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View Diary: Plight of Christians in Iraq Began When GW Bush Invaded in March 2003, Obama Urged Action in 2007 (5 comments)

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  •  A little history (1+ / 0-)
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    A major massacre of Assyrians and Armenians in the Ottoman Empire occurred between 1894 and 1897 AD by Turkish troops and their Kurdish supporters during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (the Hamidian massacre). The motives for these massacres were an attempt to reassert Pan-Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, resentment at the comparative wealth of the ancient indigenous Christian communities, and a fear that they would attempt to secede from the tottering Ottoman Empire. Assyrians and Armenians were massacred in Diyarbakir, Hasankeyef, Sivas and other parts of Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These attacks caused the death of tens of thousands of Assyrians and Armenians and the forced "Ottomanisation" of the inhabitants of 245 villages. The Turkish troops looted the remains of settlements and these were later stolen and occupied by Muslim Kurds. Unarmed Christian women and children were raped, tortured and murdered.[76]

    The Young Turks government of the collapsing Ottoman Empire in 1915 persecuted Christian populations in Anatolia, Persia and Northern Mesopotamia. The onslaught by the Ottoman army, including Kurdish and Circassian irregulars resulting in an estimated 2.5 million deaths, divided between roughly 1.2 Million Armenian Christians, 0.75 million Assyrians and 0.75 million Greek Orthodox Christians, a number of Georgians were also killed. The Genocide led to the devastation of ancient indigenous Christian peoples who had existed in the region for thousands of years
    In the year of Iraq´s formal independence, 1933, the Iraqi military carried out large-scale massacres against the Assyrians (Simele massacre) which had supported the British colonial administration before.[5]
    In 1987, the last Iraqi census counted 1.4 million Christians.[10] They were tolerated under the secular regime of Saddam Hussein, who even made one of them, Tariq Aziz his deputy. However persecution by Saddam Hussein continued against the Christians on an ethnic, cultural and racial level, as the vast majority are Mesopotamian Aramaic speaking Ethnic Assyrians (a.k.a. Chaldo-Assyrians). The Assyrian -Aramaic language and written script was repressed, the giving of Syriac Christian names or Akkadian/Assyro-Babylonian names forbidden (Tariq Aziz real name is Mikhail Yuhanna, for example), and Saddam exploited religious differences between Assyrian denominations such as the Chaldean Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Orthodox and the Ancient Church of the East. Over 2,000 Assyrians were ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages under the al Anfal Campaign of 1988.

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