Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Reforging a Forgotten HistoryIraq and the Assyrians in the 20th Century$

Sargon Donabed

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748686025

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748686025.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Iraq

Iraq

Building a ‘Nation’-State

Chapter:
(p.93) 3 Iraq
Source:
Reforging a Forgotten History
Author(s):

Sargon George Donabed

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748686025.003.0003

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 3 addresses in detail the Simele massacres by weaving together three distinct stories of the events: British, Iraqi and Assyrian. Thus it is built on British archival material from 1933; Iraqi apologias from archival sources; the writings of Khaldun Husry, son of Arab nationalist Sati#x2018; al-Husri; Assyrian eyewitness reports from oral sources; and material from the League of Nations archive. Furthermore, the American documents from the period were also inspected for perhaps a fourth narrative of events. This chapter exposes and explores reactions to Simele by Assyrians, Iraqis and the British and American governments. It frames Simele as the critical event that defined the emergent Iraqi nation-state. The chapter proceeds to briey contextualize the Assyrian influence on other ideologies and mainstream politics.

Keywords:   Simele Massacre, Genocide, Gendercide, Nation-building, State-building

We preferred our own way of living. We were no expense to the government. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone.

Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota, 1877

Between 1914 and 1933 the Middle East transformed rapidly. Nationalism became a new cash crop, a commodity more profitable than oil. Where this created new possibilities and prospects in the region, it also gave birth to tales of broken promises and future despondency. Forced from semi-autonomy into the First World War, the Assyrians watched as their patriarch Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI was murdered by Agha Simko Ismail in 1918 under a flag of parley, only to find themselves alongside the very same Kurds, completely homeless following the war. Soon after the Assyrians in Iraq became detached from their brethren, divided via borders of newly conceived states by the very powers they had endeavoured to aid in the Great War. But it was the events of the late 1920s and early 1930s that would in many ways cement the community’s socio-economic, ethno-cultural and religious trajectory to the present. According to Yusuf Malek, (then working for the secretary to the administration inspector in Mosul), as early as 1929 circulars from the Iraqi ministries were disseminated throughout the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq, pressing for a massacre of the Assyrians.1 As the attempt initially gained little support, officials began to play on religious animosities and a more assertive call for a general massacre of Christians was announced. This call appealed to fundamentalist religious convictions, bridging the gap between Kurd and Arab.2 In this instance, it was the British forces in the streets of Mosul that prevented an immediate massacre.

(p.94) During the late 1920s, Assyrians had been targeted by central-government manoeuvrings. Seventy-six individuals were marked for political assassination during this time.3 In 1930, five Assyrians were found murdered near Rawanduz, and more near Mosul, with no criminal investigation into the killings.4 The machinations of Baghdad were obvious in its attempts to pit the Kurds and Assyrians against each other, while at the same time uniting Iraqis in their hatred of ‘outsiders’ and ‘tools’ of Western occupation. During the same year, relations between Britain and Iraq became closer still with the new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. The treaty, not very dissimilar to the original of 1922 paid particular attention to continued relations between the two countries following significant oil discoveries in 1927. In light of these discoveries, the stability of the Iraqi regime became of paramount importance. They were prepared to admit the Iraqi state into the League of Nations provided Iraq signed a treaty of alliance safeguarding Britain’s oil rights.

The Patriarch and Temporal Authority

By 1931 the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations approved Iraq’s admission as an independent sovereign state into the League of Nations, with the recommendation that it guarantee certain rights to its minorities.5 In light of this news, Assyrians under the leadership of Mar Eshai Shimun, cognisant of the imminent termination of the mandate, held a general conference in Mosul pressing their case at the upcoming Geneva meeting. During his visit with the mountaineers in Mosul in 1931, Sir Francis Humphrys, UK high commissioner to Iraq, promised his full support at Geneva only to verbally assail Mar Eshai Shimun and his leadership at the meeting.6 In general, British officers thought very little of Humphrys and believed he was ill prepared for the task of leadership. Captain Gerald de Gaurey was among those colonial officials who believed that Humphrys had little skill, was quite egotistical, driven by ambition, and only held his position through his friendship with King George V.7

Roger Cumberland, an American missionary, noticed a shift in the Assyrian political stance on the return of Captain Anthony Hormuzd Rassam, (grandson of the vice consul of the British in Mosul and the first Middle Eastern archaeologist, Hormud Rassam), and Captain Matthew Cope from England in 1929.8 The major concern of the Iraqi government (p.95) seemed to be the ambitions of Mar Shimun to retain his temporal authority over the mountaineers. Prior to 1930 there seemed little evidence that the patriarchal family which included Mar Shimun’s aunt Surma, would become inflexible in their political ambitions. Rassam and Cope brought with them some secret political intelligence which they utilised to stir Assyrian desires towards independence and autonomy.9 Cumberland reported that in a speech about Easter in 1931, the Lady Surma allegedly proclaimed, ‘We will be kings or we will be killed.’10 Despite the obvious disagreement over patriarchal family’s temporal authority it is pertinent to recall British/Iraqi usage of the power wielded by that family to their own advantage. In the early 1920s, while chaos and a general uncertainty gripped the Assyrian population, the British continued their recruitment of young men en masse to the Iraq levy battalions through such means:

I found that the present system of recruiting through the Patriarchal family, Maliks, and villages is extremely satisfactory. The influence of the Patriarchal family throughout all the districts appear[s] to be enormous. At each village the inhabitants crowded round David de Mar Shimun, the Patriarch’s father, to kiss his hand while men and women would leave their work in the fields on hearing that he was going by and rush up to do the same.11

Thus it should not have been a shock to find the patriarchal family both wielding temporal authority and desiring some sense of its continuation. While Humphrys harboured ill feelings toward Mar Eshai Shimun, he did present some of the petitions to the League of Nations as provided to him by the Assyrians. One petition was sent by Captain Rassam and included the concerns of the Yezidi and Jewish communities. Another asked for special consideration to migrate to French-controlled Syria, or out of the Middle East.

Letter to the Mandates Commission

By The Mar Shimun et al

Mosul, October 23rd, 1931

To: His Excellency

The Chairman, Mandates Commission

League of Nations, Geneva

(p.96) Reference the attached document. I beg to convey to Your Excellency the following:

The Assyrian Nation which is temporarily living in Iraq, having placed before their eyes the dark future, and the miserable conditions which are undoubtedly awaiting them in Iraq, after the lifting of the mandate, have unanimously held a Conference with me in Mosul on the 20th October 1931. At this Conference were present the temporal and spiritual leaders of the Assyrian Nation in its entirety as it will be observed from the document quoted above bearing the leaders’ signatures. The future conditions were fully discussed and these center around two points. (Can we or can we Not live in Iraq?) At the conclusion of lengthy deliberations, it was unanimously decided by all those present that it is quite impossible for us to live in Iraq. The leaders’ Will was entrusted with me vide the document signed by them to explore all means that I deem possible to find a way for the emigration of the Assyrians from Iraq. Under the circumstances, I, together with the under mentioned signatories being the responsible leaders of the Assyrian Nation submit before Your Commission our Nation’s humble request, which in past centuries numbered millions but reduced to a very small number due to repeated persecutions and massacres that faced us, we have been able to preserve our Language and Faith up to the present time. The Not distant past relating to the conditions of Our Nation has been fully made known to you by the medium of the official workers for our Nation. This being so, it is unnecessary for us to enlarge upon each item, BUT WE ARE POSITIVELY SURE THAT IF WE REMAIN IN IRAQ, we shall be exterminated in the course of few years.

WE THEREFORE IMPLORE YOUR MERCY TO TAKE CARE OF US, and arrange our emigration to one of the countries under the rule of one of the Western Nations whom you may deem fit. And should this be impossible, we beg you to request the French Government to accept us in Syria and give us shelter under her responsibility for we can no longer live in iraq and we shall leave.

Sd. Eshai Shimun

By the Grace of God,

Catholics Patriarch of the East

(p.97) Other Signatories:

(Mar) Yosep Khnanishu, Metropolitan

(Mar) Zaya Sargis, by Grace Bishop

Khoshaba M. Yosep (Lower Tiyari)

Zaya M. Shamizdin

Malik Andrious, Jelu

Malik Marogil

Malik Khnanu, Tkhuma

Malik Khammo, Baz

Malik Ismael, Upper Tiyari

    Copy to:

    H.E. High Commissioner for Iraq

    H.E. Minister for Foreign Affairs, London12

While the letter included all the major signatures of the maliks and chiefs, even those who would by 1933 become part of the ‘anti-patriarchal faction’, Humphrys dismissed these requests. In his argumentation he suggested to the committee that the petitions held no authority (especially Rassam’s) despite being authorised by Mar Eshai Shimun.

At least three more petitions were sent by Assyrian groups to the League in 1931 and 1932. The requests and pleas to honour their promises fell on deaf ears, and the desire to continue to exploit Assyrian levy officers as guards for the airbases of Habbaniyya and Shu‘aiba with no further obligations paved the way for the atrocities that would occur two years later.13

The handover of Iraq was now imminent. In May 1932 Mar Eshai Shimun again called a meeting of the heads of all the Assyrian tribal factions in communion with the Church of the East.14 On 1 June the British were faced with the unthinkable: all Assyrian levy officers had signed a document voluntarily terminating their positions with effect from 1 July.15 This was a major blow to the British, who relied on the Assyrians for internal Iraqi missions and peacekeeping. Mar Shimun called a secondary meeting on 16 June. As a result of both of these meetings, he was elected as the Assyrians’ representative in any and all negotiations with secondary parties. The now fully sovereign Kingdom of Iraq was admitted to the League of Nations (p.98) unanimously on 3 October 1932, yet Britain retained many previous relations, especially those with the Iraqi Sunni elite and of course her treaty guaranteeing oil rights.16 Following the handover, in a final effort to bargain with the League, Mar Eshai Shimun left for the Geneva conference in December 1932.

The final decision of the League of Nations conference was released on 15 December 1932. The release made evident the failure of Assyrian aspirations as brought forth by Mar Eshai Shimun. The Patriarch left Geneva on 19 December and by the start of 1933 he had arrived in Damascus. There he met with writer Yusuf Malek, informing him of what had transpired at the convention.17 It appeared that the Assyrian refugees of Hakkâri had little hope of seeing promises fulfilled. Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Mar Shimun was requested to report immediately to the police barracks as the Iraqis wished to be assured of his obedience. On 5 January Mar Shimun was invited to dinner at Sir Francis Humphrys’s house, where he was pleaded with to restrain the Assyrian levies from any reaction and to promise their continued obedience to the British and the state. Seeing no other acceptable options, Mar Eshai, exhausted and defeated, made his way back to Mosul and called a final meeting on 16 January. Here he publicly explained the outcome of the Geneva meeting and its possible effect to every malik and rayis (headman) in attendance.

Discouraged by Britain’s failure to make due on its promises, in January 1933 Rab Tremma Yaqo, the son of the elderly Malik Ismael of Upper Tiyari, resigned from the Iraqi Levies. Yaqo had served with them for the three previous years at Diana, near Rawanduz, working with a New Zealand-born British civil engineer, Archibald Hamilton, to create a new motor road from Arbil through the gorge of Rawanduz into Iran.18 When Yaqo had resigned his levy commission both he and his father made their way to Simele, a large village about 14 kilometres west of Dohuk. While some of the Assyrians in Simele belonged to the tribe of Upper Tiyari, like Yaqo, the majority were originally from the Baz region of Hakkâri. The bulk of the settled families of Upper Tiyari occupied villages on the main road that stretched from Dohuk to ‘Amēdīyāh.

In a March 1933 letter to strategic ministries, King Faisal seemed aware of the lack of national unity in Iraq. He remarked that ‘an Iraqi (p.99) people does not yet exist’ and rather what made up the country was ‘throngs of human beings lacking any national consciousness or sense of unity … inclined toward anarchy and always prepared to rise up against any government whatsoever’.19 Amid a rising tension which became palpable and at times physically threatening as the year wore on, Faisal’s sentiments echoed in the halls of Iraq’s elite ministries and the ears of ex-Sharifian officers, who led the ‘Arab revolt’ during the Ottoman period. The Assyrians were or had become a disease in the eyes of many in the Arab nationalist party Hizb al-Ikha al-Watani, founded by Ali al-Gaylani, an Arab nationalist and future Prime Minister of Iraq.20 Whereas this generated complications, it also brought possible solutions for remedying the issue of Iraq’s national unity. Officials surmised that a fabricated enemy of alien origin, speaking a barbaric tongue and adhering to an antiquated religion they held in common with the foreign British, could stem Kurdish and Shia insurgent tendencies and turn their focus to an enemy common to all.21

Thus a situation was fostered where a clash with the Assyrians became inevitable. On 31 March, Yaqo Ismael met with Mekki Beg al-Sherbiti, qaimaqam of Dohuk, and spoke at length of the desires of the Assyrian community, especially in regard to possible emigration. According to Yaqo’s own memoirs, Mekki Beg responded positively, stating that those who wished to emigrate would be given leave to do so, while those who desired to integrate into Iraq would also be accommodated. From there Yaqo left to speak to the various villages of the new possibilities.22 Concurrently, during May and June 1933 the government campaigned to urge Iraqis to donate funds for military supplies that would be used to quell the Assyrian unrest. At approximately the same time, Major Arnold Wilson recommended the summoning of the Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun to Baghdad to be detained there. ‘All necessary steps should be taken to oblige the Patriarchal family to accept the Dashtazi region [for settlement].’23 On 22 May Mar Shimun indulged the request to meet with Hikmat Sulayman and a newly appointed settlement expert, Major Thompson, in Baghdad to discuss the Dashtazi settlement project. He addressed Assyrian autonomy with Hikmat Sulayman in May and early June. Following a breakdown of the talks, Baghdad decided it would be necessary to retain the cleric in custody, infuriating the Assyrian (p.100) population worldwide as they feared a repeat of the assassination of Mar Benyamin Shimun.

Major Thompson, however, went directly to the Mosul region. There he spoke with forty Assyrians concerning the settlement. Thirty-six of them informed him that they agreed with the position of Mar Eshai Shimun. ‘The remaining four said they would agree to whatever settlement the government proposed.’24 At the time, Thompson recorded more than 400 families distributed over thirty-one villages between the Barwari Bala and Nerwa/Rekan regions who were under patriarchal authority, with a population of almost 3,000. Added to that were more than 3,500 families formerly of Hakkâri, around 24,500 people, giving a total of more than 27,500 Assyrians in Iraq under Mar Shimun’s authority.25

Yaqo Ismael and others had felt betrayed by the British for whom they worked even prior to the beginning of the mandate. It was said the Assyrians were the only people in the new Iraq that had not rebelled or taken up arms against the authorities. Yet despite this and following numerous failed meetings, the detention of Mar Eshai Shimun in Baghdad, a campaign of slander and bribery, and no end to the settlement talks, Yaqo and Malik Loko of the Tkhuma tribe began a tour of the ‘Amēdīyāh and Sapna regions to persuade Assyrians to not accept Iraqi nationality and any new settlement arrangement as it was unrealistic for the amount of people who needed residences. While the British, especially Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Sempill Stafford, administrative inspector for Mosul, felt this was antagonistic as well as a monumental error in judgement, Yaqo had earlier, when under the supervision of Archibald Hamilton building the new ‘Hamilton Road’, been notified point blank by a British officer, Captain Baker, of the major plan of settlement which would effectively disarm the mountaineer Assyrians, disband them and move them to regions in Iraq south of the river Zab. He then relayed this message to his ageing and ailing father, Malik Ismael, as Hamilton relates:

Yacu spoke a few sentences to the old man, who had sat during our conversation still as some sculptured figure hewn from rock. He looked round upon us as Yacu ceased speaking and gave his reply in a voice that betrayed emotion. A grim, formidable warrior in his time, this head of the Fighting (p.101) Tiyaris, as they proudly called themselves. Even now as he spoke to his son he was calm and dignified, but no longer was there any hope to give life to his lined face.26

Yet the Iraqi government’s response was an increase in military force.

I must admit that it was with very considerable misgivings that, when consulted by Baghdad, I agreed to the employment of the Army. The Army officers were known to hate the Assyrians and in particular Bekir Sidqi, who was in command in the north, had openly stated what he would do to them if the opportunity occurred. The transfer of this officer had again and again been recommended by the British advisory officials, and, indeed, King Feisal in May promised that it would be immediately carried out. But he nevertheless remained at Mosul, with what tragic results …27

The Assyrians feared there was little chance for them in the new Iraq, and the failure of Mar Eshai Shimun at the League of Nations solidified that truth for Yaqo. Iraqi deputies made speeches in parliament on 29 June 1933, inciting hatred toward the Assyrians, which were disseminated and published in al-Istiqlal newspaper among others.28 For the Assyrians, the future appeared bleak. Eventually, Yaqo, not desiring a conflict, returned from the mountains in late June or early July at the behest of Colonel Stafford, who had promised that any grievances would be discussed at Mosul.29 There was no end to the anti-Assyrian fervour, for ‘between July 1, and July 14, over eighty leading articles were written in the Iraqi press by all classes of the population, all demanding the final extermination of the Assyrians’.30

Factions

Mosul native Mekki Beg al-Sherbiti, qaimaqam of Dohuk, was a staunch Iraqi nationalist. Al-Sherbiti believed Mar Shimun, Yaqo and the Assyrians as a whole to be a major threat to the country. He had been instrumental in the defection of a number of Assyrian leaders.31 Malik Yosip Khoshaba of Lower Tiyari was perhaps the greatest feather in the cap for the Iraqi regime. Khoshaba, a hero of the First World War, through lofty promises and bribery according to some and rational practicality according to others was cajoled into becoming a voice (p.102) against autonomy. Mar Eshai Shimun, Yusuf Malek and others believed that Khoshaba was assured of being made sheikh of all Assyrians and his children were to be granted official titles in the military and government.32 Indeed there seemed to be a mutual dislike between Khoshaba and Mar Eshai Shimun, which most probably stemmed from ecclesiastical divergences that came to the forefront in the First World War as Khoshaba became strongly aligned with the American Protestants and one of their ‘mountain preachers’ while Mar Shimun’s leanings oriented towards the Church of England.33 The Iraqi government furthered division and animosity between the Assyrian leaders by appointing Khoshaba president of the Assyrian Advisory Committee while the patriarch was detained in Baghdad.34 Along with Khoshaba, Mar Zaya Sargis, Bishop of Jilu, was similarly influenced into a pro-government position with promises of houses, an unsettled land claim to be settled satisfactorily, and favourable positions in the government for family members.35 Others would join this faction and thus the divide grew.

Two major groups emerged among the Assyrians that would eventually be apportioned simply as the patriarchal faction and the non-patriarchal faction. In fact, Iraqi and British officials utilised the terms to undermine the solidarity of the Assyrian tribes. The Iraqi Minister of the Interior called a meeting of the Assyrian leadership for 10–11 July, to be held in Mosul in the office of the acting mutasarrif, Khalil Azmi, along with Colonel Stafford and Major Thompson. There, the growing divide became terribly clear, and with Mar Eshai Shimun under house arrest at the YMCA in Baghdad, the rift would widen further.36

At the time, Yusuf Malek and others suspected that government officials would use the meeting to increase tensions with the hope that the Assyrians would in effect neutralise themselves:

The meetings were arranged by the Government with the ulterior purpose of causing friction among the Assyrians by employing paid servants to cause quarrels at the meetings and to create disrespect for the leaders. This group was given the privilege of arming with daggers and revolvers and was spurred on by the officials to use abusive language to antagonize the leaders; but the latter, being apprised by experience dealt with the situation calmly and wisely. Thus the trouble at which the Government aimed was averted.37

(p.103)

Table 5 Pro- and anti-patriarchal tribal factions

Patriarchal faction

Mar Yosip Khnanisho, Metropolitan

Yaqo d’Malik Ismael, Upper Tiyari

Malik Loko Shlimon, Tkhuma

Qasha Gewargis, Tkhuma

Malik Andrewos, Jilu

Malik Hurmizd Younan, Mar Zaya

Shamasha Kanno?, Jilu

Malik Dawid, Tkhuma

Zadoq Nwiya, Ashitha, Lower Tiyari

Sayfo Keena, Bnay l’Gippa, Lower Tiyari

Rayis Booko, Ashitha, Lower Tiyari

Shamasha Yosip Eliya, Walto(b), Upper Tiyari

Rayis Odisho Khbash, Rumtha

Malik Qambar, Jilu

Rayis Yawp Sawkho, Chamba, Upper Tiyari

Rayis Younan, Halmon

Rayis Warda Oshana of Rarwa, Upper Tiyari

Shlimun Zomaya, Gundiktha, Tkhuma

Kuma Mkhamodo?, Baz

Hurmizd Talia, Baz

Telow Dawid, Baz

Non-patriarchal faction38

Mar Zaya Sargis, Bishop of Jilu

Malik Khoshaba Yosip, Lower Tiyari

Zaya d’Shamisdin, Lower Tiyari

Malik Khammo, Baz

Chikko Giwo of the house of Dadosh, Upper Tiyari

Odisho Dadesho, Walto, Upper Tiyari

Khayo(b) Odisho, Ashitha, Lower Tiyari

Gabriel Shimun, Baz

Shimun Barkhisho, Bnay Maya (Mata), Jilu

Odisho Qambar Lawando, Bnay l’Gippa, Lower Tiyari

Malik Loko, present at the meeting, agreed with Malek:

The declared reason for the meeting was to get the two Assyrian parties reconciled with one another and to provide an opportunity … to explain to the Assyrians the Government’s settlement policy … But the (p.104) real reason for the meeting was … to set a trap to create conflict between the Assyrian leaders.39

Loko’s sentiments of the event echoed Malek’s, and it became obvious that the Assyrians would have to speak to the government officials separately. Four of the patriarchal faction remained. Though the Assyrians narrowly averted disaster at the meeting, the situation was anything but pacified. The settlement policy in the Dashtazi region was unacceptable to the Assyrians (especially those not influenced by government enticement), and yet it was their only recourse. Those who abstained from the agreement to settle 15,000 persons in a region suited only for 200 families were told to leave the country at any time.40 Two of the four patriarchal faction members, Malik Andrewos of Jilu and Mar Yosip Khnanisho, were given leave to exit as they felt they had little to offer. Only Yaqo Ismael and Loko Shlimon remained and when confronted with the ultimatum of going to Baghdad and convincing Mar Shimun to sign or leave, both refused. They feared detainment in Baghdad and had heard on good authority that this was the ultimate subtlety of the British–Iraqi regime. The qaimaqam of ‘Amēdīyāh, Majid Baik, responded in repugnance to the British officers and acting mutasarrif. According to Loko he retorted:

Your policy is weak and with this policy you will bring ruin to Iraq … Give us the order and we will carry the stick. Any Assyrian who does not listen, we will break his head, tie his hands and send him to the south of Iraq until he dies there … We are Kurds, and we and the Assyrians know each other well.41

In no uncertain terms, Loko and Yaqo were told to relocate to the capital, and while both knew that they must acquiesce, they had no intention of moving to Baghdad. In response to the situation, on the night of 14–15 July an armed group of Assyrians under the leadership of Yaqo and Loko of Tkhuma and four others left Mosul for Bosriya and then the village of ‘Ain Diwar, on the border with Syria, which they reached on the 18th. They surrendered their arms to the French authorities and entered Syria, requesting settlement rights in the Khabur basin.42 There, the French professed no understanding of the Assyrian issue.43 Worried that their people in Iraq would follow, the leaders (p.105) sent an immediate letter urging them to remain where they were. The letter was either misunderstood or disregarded as on 20 July, approximately a thousand men, all armed, having left their families in Iraq arrived in Feshkhābur.44 Iraqi officials learned of the crossing only when the Assyrians sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior and former member of the Committee of Union and Progress (Young Turks), Hikmat Sulayman, which read as follows:45

July 23, 1933

Near Khanik

Minister of Interior, Baghdad

Excellency,

As a result of the Mosul meeting, the Iraqi Government policy was explained to us both regarding the settlement and the Patriarch.

The Mutasarrif openly said ‘those unsatisfied with this policy are free to emigrate from Iraq’. Accordingly we have come to the frontier and we request the Iraqi Government not to block the road to those who want to join us.

We have no intention to fight unless forced.

Signed

Yaqo d’Malik Ismael (Upper Tiyari)

Malik Baito (Tkhuma)

Malik Loko Shlimun (Tkhuma)

Malik Warda (Diz)

Rayis Esha (Nochiyya)

Rayis Ishaq (Nochiyya)

Malik Maroguil (Sara)

Tooma d’Makhura (Baz)

Yushia Esho (Drinayi)

Malik Salim (Barwar)

Shamasha Ismail (Liwan)

Rayis Mikhail (Sara)

Esho d’Kelaita (Timar d’Wan)

(p.106) The battle at Feshkhābur and Dayrabūn and the Iraqi government reaction

The regime feared the ‘general atmosphere of government defiance was unsettling the Kurds’ and even the Shias to the south.46 Yet the Assyrians continued with attempts at moving across the border. On 25 and 26 July 190 men attempted to cross the border. Some were disarmed and arrested and others disarmed and let go, while a large portion made it across successfully with no incident on either side.47 Over the course of 30 and 31 July the Assyrians became aware that they would be allowed settlement on the condition of disarmament. Most agreed, though some remained in Iraq, awaiting their families before proceeding. In Syria, French authorities reneged on their earlier promise and turned the Assyrians back due to a League decree concerning the illegality of the effort, with promises that they would be allowed to re-enter Iraq without incident.48 Iraqi forces determined either to disarm or eliminate them began firing with machine guns on those who had crossed to the east side of the Tigris as well as those who remained on the west bank in Syria. Five thousand Iraqi soldiers and police including support aircraft were brought to bear against fewer than 800 Assyrians during the confrontation.49 At the end of the skirmish by the count of Malik Loko Shlimon, thirteen Assyrians were dead and eleven wounded among dozens of Iraqi army casualties.50

Iraqi army battalions combed the area around Jebel Bekhair in the Zakho region between 5 and 9 August looking for Assyrians who had returned from Syria.51 On 6 August some 392 Assyrians were reported to have gone back into Syria, where they were permanently detained and moved to the interior of the country, and on the evening of the 7th, French authorities gave leave for 1,500 people to be settled in the Syrian region.52 While the Iraqis cried outrage at the French for allowing armed Assyrians to return to Iraq, the French response was simple: the British authorities in Iraq had granted the rifles to them and there was no evidence of any unlawful action taken with said arms.53

When news of the debacle at Feshkhābur and Dayrabūn reached Baghdad, fear was replaced by rage. Animosity against Assyrians throughout the country became an active physical threat:

Even in the highest circles there was talk of the ‘rid me of this turbulent priest’ order. ‘Let all the Assyrian men be killed,’ they cried, ‘but spare the (p.107) women and children as the eyes of the world are on us. Let the Arabs and Kurds be raised against the Assyrians. Let trouble be stirred up in Syria against the treacherous French.’54

Thus began a propaganda campaign. In August more than 230 anti-Assyrian articles were published.55 The Ministry of Education solicited funds from students and teachers to purchase a tank, while their Arab nationalist neighbours in Syria proposed to send funds for a plane or tank to be used in the anti-Assyrian operations and to be named Southern Syria.56 The propaganda machine reported that armed Assyrians returning from Syria had mutilated the bodies of Iraqi soldiers, despite other reports that the French had disarmed the Assyrians.57 An investigation was launched and according to British reports, the army’s political officer was interviewed:

The political officer with the Army, who is present at Mosul, now gives the account that the Assyrians burnt all the piquet equipment and that he himself would go no further than to say the bodies were burnt inadvertently in the burning of the tent etc. As to the beheading, all he knows for a fact is that the unarmed(?) driver of the lorry had his throat cut.58

The reports indicated that the Iraqi political officer saw no evidence of methodical injury. Yet it is evident from the final line that regardless of the inquiry and evidence which would lessen the growing anti-Assyrian zealotry, despite the Army official’s account, ‘the story which is believed’ and propagated became fact. True to his observation, the misinformation about Assyrians mutilating bodies gave rise to a call by the Ikha al-Watani (National Brotherhood) party in Mosul to eliminate all ‘foreign elements’ from Iraq, and it seemed Faisal had the intention to teach the Assyrians a lesson.59

On 7 August, three days after the fighting began, Air Vice Marshal C. S. Burnett, the British air officer commanding in Iraq, responded to an Iraqi request for assistance by providing 100 bombs for use in military operations against Assyrians.60 While Burnett may have been initially reluctant, Article 5 of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 dictated that ‘His Britannic Majesty must grant whenever possible ammunition arms equipment etc. for the forces of His Majesty the King of Iraq’.61 He may have found numerous ways to (p.108) circumvent the matter, but he conceded fairly quickly that it remained the only action to be taken. His sentiments were echoed by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald not long after.62

It is unclear why the Iraqi army moved to surround Simele as most of the men who had left for Syria were either hiding in the mountains, dead or actually in Syria, while Simele housed predominantly women and children as well as men who had not participated in the battles on the border and in fact had sided with the non-patriarchal faction led by Malik Khoshaba. By 8 August, army personnel from Zakho entered Simele and collected all the ammunition belonging to Assyrians in the village.63 On the following day the weaponless men sought refuge in the local police headquarters, where they waited for the qaimaqam of Dohuk. Upon arrival the qaimaqam collected all the weapons and ammunition of the local Assyrians and sent it to Dohuk. Soon after he sent for a local priest, Qasha Sada, Badal of Kharab Kulki and Rayis Talo of Baz, who were rounded up with eleven other men and sent by armoured car to Dohuk, meeting their end in the vicinity of the village of Aloka, where they were shot.64 Eyewitnesses reported of Sada that ‘his male organ having been cut was placed in his mouth, his head had been severed from his body’.65 This occurred consistently over the next few days: Assyrians were rounded up and shot in the road.

On the same day the Iraqi air force bombed the village of Ziwa and killed a woman, under the false pretence that Assyrians had been in the village. After further investigation, local residents stated that no Assyrians had been in the vicinity. The immediate British response to the growing fear and destruction was indifference: ‘Four squadrons of British Air Force, whose intervention has been confined, of recent months, to dropping leaflets on Assyrians telling them to surrender. [The Assyrians] did so and were massacred a day or two later in cold blood.’66 On the 10th the round-up continued and Assyrians were taken again from the village and shot on the road. The army was in Simele, the last known residence of Yaqo Ismael, the leader of the troublesome element. While his wife was in residence, the vast majority of the Assyrians in Simele were in fact of the Baz tribe, and evidently not a party to the plans of the patriarchal faction led by Yaqo.67

The tide of hate arose across the country. Between 9 and 14 August Arab (p.109) employees of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) in Baiji, a refinery town more than 120 miles north of Baghdad on the way to Mosul, attacked local Assyrian workers in a fit of mob zealotry. As night fell on the infamous day of 11 August, Assyrians were attacked by what appeared to be both local tribesmen and IPC workers, who wounded fourteen and killed one. A few days later the IPC’s Arab employees went on strike until the majority of Assyrian workers were let go.68

The Massacre at Simele

During those weeks preceding the massacre, Assyrians from south of Simele had begun moving into the village since suffering continuous raiding from nearby tribes. On Friday 11 August two lorry-loads of police from Dohuk visited Simele armed with machine guns.69 On the same morning, following the entrance of the police, between 300 and 500 Assyrians came into the village. When they arrived they were asked to surrender their arms to the Iraqi military, who ‘then proceeded to massacre them with machine gun and rifle fire. Aside from one wounded man, there were no survivors’; all the adult males in the village that day were killed.70

A cold-blooded and methodical massacre of all the men in the village then followed, a massacre for which in the black treachery in which it was conceived and the callousness with which it was carried out, was as foul a crime as any in the blood-stained annals of the Middle East. The Assyrians had no fight left in them partly because of the state of mind to which the events of the past week had reduced them, largely because they were disarmed. Had they been armed it seems certain that Ismail Abawi Tohalla and his bravos would have hesitated to take them on in a fair fight. Having disarmed them, they proceeded with the massacre according to plan. This took some time. Not that there was any hurry, for the troops had the whole day ahead of them. Their opponents were helpless and there was no chance of any interference from any quarter whatsoever. Machine gunners set up their guns outside the windows of the houses in which the Assyrians had taken refuge, and having trained them on the terror-stricken wretches in the crowded rooms, fired among them until not a man was left standing in the shambles. In some other instances the blood lust of the troops took a slightly more (p.110) active form, and men were dragged out and shot or bludgeoned to death and their bodies thrown on a pile of dead.71

This was not the only incident, and the killing, raping and pillaging did not cease for a full month. Eyewitnesses recounted the abhorrent barbarity of the slaughter that affected both men and women. Women had their bellies slashed and their wombs ripped out and placed upon their heads for amusement. Girls were taken into captivity by the army, and were never seen again.72 In one house, eighty-two men of the Baz tribe and their families who had surrendered were massacred. Even Goriel (Gabriel) Shimun of Baz, known to be friendly towards the Iraqi government, was shot while hoisting a white flag of parley.73 Some children survived through the quick thinking of the womenfolk:

My friends and I saw a plane fly into Simele and start firing on us. Assyrians gathered in houses. [Since the men were being slaughtered,] the women began making the young boys (including me) look like girls so they would not be killed. The third day after the killing began, they (some wearing Iraqi uniforms, some not) rounded up some Assyrians and said, ‘Either become Muslim or we will kill you.’74

Initially this spared the boys and young men who were being killed on site. Soon this tactic too would fail as reports began to surface that even nine-year-old girls were being raped and burnt alive.75 Most children were stabbed to death as they threw themselves over the naked and headless corpses of their mothers.

While the massacre had begun in Simele village, Assyrians were rounded up elsewhere, including the steps of the American mission house at Dohuk. On the same day, 11 August, two men of the Diz tribe were tied, handcuffed and escorted by five policemen towards a governmental building where they were shot in cold blood. A day later another Diz man, bleeding from a gunshot wound, was left by the local police to die by a stream 150 yards from the government building. The local priest, Qasha Shmiwal, was beaten, arrested and taken away by the qaimaqam and his men. He was later stripped, taken to a location out of sight and shot.76

According to reports, on 12 August eleven Assyrians were killed, (p.111) seventeen wounded and seventeen more captured by a patrol.77 On the 13th in the village of Badi more than forty Arab and Kurdish policemen took four men out of a house and shot them immediately. The elderly men were forced to walk to the nearby mosque and obliged to become Muslim. After the first refused and was killed, the remaining men silently accepted, whereupon they were instructed by the local mullah in the teachings of Islam and its expectations. This campaign against the men continued in Badi for five days and included the looting of households and finally the arrest and appropriation of most of the remaining young women to a nearby village; they were never heard from again.78 Any fleeing Assyrians were shot on sight. The military had incited Kurdish irregulars to attack Assyrian regions, and in Dohuk and Zakho, more than 100 peasants, including priests on three occasions, were taken out of their houses by the Iraqi army and ‘shot in batches’.79

Here and there in the mountains they came up with fugitive Assyrians. And every Assyrian they caught they shot out of hand. Clearly by now the Army had decided that the Assyrians, as far as possible, were to be exterminated. No pretence was made that these operations had any purely military objective, for the Army Intelligence officers did not even take the trouble to cross-question the captured Assyrians, who were simply shot as they were rounded up … it was evident by now that the Army Command was quite certain in its own mind that, in its decision to wipe out the Assyrians, it would … be backed not only by Arab public opinion, but by the Baghdad Government.80

In his account of the events, Gerald de Gaury, British military officer to Saudi Arabia, lamented:

Whoever fired the first shot in a brush on the Syrian frontier on the fourth of August, there could be no justification for the shooting down of Assyrians in villages far away … The people killed were entirely innocent. It was enough for them to be Assyrians to be shot.81

Beyond the death toll were many atrocities including women and children raped and abducted as booty, as well as hundreds of villages looted, razed and destroyed (see Table 6).82 (p.112)

Table 6 Villages destroyed, razed, looted and/or forcibly abandoned during the Simele massacres (Region is divided into governorate, district and sub-district – in some cases two of the three or all three are identical)95

Village

Population/tribe

Families/houses

Region

  1

Gere-Bahen

  2

Garmawa

Baz

Dohuk

  3

Iazkin

Dohuk

  4

Karrana

110 Baz

25 houses

Dohuk

  5

Khabartu (Kabartu, Kabirtu)

Baz

Dohuk

  6

Kola Hassan

Dohuk

  7

Kore-Gavana

Upper Tiyari

Dohuk

  8

Ruhaidi

Baz

Dohuk

  9

Shindokha

Dohuk

 10

Tutika

Dohuk

 11

Aṭush

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 12

Berbangi

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 13

Cham Ashaki

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 14

Deralok

130 Baz

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 15

Gund Kosa

150 Lower Tiyari

28 families (in 1938)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 16

Musalakia

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 17

Safra Zor

35

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 18

Sawura (Sawra)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh

 19

Challik (Chelok, Chalke, Chelki)

210 Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Barwari Bala

 20

Kani Balav (Kanya Balave, Kani Balaf)

110 Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Barwari Bala

 21

Pirozan (Beluzan)

Tkhuma (200?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Barwari Bala

 22

Barzanke

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 23

Cham ‘Ashrat

Upper Tiyari (70?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 24

Dohoke (Dahoki)

Tkhuma

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 25

Masiki (Musa Laka)

Baz (55?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 26

Qadish (Akdish)

(150?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 27

Sikrīne

Tkhuma (65?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 28

Suse (Cham Sus)

Lower Tiyari 200

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 29

Tahlawa

Lower Tiyari (75?)

Dohuk ‘Amēdīyāh Sarsang

 30

Bazhora

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Aqra Girdasin

 31

Jalan-Arabok

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Aqra Girdasin

 32

Khalikan

Lower Tiyari

12 families (in 1938)

Dohuk ‘Aqra Girdasin

 33

Guske

Upper Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Aqra Nahla

 34

Kashkawa

134

35 families (in 1938)

Dohuk ‘Aqra Nahla

 35

Kortka (Kurtkan)

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Aqra Nahla

 36

Shirti (Sherita)

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk ‘Aqra Nahla

 37

Ala Kina

Dohuk Doski

 38

Alqoshta (Alkishke)

Baz

Dohuk Doski

 39

Cham Kare

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Doski

 40

Derke

Dohuk Doski

 41

Gundikta (Gundik Nabi)

Dohuk Doski

 42

Gund-Naze

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Doski

 43

Kavla-Sin (Kola-Sine, Kafla Sin, Kavla Hasan)

Upper Tiyari 80

Dohuk Doski

 44

Korbel (Kar Bile, Karbil)

Dohuk Doski

 45

Majal Makhte

Upper Tiyari (190?)

Dohuk Doski

 46

Nawdara (Navdara)

Dohuk Doski

 47

Aloka (upper)

Upper Tiyari (30?)

Dohuk Sheikhan Atrush

 48

Badrdin (Badr al-Din)

Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Sheikhan Atrush

 49

Bestawa (Bastava)

Dohuk Sheikhan Atrush

 50

Nourdinawa (Nurdinawa)

Dohuk Sheikhan Atrush

 51

Badariyah

100 Tkhuma

Dohuk Sheikhan Qasrok

 52

Bajilla

Tkhuma

Dohuk Sheikhan Qasrok

 53

Kifre

Tkhuma

Dohuk Sheikhan Qasrok

 54

Malla- Birwan (Mulla Barwan)

35 Jilu

Dohuk Sheikhan Qasrok

 55

‘Ain Dulbe (Dulip, Deleb, Idlib)

Dohuk Simele

 56

Badaliya

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 57

Bakhitme

Dohuk Simele

 58

Be Torshi (Batirshi, Batarshah)

Tkhuma/Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 59

Cham Jihane (Jajamani)

Tkhuma/Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 60

Cham-Gaur/Gawir

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 61

Dari

Dohuk Simele

 62

Gera-Gora (Gre-Gure)

Dohuk Simele

 63

Giril (Karpil, Garfil)

Tkhuma/Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 64

Gutba (Qutba)

Dohuk Simele

 65

Hajisni

Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 66

Hejerke (Hizeerke)

Baz (85?)

Dohuk Simele

 67

Kharab Kulke

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 68

Kolabni (Kulabne)

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 69

Kwashe (Kowashe)

Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 70

Lazga (Lazaka, Lazkin)

Dohuk Simele

 71

Mansuriya (Misurik)

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 72

Marona

Dohuk Simele

 73

Mavan (Mawana)

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 74

Muqble

Dohuk Simele

 75

Qasr Yazdin

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 76

Sayyid Zahir (Sezari)

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 77

Ser Shari (Sar Shur)

Tkhuma/Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 78

Simele

Baz

Dohuk Simele

 79

Tel Zayt (Tal Zer)

Tkhuma/Upper Tiyari

Dohuk Simele

 80

Der Jindi/Jundi

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 81

Dosteka (Dostka)

Tkhuma

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 82

Kani-Gulan

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 83

Karaiphan (Cariphan, Kraipahin)

Shamizdin

11 families (in 1938)

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 84

Khirsheniya

Marbishu/Jilu (15?)

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 85

Qala‘ d’Badri

Baz

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 86

Reqawa (Rekawa)

Jilu, some Baz/Marbishu

3 families (in 1938)

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 87

Salaḥiya

Tkhuma

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 88

Sheikhidra (Sheikh- Khidr)

Marbishu

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 89

Sina

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 90

Tel Hish (Tel Khish, Khishaf)

Tkhuma/Gawar/Mar-Bishu

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 91

Zeniyat

Baz

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 92

Zorawa

Dohuk Simele Fayda

 93

Bamir (Ba-Mere)

Bohtan

Dohuk Simele Slevani

 94

Basitke (lower)

Tkhuma

Dohuk Simele Slevani

 95

Basitke (upper)

Tkhuma

Dohuk Simele Slevani

 96

Kar-Sin (Gar-Shin)

Tkhuma

Dohuk Simele Slevani

 97

Spindarok

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Zakho Guli

 98

Babilo (Babalu)

Baz

18 families (in 1938)

Dohuk Zawita

 99

Badi (Bade)

Dohuk Zawita

100

Bagiri (Bakir) Lower

Baz/Upper Tiyari 150

Dohuk Zawita

101

Bagiri (Bakir) Upper

Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Zawita

102

Baroski (Baroshke)

Upper and Lower Tiyari

Dohuk Zawita

103

Biswaya (Be Sawa)

Marbishu

Dohuk Zawita

104

‘Ain Sifni

Baz

Ninawa Sheikhan

105

Basifni

Jilu

Ninawa Sheikhan

106

Naristik

Ninawa Sheikhan

107

Bativer (Be-Tafre, Ba-Tipre)

Upper Tiyari

Ninawa Sheikhan Atrush

108

Begahe (Begah)

Upper Tiyari

Ninawa Sheikhan Atrush

109

Benarink (Be-Naringe)

Upper Tiyari

Ninawa Sheikhan Atrush

110

Dizze

Ninawa Sheikhan Atrush

111

‘Ain Baqri

Jilu

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

112

‘Ain Helwa

100 Bohtan

27 families (in 1938)

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

113

Baqqaq

Baz

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

114

Dikan (Dahkan, Dakhan)

32

5 houses

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

115

Jarahiya

11 Jilu

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

116

Karanjawa (Karanjak)

35

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

117

Makana (Machna)

Jilu

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

118

Pirozawa (Porusawa, Birozawa)

65 Baz

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

119

Qasrune

38 Bohtan

7 families (in 1938)

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

120

Taftiya(n) (Totiyan)

120

Ninawa Tell-Kayf Alqosh

121

Nāṣerīyā

41 Jilu

18 families (only 2 remained in 1938)

Sheikhan

(p.113) (p.114) (p.115) (p.116)

(p.117) The narrative of Jatou

The extermination plan did not end with the civilians at Simele. The government and military desired to make an example of the Hakkâri tribesmen for their settled brethren sympathetic to their cause. After the initial exterminations took place, a call from Baghdad was made to Jatou of Dohuk, a police station chief in ‘Aqra.83 Directives from Baghdad ordered Jatou to round up three truck-loads of Assyrians and bring them to Simele, presumably for execution. Jatou, himself an Assyrian, struggled with the order for a sleepless night as he relived the deaths of his sister and mother, who had been killed in the massacres not twenty years earlier in the failing Ottoman empire and the creation of the Young Turk regime. But by daybreak, he had come to a decision and executed the preliminary part of his orders.

As the native Assyrians (here many were of Chaldean ecclesiastical background) observed from rooftops, the former Hakkâri Assyrians were loaded onto the trucks. As they drove off, sighs were expelled and fears voiced as onlookers lamented, ‘Shmutlokhun khasan’ (‘You have broken our strength [literally ‘back’]’).84 Jatou then drove his wards in the direction of Simele. At a major junction along the way he decided to turn off towards the town of Ma‘althaya and continue to the Jacobite monastery of Mar Mattai, situated in a remote mountain pass 100 kilometres south of Simele. There he unloaded and spoke to a resident monk, threatening to return without notice to check on the welfare of his wards. The fugitives remained in the monastery for three months, after which time they began to trickle back towards their homes following a lull in the persecution and discrimination that had begun in August 1933. Thus some were saved, but the damage had been done. The message of what could happen to any man, woman or child identified as Assyrian created dread in their more integrated or assimilated brethren.

Rhetoric from the regime

As King Faisal was abroad, his regent, Prince Ghazi, gave permission to the leader of the governmental forces, Colonel Baqr Sidqi, to eliminate any and all Assyrians.85 Sidqi, of Kurdish descent, was among many to utilise a growing tide of anti-Western, anti-Christian (Assyrian) rhetoric to further (p.118) his consolidation of power. Sidqi used the murders of these thousands of Assyrian ‘separatists’, as they became popularly termed by the national media, to catapult his career as a military hero.86 The government’s rejoinder to the massacres was abject denial:

The Iraq Government denies the massacre, claiming that it was punitive action against rebels. Obviously Government officials, the police and the army will not testify to it, and there seem to be no male survivors. Also intimidation would doubtless play a part in the prevention of testimony.87

When Faisal returned to comment on the issue, he stated, ‘It is a disgrace to talk about massacres. Not one woman was molested.’88 Eyewitness testimony, however, painted a very different picture:

After killing all the men, the soldiers stripped the dead, taking their things of value, and went after the women. The Arabs and the Kurds looted the village. The better-looking women were mishandled, stripped, and let go. The wife of Yako, the supposed leader of the Assyrians, who left for Syria, was repeatedly violated, stripped, and let go, and so were her two daughters.89

The Minister of the Interior, Hikmet Beg Suleiman, had left Baghdad to see the destruction with his own eyes. His reaction was recorded by Colonel R. S. Stafford:

I was sitting in my office on the morning of August 15th when Hikmet Beg returned. He came straight into my room in a state of collapse, for he had just come from Simmel, and even he, cynical Turk as he was, had been overcome by the horrors which he had seen. On the previous day I had received reports that there were large numbers of Assyrian women and children in Simmel living in a state of starvation, but not a word had been said in these reports about the massacre which was the cause of this destitution … When I visited Simmel myself with Major Thomson on August 17th few traces could be seen of what had occurred, but the sight of the women and children is one which I shall never forget – and I spent more than three years in the trenches in France!90

To add further injury, on 16 August the Iraqi government passed an emergency law for the deportation of the entire family of the Church of the (p.119)

IraqBuilding a ‘Nation’-State

Figure 9 Batarshah, approximately 15 miles northwest of Simele, reportedly attacked by Arab and Kurdish irregulars, 18 September 1933. The circular pits are traits of bombings (The Service of Air Vice-Marshal Gerard Combe in the Royal Air Force, 1923̵1946, HU 89458, Imperial War Museum)

(p.120)
IraqBuilding a ‘Nation’-State

Figure 10 Dakhan or Dikan village following desertion of at least five families.

Simele surveillance photo, AIR 2/883/002

(p.121)
IraqBuilding a ‘Nation’-State

Figure 11 Unnamed Assyrian village destroyed in 1933. Simele surveillance photo, AIR 2/883/010.

Many thanks to Fadi Dawood for his extensive research in unearthing these photographs

(p.122) East patriarch, including his father David and his brother Theodore. On the morning of 18 August, Mar Eshai Shimun along with his two relatives was carried by British aeroplane ‘to Cyprus via Palestine accompanied by two Assyrian officers, Rab Imma Malik Hormiz of Tkhuma and Rab Khamshi officer Yaku Eliya’.91 As for the mass destruction, there was a cursory official inquiry into the massacres, but no one was held responsible for the brutality reported. In stark contrast, in the wake of the crimes perpetrated against mostly unarmed civilians, Colonel Sidqi was promoted and received a victory parade upon his return to Baghdad.

The American minister resident/consul general in Iraq, Paul Knabenshue, reported in two dispatches at the end of August that parades for Iraqi troops in both Baghdad and Mosul were met by cheering men, women and children. Shops were closed and a holiday ensued amid palpable jubilation as the victorious troops were strewn with flowers and rosewater.92

One section of the victorious Iraq army returning from the front is now quartered at Mosul, and another section is arriving at Baghdad to-day. Mosul gave an enthusiastic welcome to its allotment. Triumphal arches were erected, decorated with watermelons shaped as [Assyrian] skulls into which daggers were thrust and with red streamers suspended, intended, it is assumed, to represent blood.93

Only one unfortunate incident marked the otherwise peaceful demonstration during the day. Most of the Baghdad Assyrian population, cognizant of the potential danger to themselves, remained quietly secluded in their houses. One recently discharged Assyrian Levies’ Officer, however, was on his way to the railway station to meet his wife and family when the crowd suddenly espied and maliciously murdered him.94

The aftermath

Not only the massacres but also the repercussions from them exponentially altered as a whole. In Iraq as in Geneva, the Assyrians, both patriarchal and non-patriarchal factions, felt the chill of betrayal. The British voiced their fear for the safety of the Assyrians only to stall the inquiry commissioner, a representative of the League of Nations, in his attempts to enter Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Simele.

(p.123) Since they had created this state of affairs, the British authorities were naturally disinclined to change it. Even after the end of the mandate, the embassy was more concerned to cover up for the Iraqi government than to deplore their sins of commission: after the Assyrian massacre in the summer of 1933, Sir Francis Humphrys recommended that Britain should do her utmost to forestall the dispatch of a League of Nations Commission of Enquiry.96

Perhaps a comment by William Yale sums up the colonial and Middle Eastern perceptions concerning the Assyrians and their harsh predicament: ‘These valiant and stubborn people had come to the end of their long tempestuous history, victims of hatreds engendered by the clash between Western imperialism and the rising nationalism of Near Eastern peoples.’97

International Recognition?

Though influential writers and researchers lamented the Assyrian predicament, some strove to remedy the situation directly. In the most renowned case, the Simele massacres (alongside those of the Ottoman Empire) were not only invoked but became viable paradigms that influenced a young Raphael Lemkin in the development of a framework concerning the legal concept of mass murder. In October 1933, Lemkin left for Madrid to present a paper on terrorism to the Association internationale de droit pénal (AIDP). He had been moved to action by the horrific massacres and violent destruction in the wake of the tragedy in and around Simele on 11 August 1933 and during the following weeks.98 Lemkin hoped that this event would garner sympathy for his proposals to the AIDP and League of Nations for outlawing crimes against humanity.99 Lemkin proposed to outlaw barbarity, ‘the extermination of ethnic, social, and religious groups by pogroms, massacres, or economic discrimination’, and vandalism, ‘the destruction of cultural or artistic works which embod[y] the genius of a specific people’.100 Regrettably, his proposal was never voted on and upon his return to Poland he fell under pressure from the Polish Foreign Minister for comments made in Madrid to resign from his position as a public prosecutor. It was evident that promoting minority rights and challenging the status quo was not well thought of, and while Lemkin’s professional life (p.124) suffered, he continued to be propelled by the events of the First World War and Simele, as well as the treatment of European Jewry in the following decades, leading to the proposal and ratification of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (UNGC) by the newly formed United Nations in 1948. Lamentably for the victims of Simele and the First World War, the UNGC was not applied to prior events, as it lacked retroactivity.

Road to the Republic

The events of Simele served as a blueprint for succeeding governments’ treatment of minorities, while catapulting the army into the centre of Iraqi politics. From 1933 until 1940, under the reign of Prince Ghazi, a series of military coups attempted to take control over the country until the crown prince’s death in 1939. Meanwhile the Assyrians who had fled Iraq to Syria on that auspicious day in August in 1933 were now living new lives along the river Khabur. They settled in sixteen villages (see Table 7), four of which – Tel Chama, Tel Umrane and Tel Ajaj (of the Tkhuma tribe) and Tel Asafir (Diz) – were subsequently divided into fourteen new villages to give a grand total of twenty-six.101

Back on the other side of the border, not two years after Ghazi’s death, on 1 April 1941, while Iraq was under the regency of Prince ‘Abdallah (ruling for the underage Faisal II), the anti-British Prime Minister, Rashid ‘Ali al-Gaylani, staged a successful coup. The new order under al-Gaylani was exceedingly Arab nationalist and at the least ideologically influenced if not supported by the fascist regime of Nazi Germany. In June 1941, after the Anglo-Iraqi War had ended, the Pan-Arab agenda under al-Gaylani’s leadership became frighteningly apparent when Yunis Sab‘awi, an associate of al-Gaylani’s government and a member of the far-right and pan-Arab al-Muthanna Club, led a mob attack on the Baghdad Jewish community (who like the Assyrians were painted as supporters of the West), an assault sometimes referred to as the farhud.102 The event, in blueprint rather than scope, exhibited uncanny and ‘disturbing parallels’ to Simele as yet another Iraqi community would suffer in the midst of political and security instabilities and arrogance.103 The man at the centre of much of the ideology was Colonel Salah al-Din al-Sabbagh, who unlike Colonel Baqr Sidqi and others who (p.125)

Table 7 Assyrian settlement along the Khabur, 31 August 1938

Village

Population

Tribe

Tel Tammar

1,542

Tiyari

Tel Umrane

1,077

Tkhuma

Tel Chama

1,054

Tkhuma

Tel Maghas

965

Sara

Tel Um Rafa

603

Tiyari

Tel Shamiran

574

Mar Bishu

Tel Nasri

501

Tiyari

Tel Jama

487

Halamon

Tel Tal’a

427

Sara

Tel/Wadi Massas

392

Barwar

Tel Asafir

361

Diz

Tel Hafyan

318

Quchanis

Tel Ajaj

146

Tkhuma

Tel Kaifji

141

Liwan

Tel Baz

137

Baz

Tel Um Kaif

113

Timar d’Van

Total

8,838

utilised such movements for political gain, candidly believed in the discourse of the Pan-Arab movement.104

Al-Gaylani sundered the Anglo-Iraqi Agreement of 1930 with the besieging of the RAF force at Habbaniya, about 90 kilometres west of Baghdad, on 30 April 1941. In response to the coup, the British once again acted to restore the monarchy. The Iraqi levies of the RAF at Habbaniya still contained forty Assyrian officers and hundreds of others of various ranks who helped defend their position at the camp against foot soldiers as well as aerial attacks by German warplanes, effectively dissipating any momentum Gaylani had formed. Sending in larger forces, specifically the Indian 20th infantry brigade through Basra and reinforcements from the Transjordan, the British eventually quelled the rebellion by pursuing the Iraqi army to Fallujah and finally to Baghdad. A week later the monarchy was reinstated.

In the following years, integration into Iraq became the new concern of most Assyrians no longer a part of the levies force. Most settled/urban Assyrians managed to integrate with relative ease into the new culturally Arab-dominated Iraq with the exception of those farther north in the Dohuk (p.126) and Zakho regions, where Arab influence was negligible.105 In the example of the Mosul region, most urban dwellers identified solely with their religious community. Indeed, Assyrian-Aramaic had been lost among the majority of city dwellers of the region (those of the outlying villages excluded), though the form of Arabic spoken in Mosul (as well as the Syrian Jezirah) retained a strong Aramaic and Akkadian influence.106 Undoubtedly, those tribes of the Hakkâri region lacked this assimilationist deportment and rather retained aspects of a fiercely sovereign tribal warrior culture, something akin to their Kurdish neighbours. Such an attitude and mindset would be the prime reason behind their initial and continued service in elite battalions in the Royal Air Force.

An added issue was a deliberate policy to contain any spread of (as well as Kurdish and Turkoman) nationalist sentiments and secondly, in the case of the Assyrians, the denial of nativeness. This became more apparent as the Iraqi monarchy attempted to consolidate control once again after the humiliation of the Gaylani coup, especially in the form of print capital as what was disseminated to the world about Iraq and its people. In an official governmental publication from 1946 entitled Kingdom of Iraq, Assyrians are mentioned briefly under the umbrella term ‘Christians’ and as Nestorians, ‘who have the purely political denomination “Assyrians”’ and were brought ‘back to Iraq’ in 1917 thanks to the ‘fortunes of war’.107

The Assyrians found themselves bereft of positions and titles in post-1941 Iraq. They counted neither among the ‘senior officials, magistrates, judges, army officers, or ministers’ nor among the deputies in parliament, while other communities benefited tremendously.108 Under these conditions, lacking both internal strength in numbers and political clout and external (foreign) support, the Assyrian cultural and national movement developed more slowly and with more difficulty than those of their Arab and Kurdish neighbours. This was especially true following the detrimental fragmentation of its religious communities, through foreign and domestic influence, and as a repercussion from the Simele massacre.

Consequently, early attempts at creating Assyrian cultural and political groups to aid in the establishment of Assyrian ethno-religious, cultural and political rights in Iraq were few. Some underground groups were established (p.127) during this period, the most renowned of which was Khubbā w-Khuyada Ātūrayā (Assyrian Love and Unity). A previous organisation with the same initials, Kheit Kheit Allap (XXH), was founded in 1942 as an underground organisation among RAF personnel (as Assyrian activities deemed nationalist were forbidden by both the RAF and the Iraqi government) by a carpenter, Mushe Khoshaba, in Habbaniya. Ousta Mushe, as he was commonly known, was born in Solduz, Persia in 1876 and fought with General Petros Elia in the First World War.109 As for Khubbā w-Khuyada Ātūrayā, its structure was highly systematised with oaths of allegiance, secret ceremonies of initiation, codenames and passwords.110 The movement found compatriots and supporters within the IPC in Kirkuk, Basra and Mosul, in Urmia in Iran and in Syria, as well as reaching across ecclesiastical lines to include the Church of the East, Chaldeans, Protestants, and others. XXH lasted until the end of the decade, when it disbanded in the midst of the chaos that ensued following the dismantling of the remaining levy battalions and their abandonment by the British military.111

By contrast, the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) became a refuge for politically and numerically smaller peoples with financial backing from a large external player. It grew intensely in popularity among the minorities in Iraq, especially the secular elites and academics. With Soviet expansion into central Asia and the Caucasus in 1921, Western powers had begun a policy of supporting the highly centralised, nationalist and militarist regimes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Assyrians through the ICP played a fundamental role in shaping the political history of Iraq. In 1941 Yusuf Salman Yusuf, known by the cadre name Fahd (‘Panther’), became secretary of the party and set about restructuring the organisation and expanding membership among the working classes.112 Yusuf integrated a greater population into the Communist Party, and between 1941 and 1949 under the restored monarchy, Assyrians made up a sizeable percentage of the party.113

The power of the King was failing, and a young Faisal II (not coming into his majority until May of 1953) could not control the ambitions of his regent, General Nur al-Din Mahmud, who had declared martial law in November 1952 after widespread discord and protests by the ICP. Such discord resulted in eighteen executions, the banning of various parties, and more than 300 arrests.114

(p.128) Meanwhile the European continent faced the gradual development of ultra-nationalism, embroiling it in the tumultuous period of the Second World War. During this time, in some small yet significant way, the Assyrians continued to influence Raphael Lemkin. In the preface of his 1943 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress Lemkin coined the term genocide (from the Greek genos, meaning ‘race’ or ‘tribe,’ and the Latin ending -cide, denoting ‘killing’). He used the term synonymously with ethnocide (or cultural genocide/destruction), which he defined as a combination of the crimes of barbarism and vandalism, as brought forth to the AIDP in Madrid in late 1933.115 Lemkin likened the brutal Nazi policies and massacres of the Jews during the Second World War and the Holocaust to the massacres of the Armenians (including the Greeks and Assyrians) in the waning Ottoman period during the nation-building process under the Young Turks.116 Thus, two major events – the massacres of Simele and those within Eastern Anatolia – that Lemkin utilised to shed light on human rights violations on the international stage (especially in regard to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and the subsequent treatment of European Jewry) specifically involved the Assyrians. After numerous failed attempts, Lemkin would use those past atrocities as examples and momentum in the midst of the horrors of the Second World War to ignite support for the UNGC, which would go on to be ratified by the United Nations on 9 December 1948.117

Notes

(1.) ‘Abdyešu‘ Barzana, Šinnē d-‘Asqūtā: Qrābā d-Dayrabūn w-Gunḥā d-Simele [‘Years of Hardship: The Battle of Dayrabūn and the Simele Massacre’] (Chicago: Assyrian Academic Society, 2003), 212–20.

(2.) Ibid.

(3.) Ibid., 324–5.

(4.) Report by the UK to the League of Nations on the Administration of ‘Iraq for the Year 1930, Colonial No. 62 (London: 1931), 29.

(5.) Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 74.

(p.129) (6.) Yusuf Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians (Chicago: Assyrian National Federation/Assyrian National League of America, 1935), 196–7.

(7.) Alexander Sloan, ambassador to Iraq, American Consular Services, American Consulate General, Jerusalem, Palestine, to Wallace Murray, Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, 31 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/93.

(8.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Wallace Murray, containing letter from Mr Cumberland to Secretary of State, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/110.

(9.) Theodore d’Mar Shimun, The History of the Patriarchal Succession of the d’Mar Shimun Family, 2nd ed. (Turlock, CA: Mar Shimun Memorial Foundation, 2008), 102–3.

(10.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Wallace Murray, containing letter from Mr Cumberland to Secretary of State, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/110.

(11.) Memorandum from Air Headquarters, Iraq to secretary to high commissioner, Baghdad, 2 October 1923, enclosing secret report from Major J. M. S. Renton, Headquarters, Iraq Levies, Mosul to officer commanding, Iraq Levies, Mosul, 12 September 1923, AIR 23/449.

(12.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 222–3. Use of capitals is true to Malek’s version.

(13.) Tripp, A History of Iraq, 75Rev. W. A. Wigram DD, Our Smallest Ally: A Brief Account of the Assyrian Nation in the Great War (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Macmillan, 1920)Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 196

(14.) D’Mar Shimun, The History of the Patriarchal Succession of the D’Mar Shimun Family, 105.

(15.) R. S. Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1935), 114.

(16.) Ibid., 78.

(17.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 213.

(18.) A. M. Hamilton, Road through Kurdistan: The Narrative of an Engineer in Iraq, new ed. (London: Faber & Faber, 1958).

(19.) Ofra Bengio, ‘Faysal’s Vision of Iraq: A Retrospect’, in Asher Susser and Aryeh Shmuelevitz (eds), The Hashemites in the Modern Arab World: Essays in Honour of the Late Professor Uriel Dann (London: Frank Cass, 1995), 143–9. (p.130) Ta’rikh al-Wizarat al-‘Iraqiyya

(20.) League of Nations, Official Journal 14 (December 1933), 1808.

(21.) Daniel Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East: The Case Study of Iraq 1929–1941 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 42.

(22.) Malik Yaqo Ismael, Aturayé w-tre plashe tībilayé [‘Assyrians and the Two World Wars’] (Tehran: Assyrian Writers Board, 1964), 214–15.

(23.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 238‘Letter and Report from Major Thompson, Expert for the Settlement of the Assyrians in Iraq, to the Iraqi Government, Mosul, September 28, 1933’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1831.

(24.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 240.

(25.) ‘Letter and Report from Major Thompson’, 1841. Thompson estimated five souls per family, rather lower than the reality of closer to seven. Thompson calls those of Hakkâri ex-Ottoman subjects, which is misleading as everyone in Iraq was an ex-Ottoman subject. Furthermore, Thompson seemingly is only concerned with those Assyrians under Mar Shimun’s authority and therefore neglects Catholics and Jacobites.

(26.) Hamilton, Road through Kurdistan, 217.

(27.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 137–8.

(28.) Ibid., 121.

(29.) Ibid., 139.

(30.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 250. See also Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East, 42.

(31.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 139.

(32.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 221.

(33.) Mary Lewis Shedd, The Measure of a Man: The Life of William Ambrose Shedd, Missionary to Persia (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), 231.

(34.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 122–3.

(35.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 221.

(36.) Ismael, Aturayé w-tre plashe tībilayé, 223.

(37.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 252.

(38.) The non-patriarchal faction grew in number to forty-five, claiming to represent approximately 2,160 families numbering around 15,000 people. They signed a document sent to the League of Nations stating that the Mar Shimun did not speak for all the Assyrians in Iraq. See Textes des petitions et observations y relatives des puissances mandataires examinees au cours de la 22ème session de la (p.131) commission permanente des mandats tenue a Genève du 3 novembre au 6 décembre 1932, League of Nations Archives, c.p.m. 1298.

(39.) Malik Loko Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries (2012), 330, 333.

(40.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 252.

(41.) Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 331.

(42.) H. S. Goold, American Consulate General, Beirut, Syria to Secretary of State, ‘Irruption of Assyrians’, 9 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/61.

(43.) Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 337.

(44.) There seems to be some discrepancy regarding the correct day. Loko mentions the 21st whereas Barzana, who was among those who arrived that day, recalls the 20th (Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries 338–9; Barzana, Šinnē d-‘asqūtā, 119–20. Here again it is worth remembering the constant confusion over the actual position of the border. Neither side seemed to know this and regularly debated about jurisdiction. See Secret Memorandum from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 23 July 1933, AIR 23/655.

(45.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 254–5, also in Malik Loko Shlimon (d’bit Badawi), Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, (2012), 340 as well as an original copy referred to as appendix 5.

(46.) Royal Government of Iraq, Correspondence Relating to Assyrian Settlement from 13th July, 1932 to 5th August, 1933 (Baghdad: Government Press, 1933), 2.

(47.) Secret Memorandum from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 23 July 1933, AIR 23/655

(48.) Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 345.

(49.) Ibid., 347.

(50.) Ibid., 358–9.

(51.) Parallel to the unfolding tribulations and the in light of recent events, the British authorities created a list of undesirables who were slated for arrest and deportation to Baghdad, including Lady Surma, Dawid d’Mar Shimun, Zaya (Mar Shimun’s uncle), Alexander (Mar Shimun’s uncle), Dadda (agent of Mar Shimun), Malik Andrius, Malik Sawa of Tal, Father Ishaq and Father Hanna (possibly Church of the East priests), Shamasha Elia of Baz, Esho of Tkhuma, Adam Zir of Jilu, Attu son of Shlimun son of Malik Ismael, Malikisdek son (p.132) of Shlimun son of Malik Ismael, Yuhanna Qass Iskharia (a teacher), Matti of Quchanis, Yonathan Merkhail, Iskharia Patti, Father Paulos Bedari (a Chaldean priest), Father Akhikar Kalaita (a Chaldean priest) and Theodore (Mar Shimun’s brother). Secret Memorandum, serial no. 125, from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 5 August 1933, AIR 23/655. Eventually only a handful were arrested and detained.

(52.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 254Joseph Yacoub, The Assyrian Question (Chicago: Alpha Graphic, 1986), 14–15.Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq: Report of the Committee of the Council on the Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq in the Region of the Ghab (French Mandated Territories of the Levant)Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 356–7

(53.) Goold to Secretary of State, ‘Irruption of Assyrians’.

(54.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 162.

(55.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 267; Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East, 42.

(56.) General Conditions/5, Knabenshue, Baghdad, 3 May 1933, USDOS 890g.00; General Conditions/6, Knabenshue, Baghdad, 24 May 1933, USDOS 890g.00.

(57.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 162; Report by Air Commodore A. D. Cunningham, 5 August 1933, AIR 23/655. The report was based on his recent visit to Mosul and stated that the stories were exaggerated and propagandistic.

(58.) See Secret Memorandum serial no. 126 from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 6 August 1933, AIR 23/655.

(59.) Air Vice Marshal C. S. Burkett, Air Headquarters, Iran Command, of interview with King Faisal and Mr Ogilvie-Forbes at the Palace, 6 August 1933, AIR 23/655

(60.) Burnett to Air Ministry, 8 August 1933, FO 371/16884.

(61.) Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East, 43.

(62.) Sir Robert Vansittart to MacDonald, 7 August 1933, FO 371/16884, including a note from MacDonald dated 8 August 1933. This matter is covered extensively in Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East, 43–5.

(p.133) (63.) Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 364.

(64.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1827.

(65.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1826.

(66.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 262, 305.

(67.) Secret Memorandum No. 1/M/33 serial no. 114 from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 25 July 1933, giving a list of the Assyrian tribal leaders reported to be with the immigrants, none of whom were from the Baz tribe. AIR 23/655.

(68.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1828.

(69.) Extract from dispatch no. S11126 from Air Officer Commanding to Air Commodore Cunningham, 22 August 1933, enclosing translation from Arabic of proclamation by the acting mutasarrif of Mosul published in Al Tariq, 20 August 1933, AIR 23/656

(70.) United States Department of State, Diplomatic (no. 164), P. Knabenshue, Subject: ‘Assyrians – Massacres in Northern Iraq’, Baghdad, 21 August 1933; secret memorandum, serial no. 143, Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 18 August 1933, AIR 23/656.

(71.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 174.

(72.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 281.

(73.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1826.

(p.134) (74.) Elias Haroon Bazi (Hejerke-Simele), interview with author, 24 February 2008, Toronto. Elias Bazi lost his father and suffered personal injury, including being shot in the arm, and continues to feel discomfort and pain from shrapnel still lodged above his lip. See also Interview with Elias Haroon, Lamassu Nineb. (Eastern Assyrian Language). [Toronto, Canada, 2011]. Modern Assyrian Research Archive. This is echoed by ‘Statement Made by Miryam, Wife of David Jindo’.

(75.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 269.

(76.) ‘Statement Made by Rabi Armunta, an Assyrian Woman, Exhibit C, to Supplementary Petition, Dated September 24 1933, from the Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1825; ‘Statement Made by Yushiya Dinka, of Malik Ismail, Upper Tiyari, Exhibit E to Supplementary Petition, Dated September 24 1933, from the Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1827.

(77.) See secret report by Major C. J. Edmonds, Ministry of the Interior, Baghdad to Mr. G. A. D. Ogilvie-Forbes, British Embassy, Baghdad, 24 August 1933, AIR 23/656, which attempted to address a full account of the massacres.

(78.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1825.

(79.) R. S. Stafford, ‘Iraq and the Problem of the Assyrians’, International Affairs 13.2 (1934), 176.

(80.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 168.

(81.) Gerald de Gaury, Three Kings in Baghdad: The Tragedy of Iraq’s Monarchy (London: I. B. Tauris, [1961] 2008), 89.

(82.) Estimates range from 2,000 to 6,000 for the number of persons killed. See USDOS, letter to Wallace Murray, American Consular Services, Near Eastern Affairs, American Consulate General, Jerusalem, Palestine, 31 August 1933. The figure usually mentioned of 300–305, used by Husry and others, is based on Stafford and only for 11 August in the village of Simele. Stafford himself only came to the scene some days later, and it was surmised at the time that most of the bodies had already been buried by the military to cover the massacre. The attacking of random villages was also reported in the Iraq Times on 19 August.

(p.135) (83.) Jatou acquired an infamous reputation among local Kurdish tribesmen and bandits as a feared bounty hunter.

(84.) Firas Jatou (grandson of Jatou), interview with author, San Jose, CA, 5 July 2012.

(85.) Iraq Command Hinaidi to Mr. G. A. D. Ogilvie Forbes, British embassy, Baghdad, 25 July 1933, AIR23/655, p. 418

(86.) Through the Simele massacres Sidqi gained enough prestige and power to challenge the Iraqi establishment in a failed coup attempt in 1936.

(87.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Assyrian Problem – British Policy’, 28 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/86

(88.) ‘No massacres: Feisal emphatic’, Brisbane Courier-Mail, 6 September 1933.

(89.) Barclay Acheson, executive secretary, Near East Foundation to Hon. Wallace S. Murray, chief, Division of Near Eastern Affairs, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/90

(90.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 170–1, 177–8.

(91.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 272.

(92.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Iraq’s Victorious Army Returns to Baghdad’, 30 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/89.

(93.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Suppression of Assyrian Revolt’, (no. 165), 23 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/82.

(94.) Knabenshue to Secretary of State, ‘Iraq’s Victorious Army Returns to Baghdad’

(95.) Based on numerous sources including Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 338–9; ‘Report of Mar Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrians, Oct. 8, 1933’, Protection of Minorities in Iraq, League of Nations, Geneva, 31 October 1933; Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq, League of Nations, Geneva, 18 January 1934, 0.69.1934.VII, enclosure II–IV, 8–11; ‘Sketch Map of Villages in Which Assyrians Were Settled 1920–1933’, in Stafford, Tragedy of the Assyrians; Air Ministry and Foreign Office documents and pictures; and eyewitness testimony. In villages where a population returned, numbers are given if reported.

(96.) Peter Sluglett, Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country 1914–1932 (New York: Colombia University Press, 2007), 212.

(97.) William Yale, The Near East: A Modern History (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1958), 326.

(p.136) (98.) Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala (ed.), Rafał Lemkin: A Hero of Humankind (Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2010), 79; Tanya Elder, ‘What You See before Your Eyes: Documenting Raphael Lemkin’s Life by Exploring His Archival Papers 1900–1959’, in Dominik J. Schaller and Jürgen Zimmerer (eds), The Origins of Genocide: Raphael Lemkin as a Historian of Mass Violence (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), 31.

(99.) United States Department of State, Diplomatic, P. Knabenshue, Subject: ‘Assyrians – Massacres in Northern Iraq’, Baghdad, 21 August 1933.

(100.) John Cooper, Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 18–19.

(101.) ‘Assyrian villages on the Khabur: results of latest census’, Athra, 5 January 1939.

(102.) Farhud is an Arabic word meaning ‘pogrom’ or ‘violent riot.’

(103.) Eric Davis, Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 70.

(104.) Ibid., 71.

(105.) David Wilmshurst, The Ecclesiastical Organization of the Church of the East 1318–1913 (Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 126

(106.) Amir Harrak, ‘Middle Assyrian bīt ḫašīmi’, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 79.1 (1989), 67.

(107.) A Committee of Officials, An Introduction of the Past and Present of the Kingdom of Iraq (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1946), 29.

(108.) Hamilton, Road through Kurdistan, 216.

(109.) Michael K. Pius, ‘Koubba Khouyada Aturaya was Born in Desert’, Nineveh 22.3 (1999), 17.

(110.) Ibid., 15.

(p.137) (111.) Ibid., 16.

(112.) Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East: A Political Study (Athens: Lycabettus Press, 1975), 177.

(113.) Walter Laqueur, Communism and Nationalism in the Middle East (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956)

(114.) Phebe Marr, A Modern History of Iraq (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985), 112–13.

(115.) Lawrence J. LeBlanc, The United States and the Genocide Convention (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), 18.

(116.) Ibid., 250.

(117.) ‘Guide to the Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959) Collection, 1763–2002 (Bulk 1941–1951), American Jewish Historical Society, 2014, http://digifindingaids.cjh.org/?pID=109202 (accessed 14 July 2014)

Notes:

(1.) ‘Abdyešu‘ Barzana, Šinnē d-‘Asqūtā: Qrābā d-Dayrabūn w-Gunḥā d-Simele [‘Years of Hardship: The Battle of Dayrabūn and the Simele Massacre’] (Chicago: Assyrian Academic Society, 2003), 212–20.

(3.) Ibid., 324–5.

(4.) Report by the UK to the League of Nations on the Administration of ‘Iraq for the Year 1930, Colonial No. 62 (London: 1931), 29.

(5.) Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 74.

(p.129) (6.) Yusuf Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians (Chicago: Assyrian National Federation/Assyrian National League of America, 1935), 196–7.

(7.) Alexander Sloan, ambassador to Iraq, American Consular Services, American Consulate General, Jerusalem, Palestine, to Wallace Murray, Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, 31 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/93.

(8.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Wallace Murray, containing letter from Mr Cumberland to Secretary of State, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/110.

(9.) Theodore d’Mar Shimun, The History of the Patriarchal Succession of the d’Mar Shimun Family, 2nd ed. (Turlock, CA: Mar Shimun Memorial Foundation, 2008), 102–3.

(10.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Wallace Murray, containing letter from Mr Cumberland to Secretary of State, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/110.

(11.) Memorandum from Air Headquarters, Iraq to secretary to high commissioner, Baghdad, 2 October 1923, enclosing secret report from Major J. M. S. Renton, Headquarters, Iraq Levies, Mosul to officer commanding, Iraq Levies, Mosul, 12 September 1923, AIR 23/449.

(12.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 222–3. Use of capitals is true to Malek’s version.

(13.) Tripp, A History of Iraq, 75Rev. W. A. Wigram DD, Our Smallest Ally: A Brief Account of the Assyrian Nation in the Great War (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge / New York: Macmillan, 1920)Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 196

(15.) R. S. Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1935), 114.

(16.) Ibid., 78.

(18.) A. M. Hamilton, Road through Kurdistan: The Narrative of an Engineer in Iraq, new ed. (London: Faber & Faber, 1958).

(19.) Ofra Bengio, ‘Faysal’s Vision of Iraq: A Retrospect’, in Asher Susser and Aryeh Shmuelevitz (eds), The Hashemites in the Modern Arab World: Essays in Honour of the Late Professor Uriel Dann (London: Frank Cass, 1995), 143–9. (p.130) Ta’rikh al-Wizarat al-‘Iraqiyya

(20.) League of Nations, Official Journal 14 (December 1933), 1808.

(21.) Daniel Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East: The Case Study of Iraq 1929–1941 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 42.

(22.) Malik Yaqo Ismael, Aturayé w-tre plashe tībilayé [‘Assyrians and the Two World Wars’] (Tehran: Assyrian Writers Board, 1964), 214–15.

(23.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 238‘Letter and Report from Major Thompson, Expert for the Settlement of the Assyrians in Iraq, to the Iraqi Government, Mosul, September 28, 1933’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1831.

(25.) ‘Letter and Report from Major Thompson’, 1841. Thompson estimated five souls per family, rather lower than the reality of closer to seven. Thompson calls those of Hakkâri ex-Ottoman subjects, which is misleading as everyone in Iraq was an ex-Ottoman subject. Furthermore, Thompson seemingly is only concerned with those Assyrians under Mar Shimun’s authority and therefore neglects Catholics and Jacobites.

(28.) Ibid., 121.

(29.) Ibid., 139.

(33.) Mary Lewis Shedd, The Measure of a Man: The Life of William Ambrose Shedd, Missionary to Persia (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), 231.

(38.) The non-patriarchal faction grew in number to forty-five, claiming to represent approximately 2,160 families numbering around 15,000 people. They signed a document sent to the League of Nations stating that the Mar Shimun did not speak for all the Assyrians in Iraq. See Textes des petitions et observations y relatives des puissances mandataires examinees au cours de la 22ème session de la (p.131) commission permanente des mandats tenue a Genève du 3 novembre au 6 décembre 1932, League of Nations Archives, c.p.m. 1298.

(39.) Malik Loko Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries (2012), 330, 333.

(42.) H. S. Goold, American Consulate General, Beirut, Syria to Secretary of State, ‘Irruption of Assyrians’, 9 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/61.

(44.) There seems to be some discrepancy regarding the correct day. Loko mentions the 21st whereas Barzana, who was among those who arrived that day, recalls the 20th (Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries 338–9; Barzana, Šinnē d-‘asqūtā, 119–20. Here again it is worth remembering the constant confusion over the actual position of the border. Neither side seemed to know this and regularly debated about jurisdiction. See Secret Memorandum from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 23 July 1933, AIR 23/655.

(46.) Royal Government of Iraq, Correspondence Relating to Assyrian Settlement from 13th July, 1932 to 5th August, 1933 (Baghdad: Government Press, 1933), 2.

(47.) Secret Memorandum from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 23 July 1933, AIR 23/655

(49.) Ibid., 347.

(50.) Ibid., 358–9.

(51.) Parallel to the unfolding tribulations and the in light of recent events, the British authorities created a list of undesirables who were slated for arrest and deportation to Baghdad, including Lady Surma, Dawid d’Mar Shimun, Zaya (Mar Shimun’s uncle), Alexander (Mar Shimun’s uncle), Dadda (agent of Mar Shimun), Malik Andrius, Malik Sawa of Tal, Father Ishaq and Father Hanna (possibly Church of the East priests), Shamasha Elia of Baz, Esho of Tkhuma, Adam Zir of Jilu, Attu son of Shlimun son of Malik Ismael, Malikisdek son (p.132) of Shlimun son of Malik Ismael, Yuhanna Qass Iskharia (a teacher), Matti of Quchanis, Yonathan Merkhail, Iskharia Patti, Father Paulos Bedari (a Chaldean priest), Father Akhikar Kalaita (a Chaldean priest) and Theodore (Mar Shimun’s brother). Secret Memorandum, serial no. 125, from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 5 August 1933, AIR 23/655. Eventually only a handful were arrested and detained.

(52.) Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 254Joseph Yacoub, The Assyrian Question (Chicago: Alpha Graphic, 1986), 14–15.Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq: Report of the Committee of the Council on the Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq in the Region of the Ghab (French Mandated Territories of the Levant)Shlimon d’Bit Badawi, Assyrian Struggle for National Survival in the 20th and 21st Centuries, 356–7

(53.) Goold to Secretary of State, ‘Irruption of Assyrians’.

(56.) General Conditions/5, Knabenshue, Baghdad, 3 May 1933, USDOS 890g.00; General Conditions/6, Knabenshue, Baghdad, 24 May 1933, USDOS 890g.00.

(57.) Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, 162; Report by Air Commodore A. D. Cunningham, 5 August 1933, AIR 23/655. The report was based on his recent visit to Mosul and stated that the stories were exaggerated and propagandistic.

(58.) See Secret Memorandum serial no. 126 from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 6 August 1933, AIR 23/655.

(59.) Air Vice Marshal C. S. Burkett, Air Headquarters, Iran Command, of interview with King Faisal and Mr Ogilvie-Forbes at the Palace, 6 August 1933, AIR 23/655

(60.) Burnett to Air Ministry, 8 August 1933, FO 371/16884.

(62.) Sir Robert Vansittart to MacDonald, 7 August 1933, FO 371/16884, including a note from MacDonald dated 8 August 1933. This matter is covered extensively in Silverfarb, Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East, 43–5.

(64.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1827.

(65.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1826.

(67.) Secret Memorandum No. 1/M/33 serial no. 114 from Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 25 July 1933, giving a list of the Assyrian tribal leaders reported to be with the immigrants, none of whom were from the Baz tribe. AIR 23/655.

(68.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1828.

(69.) Extract from dispatch no. S11126 from Air Officer Commanding to Air Commodore Cunningham, 22 August 1933, enclosing translation from Arabic of proclamation by the acting mutasarrif of Mosul published in Al Tariq, 20 August 1933, AIR 23/656

(70.) United States Department of State, Diplomatic (no. 164), P. Knabenshue, Subject: ‘Assyrians – Massacres in Northern Iraq’, Baghdad, 21 August 1933; secret memorandum, serial no. 143, Special Service Officer, Mosul to Air Staff (Intelligence), Air Headquarters, 18 August 1933, AIR 23/656.

(73.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1826.

(p.134) (74.) Elias Haroon Bazi (Hejerke-Simele), interview with author, 24 February 2008, Toronto. Elias Bazi lost his father and suffered personal injury, including being shot in the arm, and continues to feel discomfort and pain from shrapnel still lodged above his lip. See also Interview with Elias Haroon, Lamassu Nineb. (Eastern Assyrian Language). [Toronto, Canada, 2011]. Modern Assyrian Research Archive. This is echoed by ‘Statement Made by Miryam, Wife of David Jindo’.

(76.) ‘Statement Made by Rabi Armunta, an Assyrian Woman, Exhibit C, to Supplementary Petition, Dated September 24 1933, from the Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1825; ‘Statement Made by Yushiya Dinka, of Malik Ismail, Upper Tiyari, Exhibit E to Supplementary Petition, Dated September 24 1933, from the Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1827.

(77.) See secret report by Major C. J. Edmonds, Ministry of the Interior, Baghdad to Mr. G. A. D. Ogilvie-Forbes, British Embassy, Baghdad, 24 August 1933, AIR 23/656, which attempted to address a full account of the massacres.

(78.) Mar Shimun, “Catholicos” Patriarch of the Assyrians to the League of Nations’, League of Nations Official Journal 14 (1933), 1825.

(79.) R. S. Stafford, ‘Iraq and the Problem of the Assyrians’, International Affairs 13.2 (1934), 176.

(81.) Gerald de Gaury, Three Kings in Baghdad: The Tragedy of Iraq’s Monarchy (London: I. B. Tauris, [1961] 2008), 89.

(82.) Estimates range from 2,000 to 6,000 for the number of persons killed. See USDOS, letter to Wallace Murray, American Consular Services, Near Eastern Affairs, American Consulate General, Jerusalem, Palestine, 31 August 1933. The figure usually mentioned of 300–305, used by Husry and others, is based on Stafford and only for 11 August in the village of Simele. Stafford himself only came to the scene some days later, and it was surmised at the time that most of the bodies had already been buried by the military to cover the massacre. The attacking of random villages was also reported in the Iraq Times on 19 August.

(p.135) (83.) Jatou acquired an infamous reputation among local Kurdish tribesmen and bandits as a feared bounty hunter.

(84.) Firas Jatou (grandson of Jatou), interview with author, San Jose, CA, 5 July 2012.

(85.) Iraq Command Hinaidi to Mr. G. A. D. Ogilvie Forbes, British embassy, Baghdad, 25 July 1933, AIR23/655, p. 418

(86.) Through the Simele massacres Sidqi gained enough prestige and power to challenge the Iraqi establishment in a failed coup attempt in 1936.

(87.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Assyrian Problem – British Policy’, 28 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/86

(88.) ‘No massacres: Feisal emphatic’, Brisbane Courier-Mail, 6 September 1933.

(89.) Barclay Acheson, executive secretary, Near East Foundation to Hon. Wallace S. Murray, chief, Division of Near Eastern Affairs, 13 September 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/90

(92.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Iraq’s Victorious Army Returns to Baghdad’, 30 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/89.

(93.) Paul Knabenshue, US ambassador to Iraq, to Secretary of State, ‘Suppression of Assyrian Revolt’, (no. 165), 23 August 1933, 890g.4016 Assyrians/82.

(94.) Knabenshue to Secretary of State, ‘Iraq’s Victorious Army Returns to Baghdad’

(95.) Based on numerous sources including Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians, 338–9; ‘Report of Mar Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrians, Oct. 8, 1933’, Protection of Minorities in Iraq, League of Nations, Geneva, 31 October 1933; Settlement of the Assyrians of Iraq, League of Nations, Geneva, 18 January 1934, 0.69.1934.VII, enclosure II–IV, 8–11; ‘Sketch Map of Villages in Which Assyrians Were Settled 1920–1933’, in Stafford, Tragedy of the Assyrians; Air Ministry and Foreign Office documents and pictures; and eyewitness testimony. In villages where a population returned, numbers are given if reported.

(96.) Peter Sluglett, Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country 1914–1932 (New York: Colombia University Press, 2007), 212.

(97.) William Yale, The Near East: A Modern History (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1958), 326.

(p.136) (98.) Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala (ed.), Rafał Lemkin: A Hero of Humankind (Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2010), 79; Tanya Elder, ‘What You See before Your Eyes: Documenting Raphael Lemkin’s Life by Exploring His Archival Papers 1900–1959’, in Dominik J. Schaller and Jürgen Zimmerer (eds), The Origins of Genocide: Raphael Lemkin as a Historian of Mass Violence (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), 31.

(99.) United States Department of State, Diplomatic, P. Knabenshue, Subject: ‘Assyrians – Massacres in Northern Iraq’, Baghdad, 21 August 1933.

(100.) John Cooper, Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 18–19.

(101.) ‘Assyrian villages on the Khabur: results of latest census’, Athra, 5 January 1939.

(102.) Farhud is an Arabic word meaning ‘pogrom’ or ‘violent riot.’

(103.) Eric Davis, Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 70.

(104.) Ibid., 71.

(105.) David Wilmshurst, The Ecclesiastical Organization of the Church of the East 1318–1913 (Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 126

(106.) Amir Harrak, ‘Middle Assyrian bīt ḫašīmi’, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 79.1 (1989), 67.

(107.) A Committee of Officials, An Introduction of the Past and Present of the Kingdom of Iraq (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1946), 29.

(109.) Michael K. Pius, ‘Koubba Khouyada Aturaya was Born in Desert’, Nineveh 22.3 (1999), 17.

(110.) Ibid., 15.

(p.137) (111.) Ibid., 16.

(112.) Robert Brenton Betts, Christians in the Arab East: A Political Study (Athens: Lycabettus Press, 1975), 177.

(113.) Walter Laqueur, Communism and Nationalism in the Middle East (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956)

(114.) Phebe Marr, A Modern History of Iraq (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985), 112–13.

(115.) Lawrence J. LeBlanc, The United States and the Genocide Convention (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), 18.

(116.) Ibid., 250.

(117.) ‘Guide to the Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959) Collection, 1763–2002 (Bulk 1941–1951), American Jewish Historical Society, 2014, http://digifindingaids.cjh.org/?pID=109202 (accessed 14 July 2014)