First, the infrastructure would need to be rebuilt since there are whole villages that are "like ghost towns" and houses that have not been occupied for two years, Doran explained. Then there would have to be economic revitalization of the region, with the help of outside investors.
Finally, efforts would have to be made towards "reconciliation" of the various groups in the region – Christians, Sunnis, Yazidis, and Kurds.
In Defense of Christians is hoping for a congressional resolution to support the policy, which would ultimately have to be proposed by the Iraqis themselves.
"We the organizers of this conference are currently advocating for a new congressional resolution that voices U.S. support for the government of Iraq as it moves to create this province," Robert Nicholson, executive director of the Philos Project, stated at the press conference.
The province would be semi-autonomous and part of a newly-federalized Iraq, where "power and governance" is relegated to the "lowest level," Nicholson explained.
The idea isn't new, advocates maintain, as the Iraqi government had planned to create three new provinces in January of 2014, months before Islamic State took over Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.
"The first community that needs to be helped and empowered" is the Assyrian Christians, Nicholson said. They would need "administrative autonomy in their local affairs" and a security force that would be trained and equipped, along with an "international rapid deployment force based in the Nineveh Plain" and legal protections for their culture and language.
They should still have the rights and duties of Iraqi citizens, IDC said, insisting that the area will not be a "ghetto" for minorities. However, if they need a safe zone they must be self-sufficient, and the Nineveh Plain would provide the best opportunity for that.
Would the de-centralization of Iraq lead to further sectarian conflict?
"I think because it wasn't decentralized, the sectarian conflict is precisely what led to ISIS," Doran stated.
"In other words, the Sunni populations of Anbar and Nineveh province who felt alienated by the Tehran-dominated central government, those conditions led precisely to many people in the population welcoming ISIS as an alternative to what they regarded to be an oppressive central government."
(Story continues below)
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Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.