Baghdad, Republic of Babylonia – Following the war of liberation and months of occupation under military governorships, the Parliament of the Athenian Federation has today voted to admit the Republics of Assyria and Babylonia as full members. The two new republics join the Kurdish northern provinces which had already been admitted into the People’s Republic of Kurdistan during the war. The new borders take into account ethnic realities by a Kurdish dominated government in the North, a Shia dominated government in the East and a Sunni dominated government in the West. It is believed this will prevent ethnic and sectarian violence.
The formal admission also ends the state of martial law that applied in the entirety of the former Republic of Iraq (including Iraqi Kurdistan) and restores all civil liberties to the populations of these regions. The Republic of Babylonia with its capital in Baghdad has chosen the leader of the Liberal Party Kaveh Shirazi to be its first President. The Republic of Assyria with its capital in Ramadi has elected the Sunni Imam Samir Abbas as its first President. As Iraqi Kurdistan opted to join the People’s Republic of Kurdistan it did not elect a new government, however its citizens will take part in the regional elections for Kurdistan five months from now. In the interim emergency elections have been held for new seats in the Kurdistani legislature until the full elections can be held.
While the changes to Iraqi borders have been generally well received, the previously Sunni majority of the defunct country has protested that the borders of the Republic of Assyria are too small and that the Shia and Kurd regions have obtained land that rightfully belongs to the Republic of Assyria. President Abbas for his part has added fuel on the fire stating that the Sunnis were punished by Athens and that Sunni dominated regions should transfer to the Republic of Assyria. He has also announced his intent to launch legal proceedings against the Imperial Government, the Republic of Babylon and the People’s Republic of Kurdistan for violation of the rights of the Sunni people under the Athenian constitution.
For the part of the Imperial government, Magistrate of Internal and Regional Affairs Andrea Dragic has stated that claims that the Imperial Government sought to undermine the Sunni people are ridiculous and in no way grounded in reality. “For centuries West European powers have imposed arbitrary lines on the people of the Middle East. When embarking on our quest to restore peace and stability to the region we committed to wronging the mistakes of the past. The borders of Kurdistan, Assyria and Babylonia have come after months of consultations with local academics, communities, societal elites and local leadership. Borders will never be perfect but this is the closest they can ever be”. When asked how the Imperial Government felt about the announced legal proceedings, the Magistrate said that “President Abbas is well within his rights to seek review by the Imperial Courts. He now lives in a country that respects and values checks and balances as well as democratic and legal accountability of the government. The Ministry is however confident in its legal opposition and we fully expect to win any legal argument”.
The Magistrate also went on to state that the Athenian Federation welcomes peaceful protest and acts expressing disagreement with policies, she guaranteed that the concerns of the people would be heard and that peaceful protest must be given a wide berth. When asked why the Third Army remained actively deployed through the streets of Assyria she said that the Hellenic Army remains in the region to prevent any power vacuums being created while the Assyrian Police Department takes over and that the Third Army remains deployed in Babylonia for that same reason while the Peshmerga fulfill a similar role in Iraqi Kurdistan.
With the Republic of Babylonia having officially joined the Athenian Federation, the Hellenic Navy can now also finally act on its longterm plan to establish a base for the Third Fleet in the port city of Basra. These new facilities will from now on be the port of call of all ships belonging to the Third Fleet and also the home of Fleet staff. Funding from the Hellenic Navy is expected to go a long way to rebuilding the city that was nearly annihilated in the war after it became the final stronghold of the Iraqi government. As home of the Athenian fleet responsible for all Hellenic interests in the Indian Ocean, the city awaits a bright future and may soon rival even the capital of Baghdad in its importance.