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“We are not asking to put all Christians in one region,” said Smael Benjamin, a member of the political bureau of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the best organized of the Christian parties. “Nor are we asking for a safe haven or an ethnic or religious-based entity. We simply want to have our rights, so people can see light at the end of the tunnel and stay in Iraq instead of leaving.”

The near extermination of Iraqi Christians has been an unintended consequence of the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq in 2003. There is still time - but not much - to make it right. The creation of an autonomous province in the Nineveh Plain, free of Kurdish domination, is the last best hope for preventing the mass exodus of the remaining Christians from Iraq.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is author of “St. Peter’s Bones” (Cassiopeia Press, 2011), about the persecuted church in Iraq (