‘Chance to thrive’:Iraqi Christians return after decades of hardship

Iraqi Christians attend Mass at the archaeological site of Kokheh Church south of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug 23, 2019. The historical church located on the left bank of the Tigris River some 20 miles south of the capital Baghdad dates back to the first century AD. Remnants of the church, an archaeological site and one of the most important sites of Eastern Christianity, was reopened again to the public last year after a years-long closure due to security concerns. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

‘Chance to Thrive’: Iraqi Assyrians Return After Decades of Hardship

By Seth J. Frantzman
Thursday, October 3, 2019

ALQOSH, Iraq — The long line of vehicles crowded the entrance to Alqosh, a Christian town in northern Iraq, on a Thursday last month

People have come to shop and visit friends. At the mayor’s office, officials walk in and out of Mayor Lara Zara’s office getting stamps for various documents

The mayor says that while the area today is secure from threats, such as the Islamic State, the lack of economic opportunity and investment presents a major challenge

“We have a lot of civil servants who are dependent on government salaries,” the Chaldean Christian mayor said

Even collecting those salaries is a hurdle because the town lies in disputed areas between the region effectively run by Iraq’s Kurdish population and territory directly controlled by the central government in Baghdad

Alqosh, an enclave with a large and ancient Christian population, reflects all the complexities of the country in microcosm

Two years ago, Iraqi security forces fought brief skirmishes with the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government’s peshmerga militia to retake control of Kirkuk, Sinjar and other areas that the Kurds controlled during the war on ISIS

Tensions persist between Irbil, the Kurdish region’s capital, and Baghdad. Christians in areas such as the Nineveh plains around Mosul have been caught in the middle

To get to Alqosh, for instance, a visitor must pass through a security checkpoint manned by the peshmerga and then get clearance from an Iraqi police officer looking at the cars entering the town. The Iraqi flag mixes here with the Kurdish tricolor, and some say the town could be a multifaith model of coexistence — if current political winds prevail


Notice; The website www.nala4u.com is not binding the so-called Kurdistan

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