermore, the council will work and construct in a way so that every ethnic and every sect becomes an integral part of it and without any of them the council will be incomplete and its work adverse. He added that the Independent Church Council would administer its affairs by itself; however, it will consult with the Church authority. The Independent Church Council will chose its own title that will represent it inclusively in the new Iraqi Constitution where religions will not be mentioned rather ethnic groups.

Bishop Warduni clarified further that the main reason for holding this conference is to clarify thoughts and exchange opinions. He added that the present members of the council have agreed on the title "The Independent ChaldoAshur Council" only for the sake of unified representation and is not intended to melt any of the nationalities or ethnic groups rather to give a title to include everyone in general. “Now, if all these nationalities”, he added, “were mentioned in the constitution then that is fine, otherwise let us have a general title that everyone agrees upon.”

It is worth pointing to that in Iraq there are various Christian sects: Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac, which represent 5% of the Iraqi people. They live mainly in Mosul and its surrounding villages and towns. They live in Baghdad as well where they number around three quarters of a million.

Warduni considered Christians as an inseparable part of the rooted Iraqi people. “Therefore, we”, he stated, “have to stand together, as we were and still are, for better or for worse. From this logic, Christians must work as one hand, through understanding and cooperation, with their brothers in Islam and the other sects to build the new Iraq.” He pointed that this is the goal and aim of all heads of Churches and Christian sects. He continued to state that “we want the ChaldoAshur Council to be a mosaic piece that include all brilliant colors and gemstones in which if one was lifted from its place then the mosaic's appearance will lack beauty.”

Meanwhile, member of Iraq Governing Council, Mr Yonadam Kanna (a Christian), criticized the policy of the ousted Iraqi regime towards the Iraqi Christians. He stated that our conference that has gathered us here from the four corners of the world is great positive indicator for our nation's struggle that suffered too much dispersion and negative stands throughout the centuries.

Meanwhile, Mr. Imad Chamoun (Lebanese), head of the International Maronite Council and the representative of Mar Nasrallah Sfir, Patriarch of the Maronite Church, stated in his speech that the first of the recommendations that this conference could come out with is to demand from the present Iraqi Governing Council to acknowledge the ethnic presence of the KaldoAshuri (ChaldoAssyrian) people in Iraq: “This is to be an alarm that we are not only the sons and daughters of a Chaldean and Assyrian Church alone; rather we are ChaldoAssyrians ethnically.”

Mr. Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, member of the Iraqi Governing Council, stated that we want the new Iraqi society to be built on the foundation of diversity. A society that is big enough for all the geopolitical factors without distinction between people. He added that Iraq is not a country for you rather Iraq is your country; Iraq is not only a land you meet each other accidentally, it is a contract between you and the land that made you who you are.

Patrick Kennedy, the representative of the Civil Administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, asserted in his speech that the Christians of Iraq have a rooted history in language, heritage, religion that goes back to father Abraham and the Sumerian Civilization. He added, “where I come from, civilization in it does not exceed few hundred years. I stand to honor your power that saved your churches despite hundreds of years of challenges and persecution.”

News Digest


(ZNDA: Detroit) An official of the Chaldean National Congress has announced that the initial preparations for a general Chaldean National Conference are underway in Baghdad for next February. The conference will include all Chaldean ethnic institutions and groups. It will address the following issues in addition to other topics that will be defined by the preparatory committee.

1. The ultimate challenges that face the Chaldeans, especially not being represented in the Iraqi Governing Council and the Iraqi government. In addition, defining the ways and means to block all efforts to marginalize the Chaldean legitimate rights.

2. Ways and means to guarantee the Chaldeans ethnic, political, and cultural rights in the new Iraqi constitution.

3. The present challenges that the Iraqis are facing and the means to guarantee the Chaldeans' effective participation in the democratic transformation, which is taking place in Iraq at this time.

4. The posture to be held in future relations with the Assyrians and Syriacs, and the means to block all efforts to distort the Chaldeans' ethnic identity practiced by certain political groups and institutions.

The Conference will take place on February 16, 2003 in Baghdad. The conference will coincide with the holding of the first gathering of the Chaldean National Congress, in which all internal documentations of the organization will be approved and its leadership officers elected.

The names of the preparatory committee will be announced soon, followed by the invitations to all Chaldean organizations, inside and outside of Iraq.


Courtesy of USA Today (21 October), by Dan Vergano

(ZNDA: New York) Most museum officials would grind their teeth over falling attendance, spending cuts and slumping gift-shop sales. Donny George Youkhanna, research director of Iraq's National Museum, has bigger problems.

Six months after the fall of Baghdad, thousands of museum artifacts remain unrecovered, and the looting of archaeology sites by heavily armed gangs remains widespread throughout southern Iraq.

Visiting U.S. universities to drum up support for renewed research collaboration, Youkhanna spoke recently with USA Today on the "precarious" condition of archaeological research in the cradle of civilization. He speaks reluctantly at first about the museum's hardships of the past year. "I cannot speak for just myself. It was a real hard time for everyone," he says finally. "Very hard times."

Amid reconstruction to restore electricity, pipelines and order, patrolling tens of thousands of archeological sites remains a low priority for U.S. forces and Iraqi police. Some prominent sites, such as the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq, and Babylon, where Saddam Hussein built three palaces, are now guarded. World attention has been drawn to these sites because of their place in history and the National Geographic report in June of the looting there.

In Baghdad, about 11,000 museum objects 2,000 to 6,000 years old remain missing, and the number is expected to climb as assessments continue. And in southern Iraq, the remains of famed ancient cities such as Umma are being ripped apart by criminal gangs. "The future looks very grim unless the antiquity trade is halted," Youkhanna says.

About 3,000 objects have been returned to the museum. U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced in May that they had recovered 700 museum artifacts. Jordanian border guards have returned a similar number, and about 500 more have been seized by French Customs guards, Youkhanna says.

But with an open border to Iran beckoning and looting continuing at dozens of sites, "we don't even know what we are losing," says archaeologist Elizabeth Stone of Stony Brook (N.Y.) University.

The Baghdad museum remains closed, but cleanup is well underway. In basement storerooms, the museum holds hundreds of thousands of objects, chiefly cuneiform tablets, seals and other clay objects from the Mesopotamian cultures that ruled ancient Iraq.

"The day I knew the museum was looted, I felt a cut to my heart," Youkhanna says. For three days prior to April 8, when Baghdad fell, he and three other museum personnel stayed on site, hoping to guard the museum. They fled only after Saddam loyalists started firing at U.S. forces from the museum grounds, Youkhanna says. For two days he stayed with relatives, unable to return to his family or to the museum.

The looters appear to have been a mixture of common and professional thieves. They hit three of five storerooms under the museum. In many cases, for example, thieves bypassed exact replicas of objects such as statues and cuneiform seals to take only the most valuable objects, which shows expert knowledge, Stone says.

Fortunately, museum officials began efforts to protect records and artifacts when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. They stored the most valuable museum objects in secure sites, such as the bank vault holding treasures from the royal tombs of Nimrud.

In the days of chaos after the looting, Youkhanna kept the location of the treasures a secret but revealed their existence to U.S. officials once it appeared that the safety of the museum had become a priority.

"We didn't want it made public," he says. Even today, "it is still anarchy there." Shootings and robberies are common, along with bombings.

In July, Stone returned to Baghdad with a $200,000 State Department grant to buy equipment, such as computers and desks, for museum personnel. (Even doors had been looted from offices.)

Stony Brook University announced Tuesday that it has received a $4.1 million U.S. government grant to rebuild archaeology and environmental programs at four Iraqi universities.

Youkhanna says the future of scholarship in the cradle of civilization remains very much in doubt. Looting of archeological sites began in earnest in 1994, when locals realized the value of tablets and other artifacts.

"Now the looters are armed with rifles and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades)," he says. "They are well-organized to dig and steal."

This month, Youkhanna was named to the reconstituted Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. U.S. officials have pointed to the agency as the best long-term hope for protecting artifacts. "Iraq holds part of the whole world's heritage," Youkhanna says. "Looters are stealing from all of us."

Surfs Up!
Letters From Zinda Magazine Readers


I surfed into your website via another after running a search on Google.com for "Ur." I found it very educational and learned a lot and discovered that much of what I learned in college was not true. For example I had been taught that Assyrians were an extinct people who died off thousands of years ago. Thank you for such a wonderful site

David Bartlett
United States


Yes, the Assyrian people should demonstrate to unite our Nation! But, one thing we definitely should not do is to thank George Bush, for he has done nothing for Assyrians.

I think that Mr. Pete Oraha should read Majdolin Yonan's story in the last issue of Zinda Magazine before telling people to thank the a President who only has world domination on his mind.

George Bush is nothing more than a disgrace to all!

Joseph. Haweil


Congratulations to “USA Today” for the outstanding two pieces featuring Mr. Donny George Youkhanna, the Research Director of Iraq's National Museum. Reading carefully through both articles, I was dismayed that nowhere was the word "Assyrian" mentioned. They missed two enormous points:

1) The vast majority of Iraq's artifacts are Assyrian.
2) Mr. Youkhanna himself is Assyrian.

So, in a sense, Mr. Youkanna is a modern Assyrian guarding his own rich ancient Assyrian heritage for the benefit of mankind. Around the world there are about five million Assyrians, two or three million of whom are in Iraq.

Shmuel A. Babisha
North Carolina


Rev. Kando David Kando may have not noticed in his latest most heated unbalanced and unfair speech given in memory to the fallen Assyrian martyrs that he has unwisely criticized himself. He failed to acknowledge and respect the mutual boundaries of the Assyrian political entities equally as he has repeatedly acknowledged the many Assyrian religious denominations. Henceforth, he has indeed failed his own master, Our Savior and the King of the Church, where He openly inducted on every believer to give what is for Kaiser to Kaiser, and what is for God to God.

I have many points of disapproval to discuss before him in response to his most crucial speech, never before given by any person of such negative sway magnitude. He, as a priest and guard to the word of God, was surely expected from him, by the multitude, to speak words of harmony, love, oneness, togetherness, unity, and forgiveness. But in reality he with the mouth of the evil doers, spoke the forbidden words of the serpent.

What shall I say due all his past time when he was marrying, living life of a layman and having jubilant, vulgar time before becoming consecrated into priesthood? He has instructed upon every Assyrian to follow the line and defend Zowaa, and its leadership. He has condemned all other Assyrian organizations worldwide. But he has certainly failed to think before he offends others. To the most respected reverend, I have been a Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party member before he even became a priest. I swore, and took a holy oath, in the presence of the Holly Bible to become an obedient member to Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party, and a servant to my Assyrian nation undivided, much earlier time even then his financial idol Yacou Younadam Kana was a member of Zowaa. Hitherto, the latter was still an official officer to the Iraqi Intelligent army. Does he, as a priest want me to sway away my oath and betray BNDP, our first ever Assyrian political party, just to please himself, Emperor Caesar.

Let me enlighten him a little bit more. I have the most honor and respect for Mr. Rowill Soorisho Esho. He is a man of truth, and indeed entitled to the respect of many. He is a man of one real face and all the honor goes to him. I applaud him for the great job done. He follows the teaching of our Lord Jesus more than Rev Kando. We Assyrians are stricken with "Mash-Par-Ta." Every one is dear in our hearts as long as they are in front of our faces, but once they turn their backs, all are bad and butchers. Let us be like his honor, beloved Rowill Soorisho Esho and tell the truth as is. In the early eighties, when our immortal 7 martyrs were unjustly hanged, Bet-Nahrain in their ongoing t.v. programs shed blood rather then tears and openly acknowledged the tyranny of the dictator Saddam not only to our respected Assyrian people but also to the entire whole world.

Let me tell Rev Kando a few facts. Mr. Sam Darmo, now unchallenged representative of Zowaa, USA, was a talk host to Klamis Ganji, and an astute supporter to the Baath regime. Mr. Aprim Yousip, likewise, Rev Kando might not have heard about the sacred song "SIMILY." Well, he was the one who zealously working for the Iraqi Baath regime opposed our most respected, most nationalist singer, Shlemoun Bet-Shmouel from singing the song at the "Assyrian Athletic Club," and he is the one eager to incarcerate Shlemoun and jail him. Aprim Yousip today is the big representative of Rev Kando’s Zowaa, and the Reverend wants all the other parties to hush before those traitors. Does he know that before the treachery and killing of the 7 unforgotten Assyrian martyrs, Bet-Nahrain was the closest Assyrian political party in the Diaspora defending and working jointly with them. Let me tell Rev. Kando, for he might not know, against their dead empty heads, "SIMILY" the sacred Assyrian song was indeed sang before the Assyrian big crowd, and it's still alive in our hearts and minds. They indirectly made it immortal.

...and now Rev. Kando wants us to shut up and follow the traitors just because he does not know their past history, or what else my Reverend? Does e know something where the Assyrian people do not know? Tell it! Why didn't he talk about the compound name and its fatal implication for our future? It is Zowaa who wants us to forget our 7 thousand years of our Assyrian ancestors' glory, and remember only our disgraceful 2 thousand years of dismal schism, dispute, and futile bloodshed among the so-called Assyrian religious denominations. I shall never ever be in harmony or respect for his sacred duty unless he apologizes to the ones he offended. Now let him show all his Christian heart! Next time the holy man should try to bring peace and understanding between the two factions, instead of hatred, and misunderstanding.

It was Dr. Dadesho who was elated for the greatest success all Assyrian parties had in London, and Rev. Kando’s hero "Kana" was lamenting such Assyrian unity because his allies, the Kurds, rebuked him and forced him to cut off all relations with the Assyrians in the West except those who work as puppets for Kanna. Be adamant in accepting the unity among all parties, otherwise be fair, and tell the truth, nothing other than the truth.

Yousip Yowanis



Thanks to All Mighty God who gifted us with a brain that we are expected to use to decide right from wrong and also to communicate reasonably and efficiently. This gift (brain) varies from one person to another and science has proved that it can be improved potentially depending on other important factors like environment and education. On the other hand, History has proved that the most important human achievements were made when human brain was invested and utilized wisely and efficiently while the worst outcome was reached when the human brain was used foolishly and inadequately.

Current Events in Iraq

The recent drastic events and historic changes taking place now in Iraq were almost dreams to most Iraqis for long decades. Witnessing a brutal regime been removed from power and a wicked dictator, who ruled Iraq for more than three decades, is now on the run hiding and terrified from his own people. One can see also all Iraqis are filled with joy and (or at least seem to be) happy with their long awaited freedom. At the same time, one can see also some worrisome signs of conflicts and disagreements among Iraqis on how to rule new Iraq with all the freedom they were deprived from for decades. These disagreements and conflicts resulted in creating a governing council of 25 members to rule the country. Ironically, each member in this council is ‘selected’ to represent one million of Iraqi population based on their ethnic and religious backgrounds rather than their percentile votes or on their demographic denomination.

The Americans toppled Iraqi dictator from power very efficiently. Unfortunately, they seem to be unable to control the country afterward and most critics fail them in this effort. They could not find a better solution to keep the Iraqis united other than creating this artificial ethnic/religious governing council as if the road to democracy is only paved by promoting ethnicities and religious denominations. Many experts view this road would sooner or later (or may be as soon as the American leave the country) lead to divide Iraq into three or more regions!

From the first glance, we should look at this governing council as a symbol of separation and division rather than that representing unity. This governing council failed even to ‘elect’ one person among the 25 members to be the head of the state because they failed to trust each other! Americans could have easily promoted for secular Iraqi government, which is the healthy environment and the proper road to democracy that has been proven in all western and other democratic countries. Most Iraqis would have supported this type of government with the exception of some factions from the Shiite faith who would prefer to have a system parallel to the Iranian regime.

Iraqis would certainly achieve much more of their own civil rights and would adequately preserve the national rights of all ethnic minorities living in Iraq should they have selected a secular system that recognizes all Iraqis are equal citizens and have equal duties and rights. However, it is the language of power and the voice of irrational that we are hearing these days. Unfortunately, it seems that the Iraqis lacked the wisdom again to find and pave the road to their own prosperity. They did not learn from their own mistakes during the last 80 years and it seems also that they are back to circle one right where they started in 1920!

Where are we?

Our fate as Assyrian nation has been and always will be in Iraq even though we are dispersed all over the world. We must think and use our brain better than we did before and better than the Iraqis did as well. The Iraqis are unable to decide their right from wrong and unable to work for the best interests of their own country. We must not follow them blindly and do exactly as what they do. We must lay our nation’s best interests on top of all our differences. Unfortunately, we are mimicking them and even inventing new ethnicities in addition to the divisive faiths we have had created just to be divided like other Iraqis or may be even more!

The whole world is watching the Americans attempts in handling the Iraqi problem and the Iraqis are awaiting for new dawn of democracy to emerge in this country! It is in our advantage, the Assyrians, to speak out our voices united and load at this time and to build the support for our case and to recognize our national rights in Iraq. But do we convey our message with our divisive attitude and negative criticism and continued conflicts and shameful personal attacks? Let us, for once, not blame others for our mistakes and be brave and fearless to recognize our own faults and correct them for the sake of our nation and our coming generations.

Our Nation Unity

We always blame, and accuse, others for the misfortune of our nation; some of our people even believe that God cursed our nation in the Bible! We blame the British being responsible for our failure to reach our national rights but we do not dare to evaluate our mistakes. Now we are blaming the Arabs because some fellow Christians call themselves Arab Christians and blaming the Kurds for having other Christians calling themselves Kurd Christians. But we are not brave enough to ask ourselves how, when and why these Christians turned into Arabs or Kurds. We are blaming the “Chaldeans” (and even other faiths) for not accepting the Assyrian ethnicity. But we don’t dare to admit that we used to call them as Chaldaye or Papaye for centuries to distinguish them from Atoraye or Nestornaye and vise versa! We blamed, still blame and even boycott, any one who is married to a Chaldeta or to Chaldaya and vise versa. We criticize whoever attends their church masses or accept their communion and vise versa.

In other words, we distant ourselves from both sides for centuries and it is not easy to bring two divorced persons together just at the will of one party when decides or wishes. There must be true understanding and full justification for our new intentions or vision and solid answers to how and why we are advocating now for this re-marriage or re-union.

Unity is a joint and a willing effort between two or more parties and requires full acceptance and understanding using rationale thinking and can’t be achieved by force or loud empty voices.

Our Nation Name

I would also like to draw my humble opinion here with regard to the compound name issue. One can hear some voices saying that Rome attached “Chaldeans” name to its new Catholic faith in the Church of the East to distinguish its followers from the “Nestorian” and thus they are ethnically Assyrians. Some voices claim that “Chaldeans” name refers to the astrologers in Babylon who ruled Mesopotamia for several decades - I wonder here if we have other nation in the history that was called after its profession name! Other voices claim that “Chaldeans” were in fact Assyrian astrologers who took over the power and ruled Mesopotamia for certain period.

The bottom line is firstly, this “Caldeans” name is not a new invention but exits since the Bible was first written. Secondly, these people “Chaldeans” lived in Mesopotamia (hence are the indigenous people of Iraq as well) and ruled it for a short period (8 or 9 decades) under this name. Thirdly, true “Chaldeans” (excluding those who used to call themselves Christian Arabs or Kurd) have legitimate rights equally to ours by calling ourselves Assyrians.

I don’t see a problem in the current attempts between Assyrians and the true “Chaldeans” to unite ethnically or religiously. If we are accepting any of the views mentioned above, then we are accepting the fact that the “Chaldeans” are recognized throughout the history by this name regardless its origin.

It is the will of the true “Chaldeans” to decide which origin they come from and thus to retain or restore their original name. It might be very true that most of “Chaldeans” are Assyrians who converted to Catholicism. However, their name today is “Chaldeans” and we are negotiating with “Chaldeans” and it is neither our attitude nor in our beliefs to force our views on others.

In conclusion of this short discussion, I think there would be no harm done at all to use a new name should our true intentions are to re-unite our people into one nation. If we disagree on the principles then we do not need to negotiate our unity in the first place.

Learning from the Past

Today, we are witnessing a vicious fight between our political parties to dominate the Assyrian public opinion partially (or at least apparently) for benefiting our people but mainly for the best interests of their own political ambitions. It is true that each political party has the right to present its own agenda and promote its own ideology, but shouldn’t all these agendas and ideologies dwell into our nations’ best interest? Sadly, this is not the case always and ideologies most of the times do not match actual reality or actions and we may see individuals or leaders who would always justify their deeds or actions and strive to convince others that their efforts are for the best interests of the nation.

On the other side, we have seen that our churches have another type of divorce and they failed in approaching each other for so many reasons. They are even encouraging their congregations to distant themselves preferring their faith on the sake of their ethnicity and their nationality. The recent letter from the clergies of the “Chaldean” Church is the worst example advocating for such divisive attempts. Shouldn’t we first witness the dawn of unity to emerge between the Old and New Calendar churches being the most identical faiths and the most recent divorce and the simplest conflict to overcome or resolve. Wouldn’t this reunion be the greatest example for our people to follow and a non-disputed prove on how we have improved our brain? Let us be brave and speak out all our own mistakes not for the sake of blaming each other but rather to find our right path. Let us think and act rationally once in our life to avoid our previous mistakes and present misjudgments. Our people ta ke their examples always from their clergies and not from their politicians because they believe (as I think) that clergies are symbols of honesty, decency, righteousness and purity.

Alas, clergies are human beings as well and they may have their own mistakes, but we can’t keep on blaming and disqualifying everyone involved in our struggle for our national rights for any mistake been done. Only idle people wouldn’t make mistakes. We make mistakes only when we do some work and such mistakes are acceptable and negotiable. We must first consider the intentions presuming the goodwill and respond appropriately to these mistakes in our discussions or when disputing them. Unfortunately, our clergies decided to withdrew from this conflict to avoid further humiliations from irrational criticism and inappropriate attacks from their own faithful. Their role is crucial to offer wisdom and rational thinking to resolve our nation’s most important issue and their silence and retreat at this time are not acceptable.

History has undisputable proofs on how our clergies handled and presented our case to the world and how close we were - Thanks to their outstanding efforts - from creating and establishing a recognized state of Assyria. Our clergies should be proud of those achievements, as the whole nation is proud of them. We should ignore those voices advocating for stopping our clergies’ efforts in reviving our national issue. Our clergies are the finest fruit of this nation and they have the full rights and the obligations to be involved in any national issue and to offer their wisdom and advise for the best interests of our nation.

… And Finding The Right Track

Numbers must not be seen as barriers or indicatives of weakness nor should be picked as excuses to change the course of our struggle for our national rights. We may not have, or even not need to seek, government seats as ministers or otherwise high-level official representation just for the sake of those positions. We do not necessarily need these positions to our content and been satisfied unless some important part of our demands for our national rights are fulfilled. We have had ministers and other high-ranking Assyrian officials during different times along the Iraqi government history. We even had an Assyrian member in the Iraqi parliament during the 80’s, whom we lost his seat because of our divisive attitude. Those individuals were selected on their qualifications and had no significance of what so ever to the Assyrian people or to the Assyrian national rights.

We must seek full recognition of our rights to live in Iraq with fairness and equality with other Iraqis. We must demand from the Iraqis to treat us with unique considerations being the indigenous people of Iraq who were forced to leave their lands and dispersed all over the world. We must work diligently to pull the international attention, support and protection from being extinct. We must convince the Iraqis that we are their pride and we are the only remnants of the glorious history of this country. We must seek the Iraqis’ support to bring our people back home to live peacefully and to practice our civil rights with absolute freedom and without any fears from our neighbors.

Thinking and acting with rationale comes only from the individuals who are totally devoted to their nation and who consider the nations’ best interests their top priorities. Only such individuals can rise above dirty politics games and refrain from being involved in personal gains and ill ambitions for illusive or temporary benefits. Only such individuals can take their nation to its divine fate and make their people reach their foreseen destiny.

Alfred Alkhas

Surfer's Corner


Rabbie Hirmis Aboona will present a lecture entitled “The Church of the East and the Mongols” at the University of Cambridge in England on 13 November:

13 November
5:o00 PM (17:00)
Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA.


Here is the program of our weekly broadcast from Thursday, October, 23rd to Thursday, October, 30th, which you can listen 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on www.aacf.asso.fr.

An interview with Yonadam Khanna, member of the Iraqi Temporary Government, about the current situation in Iraq, on October, 21st, 2003 (in Soureth)

A debate between the young Assyro-Chaldean on the Assyro-chaldean wedding, on October, 14th 2003 (in French)

An interview with Ivan kakovitch, an Assyro-Chaldean writer in Russia, on October, 15th 2003 (in Soureth)

Assyro-Chaldean rites and traditions: “The wedding”,1st part (in French)

Samuel Yalap
Voix des Assyro-Chaldéens (VAC)
9 Bd Henri Poincaré
95200 Sarcelles / France
Tel : + 33 1 39 90 87 11
Fax : + 33 1 34 19 84 72
Mobile : + 33 6 19 32 17 74
E-mail : radio.vac@wanadoo.fr
Web : www.aacf.asso.fr



The land surrounding the Tigris and the Euphrates was known as Mesopotamia until 1920. By the end of the First World War, when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire, the British Army had occupied Baghdad and Basra, but the Turks, who had fought alongside the Germans, remained in control of the northern region around Mosul and Kirkuk. The British generals didn’t see any military value in routing the Turks, but David Lloyd George and his colleagues were looking ahead. In 1917 and 1918, a petrol shortage had demonstrated the economic vulnerability of the British Empire, which had no liquid fuel of its own. The area stretching from Baghdad to the Turkish border was well-known for its oil and gas, which in some areas seeped to the surface, creating fires that were said to be the “fiery furnace” into which Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of ancient Babylon, dispatched the Jews.

In Imperial Quest for Oil: Iraq 1910-1918, the German historian Helmut Mejcher detailed the debate that took place within the British government. “There is no military advantage in pushing forward in Mesopotamia,” Sir Maurice Hankey, the Secretary of the War Cabinet, wrote to Lloyd George. However, Hankey went on, “Would it not be an advantage, before the end of the way, to secure the valuable oil wells in Mesopotamia?” In autumn 1918 British troops marched into Mosul.

Under the San Remo Agreement, which was completed in 1920, the northern province became part of Iraq, a League of Nations protectorate under British control. Faisal, the third son of Hussein, the Shariff of Mecca, was installed as king of the new country. The French, who considered Mosul to be within their colonial sphere of influence, demanded compensation for the British demarche, and they obtained a promise that Paris would receive a quarter of any future Iraqi oil revenues. Meanwhile, Walter Teagle, the formidable head of Satndard Oil, America’s largest oil company (and the precursor of ExxonMobil), headed for London to stake his firm’s claim. “It should be borne in mind that the Standard Oil Company is very anxious to take over Iraq,” Sir Arthur Hirtzel, a British colonial officer, warned his colleagues.

Before the war, an Armenian entrepreneur named Calouste Gulbenkian had established the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC), with the backing of Royal Dutch/Shell and Anglo-Persian (later renamed British Petroleum), to explore for commercial deposits of oil in Mesopotamia. In 1925, King Faisal granted the TPC a monopoly on oil exploration in Iraq for 75 years, along with the sole authority to determine how much oil would be pumped and at what price it would be sold. In return, the government in Baghdad would get a small royalty on each barrel produced. This one-sided arrangement became the model for subsequent deals between Western oil companies and Arab governments in the 1930s and 1940s.

The TPC quickly struck oil. In October 1927, a team of geologists was drilling area near Kirkuk, 150 miles north of Baghdad. One morning, a roar was heard in the drilling area, and a great gusher burst from the ground, carrying rocks 50ft above the derrick. The countryside was drenched with oil, the hollows filled with poisonous gas,” the energy expert Daniel Yergin recounts in The Prize, his panoramic history of the oil industry. Intensive discussions followed about how to restructure the now immensely valuable TPC. In July 1928, the interested parties agreed to divide the business between the TPC’s founder, Gulbenkian, who got five per cent of the equity, and four Western companies: Royal Dutch/Shell, Anglo-Persian, Compaigne Francaise des Petroles and Teagle’s Standard Oil. In 1929, three years before Iraq gained independence, the Turkish Petroleum Company was renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company, but the Westerners remained in control – a situation that prevailed for decades.

As the 20th century progressed, the United States gradually usurped Britain’s role as the dominant military power in the Middle East. Economic self-interest drove this strategic shift. In 1940, the United States produced two-thirds of the entire world’s oil supply. During the Second World War, however, fears arose that American reserves might eventually be depleted; when American officials began to look covetously at Britain’s Middle East reserves, Winston Churchill was moved to write to Franklin D Roosevelt and point out that some people in London feel “that we are being hustled”. After the Second World War, American oil companies concentrated on Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where new “elephants” were being discovered regularly. But in 1953, after Iran nationalized its oil industry, the CIA helped to organize a coup that ejected the nationalist government of Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstalled the Shah. A few years later, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser was calling out on the Arab masses to seize control of their oil, and the unrest spread to Iraq. In 1958, and Iraqi army officer named Abdul Karim Qasim organized a coup that overthrew King Faisal II and established a republic. Faisal and his family were assassinated.

In 1961, Qasim’s government introduced a law banning the Iraq Petroleum Company from developing new oilfields, while leaving its existing assets in place. Less than two years later, the Ba’ath Party, an alliance of socialists and disaffected army officers, seized power and put Qasim to death. The Ba’athists were quickly dismissed in a countercoup, but they returned to power in 1968 and asserted control over the oil industry. In 1972, they nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company, folding everything from drilling rigs to refineries and petrol stations into the state-owned Iraq National Oil Company. The Iraq Petroleum Company’s Western employees were forced to leave. From that point on, anybody who wanted access to Iraq’s soil had to deal with the leaders of the Ba’ath Party, the most powerful of whom was Saddam Hussein.

John Cassidy
Daily Telegraph (London)
6 September 2003



Courtesy of Fairfield Advance (22 October); by Kate Bradstreet

(ZNDA: Sydney) The future of post-war Iraq is being watched closely by more than 20,000 Assyrians living in airfield City, Australia many of whom may consider returning to their homeland if they are represented in Iraq’s new government body, says a US senator.

Assyrian Universal Alliance Secretary General, Senator John Nimrod, addressed members of the Assyrian community last Friday night in Greenfield Park about the plight of post-war Iraq.

Senator Nimrod told Federal Parliament last week that it was time for the Assyrian people to push for a democratic government in Iraq. The Assyrians, who Senator Nimrod described as the “Aboriginal people of Iraq”, have never been formally recognized as the indigenous people of the country and he is hoping after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, they will receive the recognition they deserve.

“We just want the doors of communication between governments and the people opened…Assyrians are the key to a secular government, because we represent a large part of the country which is non-Muslim,” Senator Nimrod told the Advance.

“If the Assyrians had a voice in the new government, many of the people who were forced to flee the country world return.”

Touring major countries in a bid to raise awareness of the Assyrians’ plight, Senator Nimrod is calling on a bill of rights that encompasses all Iraqi citizens and a promise that if there is an ethnic division in the country, the provinces of Ninawa (Nineveh) and Dohuk be designated as the area for non-Muslims.

“This would allow Assyrians culture and religious rights and relives them of the fear of being persecuted.”

Assyrian Universal Alliance Australian Chapter secretary Hermiz Shahen said Assyrians in Fairfield were watching closely the daily events in Iraq, but were not yet confident of returning to visit family and friends. “Every day we see assassinations and instability, which greatly affects people in the Fairfield community,” Mr. Shahen said.

“Because of the history of persecution in the country, people are waiting to see if the politicians can resolve the issues and if the wishes the Assyrian community are asking for are granted.”

Calendar of Events

Visit the Zinda Magazine Calendar at http://www.zindamagazine.com/calendar

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)

Samuel A Babisha (North Carolina)

Moneer Cherie (Australia)

David Chibo (Australia)

Dr. George Habash (United Kingdom)

Tomas Isik (Sweden)

Petr Kubalek (Czech Republic)

Hermiz Shahen (Australia)


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