Iraq: April 16, 2004


Iraqs often-forgotten minorities, among them the Yazidis,  are getting attention in other media, including a recent think-piece by the Institute for War and Peace reporting. Now very inter-married with Kurds, Yazidis are sometimes treated as a Kurd minority instead of a separate tribe. The Yazidi, accused of being devil  worshipers by Muslims, have been characterized by some reporters as sun worshipers. who venerate a sun bird. Some anthropologists associate it with the  worship of the Persian deity, Mithra. The IWPR article mentions the worship of  Taous Malek, the Peacock Angel. Under Saddams regime, the common figure for the number of Yazidis was 50,000. One current estimate is 100,000, though Yazidis  themselves say they have 700,000 adherents (some are secret adherents). Many  Yazidis are demanding status as a recognized minority in post-Saddam Iraq. They  are another example of Iraqs ethnically and religiously fractured population.

Bulgaria said  that it needs to send more troops, to include military police, to Iraq. The government feels that the Bulgarian contingents operational mandate may need to change. The government feels that  the mission is more one of peace enforcement than peacekeeping. That change may  well entail a change in the current Rules of Engagement for Bulgarian forces.


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