The Assyrian Policy Institute obtained a document earlier today sent by the Head of the Nineveh Provincial Council, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) member Bashar al-Kiki, to the Governor of Nineveh regarding the mayoral situation in Alqosh, Nineveh Plain in northern Iraq. In his letter, al-Kiki requests that the Governor dismiss Alqosh mayor Faiez Abed Jahwareh from office for "failing to report for duty" despite the fact that Jahwareh was detained and beaten when he attempted to return to work for the first time in over a year on July 15, 2018.
The July 29, 2018 letter reads:
"Until this day, Mr. Faiz [Jahwareh] has failed to resume his duties with regard to Alqosh Sub-District’s administration, despite your administrative order No. 1598 issued on April 9, 2018, and the administrative order No. 3650 issued on July 10, 2018.
I am humbly asking you to look into this case and implemented the amended article No. 37 of Civil Service Law of 1960, and to temporarily reassign the sub-district’s administrative responsibilities to the [Tel Keppe] District Council President." Read the full letter here.
Jahwareh has been unable to return to work since then due to direct threats to his life by the KDP and affiliated Asayish (Kurdish political police).
Alqosh is the northernmost town in the Nineveh Plain, and is part of Tel Keppe District. The mayor of Tel Keppe District, Basim Bello, was also unlawfully deposed by the KDP last year, but resumed office last week. The Asayish do not have a presence in Tel Keppe.
In July 2017, Jahwareh was deposed by the Nineveh Provincial Council on baseless charges of corruption which were later dismissed by an Iraqi federal court. In addition to being led by a KDP member, a total of 31 of the Council's 41 members belong to the KDP. After Jahwareh was ousted, the Council replaced him with KDP member Lara Yousif.
According to the United States Department of State:
“In July, Christian civil society organizations reported the Assyrian Christian mayors in Al Qosh and Tel Kayf were replaced, reportedly due to corruption, with KDP members who were also Christian. At the direction of the mayor, security forces in Al Qosh arrested and threatened a group who publicly protested this decision. Christian groups stated this was part of a “Kurdization” of their towns.”
The Iraqi Administrative Court of Justice ordered Jahwareh's reinstatement on March 28, 2018, and the Governor of Nineveh issued two notices in May 2018 and again in July 2018 to enforce the court's ruling.
However, when he reported for duty on the morning of July 15, he was detained by KDP Asayish and assaulted. His life was threatened, and he was warned against speaking publicly about the incident. Jahwareh was explicitly told not to return to the mayor's office.
Nineveh's KDP-controlled Provincial Council is now formally requesting Nineveh's Governor Nofal Hammadi appoint the President of Tel Keppe's District Council who is a non-Assyrian member of the KDP, as a temporary replacement for Jahwareh.
In a July 19, 2018 interview with Al-Hurra Iraq, Nineveh Governor Nofal Hammadi said, "The Iraqi federal court ruled against the Nineveh Provincial Council and nullified its decision to depose [Jahwareh]. We issued an order for [Jahwareh] to return to office and for his replacement to be relieved of her duties. As we heard today, he has not been permitted to return. Our order will be enforced, and we will only recognize the authority of the reinstated mayor, in accordance with the Iraqi court's decision...and anyone that stands against this administrative order will be held legally accountable."