Members of Congress Sherman and Schakowsky to Secretary Blinken; what will the U.S. do about the theft of Suraye votes in Iraq?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following widespread criticism over the curious course of events surrounding Iraq’s recent elections and the Suraye’s five constitutional parliamentary seats in Iraq, US Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-CA-30), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), and Andy Levin (D-MI-9) have asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take immediate steps to end the political marginalization of Suraye or the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.

Four of the five Christian Quota seats went to the Babylon Movement, a political party backed by the Shia Islamist Badr Organization, “with their votes coming largely from non-Christian voters, resulting in the Christians having no legitimate representation in parliament for the first time since it was founded,” the Members of US Congress write in a letter to Secretary Antony Blinken

Under its election laws, Iraq has reserved five of its 329 parliament seats for Christians, which in practice means that these seats go to the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people because they represent by far the largest Christian group in Iraq. In their joint letter to Blinken, the three Members of Congress write that, “these election laws have been weaponized to marginalize the very people they are intended to help. While the seats are reserved for Christian candidates, any Iraqi in any part of the country may cast their vote for those seats, a loophole being exploited by non-Christian factions to install their proxies into office.”

Joseph Sliwa, former Syriac Member of Iraqi Parliament and a candidate for the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union in the October 10, 2021, elections, has uttered the same accusations. According to Sliwa, non-Christian parties stole parliamentary seats from Christians by putting forward puppet candidates and having non-Christians vote for them. He called the electoral results a major transgression against the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people by the large and dominating political parties. “The votes and parliamentary seats are not real,” he proclaimed, stressing that the Christians have nothing to do neither with Shia–Shia conflicts nor with Kurdish–Kurdish conflicts.

Also Read: Joseph Sliwa raises electoral law violations with Independent High Electoral Commission

Brad Sherman, Jan Schakowsky , and Andy Levin argue that the marginalization of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, “has a chilling effect on minority participation and violates the spirit of a system meant to lead to more inclusion. As a champion of democracy and a significant donor and partner to Iraq, the United States should work to ensure that minorities, including Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians are able to fully participate in civic life. Fair and transparent elections are the cornerstone of that participation.”

“Therefore, we are requesting that the State Department provide Congress with an urgent update on the steps it is taking to ensure populations in Iraq are not marginalized in elections, and that they have fair participation and representation in the Iraqi government.”