In the aftermath of the
Gulf War in 1991, a large collection of Iraqi security documents
came into the possession of the United States government.
These documents had been captured by forces in northern Iraq
as they took possession of Arbil, Dohok/Nohadra, and Sulaymania
from Saddam Hussein's regime. These documents number some
2.4 million. They lay scattered throughout the security buildings
in these towns and had clearly been hastily searched by the
departing security personnel and some items had been removed.
Some of the documents probably also were destroyed in the
process of the fighting. The mainly Kurdish partisans who
captured the documents also went through them. The rest came
into the possession of the US government. Eventually they
were sorted, boxed according to rough categories, and most,
but not all, were copied onto CD-Rom.
The documents date from 1968 but are strongest for the 1980s.
The materials are in Arabic, and require not simply a translation,
but an understanding of internal Iraqi politics and the use
of specialized terminology. Due to the intricacies of Iraq's
manipulation of its minorities in order to promote the ascendancy
of Saddam Hussein, the Baathist agenda, and Arabization of
the entire multi-ethnic population of Iraq, important materials
regarding ethnic minorities have come to light. The Iraq Research
and Documentation Project (part of the Iraq Foundation www.Iraqfoundation.org)
received a grant for a multi-year study of the documents.
The IRDP categorizes and selectively translates the material.
may be viewed at (http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~irdp.
The Assyrian community
is indebted to the IRDP for making the Assyrian related documents
available to us for study and translation. We are particularly
grateful to Dr. Katrin Michael, part of the team of the IRDP/NIDS
(Northern Iraq Documents....) for facilitating acquisition
of copies of the documents.
The significance of the documents unfolds as more and more
of them are translated and partially annotated. These translations
provide primary data on how the Baathist regime intimidated,
infiltrated and manipulated Assyrians in order to render them
politically docile and ethnically voiceless. In light of the
fact that Baghdad eliminated the census category Assyrian
in 1977, it is noteworthy that these documents demonstrate
how intent the security apparatus was with controlling the
unrecognized ethnic group through rumors and terror.
USE OF THESE DOCUMENTS
The Arabic documents have no copyright
restrictions. The English translations are copyrighted by
the Assyrian Academic Society. Permission for use is available
by contacting us.