Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The smaller minorities in Iraq (UPDATED)

These two pieces focus attention on the effects of the Iraq War on some of Iraq's smaller minorities: 'Exodus' of Iraq's ancient minorities by Patrick Cockburn Independent 02/26/07;
Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq’s minority communities since 2003 by Preti Taneja (Minority Rights Group International) Feb 2007.

Cockburn, who has been one of the best Western reporters on the Iraq War, writes:

Iraq's minorities, some of the oldest communities in the world, are being driven from the country by a wave of violence against them because they are identified with the occupation and easy targets for kidnappers and death squads. A "huge exodus" is now taking place, according to a report by Minority Rights Group International.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says 30 per cent of the 1.8 million Iraqis who have fled to Jordan, Syria and elsewhere come from the minorities.

The Christians, who have lived in Iraq for 2,000 years, survived the Muslim invasion in the 7th century and the Mongol onslaught in the 13th but are now being eradicated as their churches are bombed and members of their faith hunted down and killed along with other minority faiths.
Update 03/28/07: Juan Cole in an Informed Comment blog post of 03/23/07 raises a questions about some of the estimates of the number of Iraqi Christians referenced by the UN.  He's not challenged the fact of the exodus of Iraqi Christians, but pointing out that the percentages of Christians among the refugees and their proportion of the total Iraqi population could well be smaller than the UN estimates.
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