Iraqi Christians consider political bloc

Published: July 24, 2008 at 4:47 PM

ERBIL, Iraq, July 24 (UPI) -- Chaldean Christians in northern Iraq seek autonomous rights and may form a coalition to run in the provincial council elections, officials said Thursday.

Chaldean National Council Director Dhiaa Petros said the Christian community would work to assert its rights in Iraq through representation in the provincial councils where the Chaldean and Assyrian communities live in northern Iraq, the Kurdish Globe reported.

"We will work in order to add Christian autonomy in the constitution and to make it acceptable to the many sides in the Kurdistan region and to officials in Baghdad," he said, adding the list could be called the National Ishtar List.

Petros said the Christian communities need to work with the Yezidi, Shabak, Kurds and Arabs in the region to form the list.

The Christian population in northern Iraq has slowly left the region since 2006, as there is no incentive to stay amid rising sectarian violence, he said.

Chaldean Cultural Assembly chief Ghazwan Alyas supported claims laid forth by Petros, noting Baghdad has not stepped in to alleviate the situation.

"We think achieving Christian autonomy in the district is the only solution, especially after the efforts that the blocs and other sides have put forth," he said.



© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.