This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Iraq's shrunken and conflict-scarred Christian community is launching a new television channel as part of efforts to save their dying language, spoken for more than 2,000 years.
Syriac, an ancient dialect of Aramaic, has traditionally been the language spoken by Christians in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, mostly in homes but also in some schools and during church services.
However, Syriac-speaking communities in the two countries have declined over the years, owing to decades of conflict driving many to seek homes in safer countries. In Iraq, the Christian population is thought to have fallen by more than two-thirds in just over two decades.
"It's true that we speak Syriac at home, but unfortunately I feel that our language is disappearing slowly but surely," said Mariam Albert, a news presenter on the Syriac-language Al-Syriania television channel.
Iraq's government launched the channel in April to help keep the language alive. It has around 40 staff and offers a variety of programming, from cinema to art and history.
Meanwhile, some are bothered by the kingdom of Jordan's decision to allow the Baath Party to participate in the political process. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was the figurehead for the Baath Party. The Baath Party always existed outside of Iraq -- it was a pan-Arab movement. In Iraq and Syria, it took hold. In other Arab countries, it might not have dominated but it was politically active. THE CRADLE notes:
The Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party described the decision of the Jordanian authorities to allow the Baath Party to resume political activities in Jordan as a “hostile and provocative act,” Iraqi Shafaq News reported on 26 May.
The Shia Dawa Party’s political office said in a statement that, “The Iraqis were surprised, shocked, and outraged by the news of the Jordanian government’s permission for the (Saddam’s Ba’ath) party to engage in political activity.”
On May 14, the Independent Electoral Commission in the Kingdom of Jordan approved the political participation of 27 new political parties, including the Arab Socialist Baath Party, whose Iraqi branch was led by long-time Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi political parties have expressed indignation after the Baath party’s licence was renewed in neighbouring Jordan.
The Iraqi Islamic Al-Dawa party, which is the party of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, expressed “shock and outrage” at Amman’s move.
Jordan’s Independent Electoral Commission on 14 May approved the political participation of 27 political parties, including the Arab Socialist Baath Party, after changes to its electoral law required all existing political groups to be re-licensed to resume political activities in the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose rule has grown increasingly authoritarian during his two decades in power, won 52 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff election, securing another term.
At the end of his next term, he will have been at the top of the Turkish government for a quarter-century.
During his rule, Mr Erdogan restricted press freedom, imprisoned journalists, and used the LGBT+ community as a cudgel in the culture war to attract socially conservative voters as his chaotic economic policies have sent the Lira into a tailspin.