Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo

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Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo (Syriac: ܣܪܟܝܣ ܐܓܓܢ ܡܡܢܕܘ‎), (born 1962) is an Iraqi Assyrian politician who was appointed Minister for Finance and Economy in the cabinet of Iraqi Kurdistan on 7 May 2006.

He was born in Diyana, Arbil Governorate, and is part of the Assyrian Nochiya Tribe. He was elected into the Kurdistan National Assembly in the first Iraqi Kurdistan election in 1992. In the previous cabinet, Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo was the Minister for Finance and the Economy from 1999 to 2006, and Deputy Prime Minister from 2004 to 2006 in the Arbil & Dohuk administration.


Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo is an Assyrian whose family origins are from the district of Shamezdin in the Hakkari Province. Aghajan appears to owe his ascendancy within the Kurdistan Democratic Party power structure to his personal relationship to Nechervan Idris Barzani, the Kurdish prime minister. His supporters say that as young men, the two were forced to flee Iraq with their families in 1975, after the United States withdrew support for the Barzani clan, and grew up together on the Aghajan family estate in Iran.[1] He is known within the Assyrian community throughout of northern Iraq for helping rebuild Churches, roads, schools and Assyrian settlements.[citation needed] He is also the one who helped fund the new Assyrian channel (Ishtar TV) which is broadcast in three languages (Syriac, Arabic, and Kurdish).

Awards and controversies[edit]

In August 2006, Sarkis was awarded the "Knight Commander of the order of Saint Gregory the Great" by Pope Benedict XVI as a way to honour his work with the Assyrian Christian community in Iraq.[2] Aghajan was awarded the title, which is one of the highest and most widely recognized pontifical orders, for his contribution to the Assyrian community and his work for Christians in Iraq.[2]

Many Assyrian non-governmental organisations accuse Aghajan of being used by the Kurdistan Regional Government to beautify its image in order to annex Assyrian settlements in Nineveh plains to their region.[3] It has been speculated that he utilises US funding authored by the Assyrian American congresswoman Anna Eshoo for rebuilding Assyrian settlements,[4] although, he personally claims that the many is raised by Kurdish political parties.[5]

He also finances his own militia which is accused of assaulting Assyrian candidates during the 2009 Governorates Elections in Nineveh.[6]

In 2010 he halted all financial funds to Christian Communities, a step was seen as a mean of excreting control on the Chaldean Catholic clergy in the country.[7][8]

Disappearance and reappearance[edit]

There is growing speculation that the Assyrian Finance minister Aghajan is missing, with many believing he is ill or has been the victim of an assassination. While the media in North Iraq has been careful with the controversy. Aghajan has not been publicly seen since his visit to churches and halls back in October 2008 when more than 20,000 Assyrian had been displaced from Mosul after an organised killing and displacement campaign, in which more than 13 people died. A relative of revealed that Aghajan had begun to fear his fate several months ago. He was quoted saying:[9]

My only job is to sign the papers they put in front of me.

Aghajan was officially replaced with Bayiz Saeed Mohammad with the KRG stating that Mohammead was the finance minister since May 2006 even though Aghajan was the finance minister up till the time of the events in October 2008.[10]

In Summer 2009, Sarkis appeared in his palace in Ankawa presumably returning from a medical vacation outside the country.[11]

In Winter 2011, Sarkis Aghajan Funded a New Project in Baghdeda. The construction of a large multi-purpose hall has been completed in Baghdeda, it is the largest Assyrian town of Iraq.[12]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b قداسة البابا بيندكتس السادس عشر يمنح وسام القائد والفارس للسيد سركيس أغا جان
  3. ^ Assyria Council of Europe , Hammurabi Human Rights Organization. "The Struggle to Exist: An Introduction to the Assyrians and their Human Rights Situation in the New Iraq" (PDF). p. 44. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Amendment 483 to Hr. 2601
  5. ^ سركيس اغاجان لجريدة ناشيونال الإماراتية؛ الاموال التي تصرف على مساعدة المسيحيين العراقيين هي اموال حكومة اقليم كردستان، صوت العراق (Arabic)
  6. ^ [1] استهداف مدير الحملة الانتخابية لقائمة الرافدين 504], Zahrira
  7. ^ Financial crisis forces
  8. ^ سيزار ميخا هرمز, سركيس اغاجان يقطع المعونة عن الكنيسة الكلدانية منذ 10 أشهر, Aramean Democratic Organisation
  9. ^ Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Assyrian Finance Minister, AINA
  10. ^
  11. ^ Prominent Christian Figure Sarkis Aghajan Returns to Iraq
  12. ^ [2]
Preceded by
Nuri Kino
Zinda Magazine Assyrian of the Year
2007 (6756)
Succeeded by
Attiya Gamri