ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch: Christians used as a "token of exchange" in political games on the Nineveh Plain

Tuesday, 6 September 2016 wars   oriental churches   international politics   sectaniarism   jihadists  


Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - If and when the Iraqi lands will be reclaimed from the domain of the jihadists of the Islamic State, the interim political settlement to be considered for the villages with a Christian majority in the Nineveh Plain could become "self-administrative". In any case, after realizing the return of refugees to their homes and the restoration of general stability, the inhabitants of that area should also be ensured the opportunity to choose through a free referendum whether they want to remain under the central government in Baghdad or if they prefer to be part of the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan or even place themselves under the "Sunni state". These are the possible scenarios opened on the future of the Nineveh Plain that are proposed in a document of analysis and reflection on the Iraqi political situation, released yesterday, Monday, September 5, by Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Luis I.
In the message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Primate of the Chaldean Church emphasizes that since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime a real consolidation process of democratic foundations has not yet been inaugurated in Iraq, and it has not even begun "putting the right person in the right place, based on qualifications and not favoritism" Since then - says Louis Raphael I - the number of Christians in Iraq has fallen sharply. The Patriarch questions the future of the region after the defeat of Daesh, and records the signals of a "pre-arranged plan to secure the political structure of Iraq", where Christians and other minorities are not guaranteed the conditions that ensure at least the security and continuity of presence.
"Maybe - recognizes the Patriarch – one could treasure the widespread sympathy generated from their suffering", but to do this one must first "put aside divisions and maintain unity, cohesion and cooperation". Instead - emphasizes the Primate of the Chaldean Church, with a targeted reference – there are "political hunters" trying to use Christians "to obtain certain" advantages. According to the Patriarch, "Christians are likely to become a token of exchange" for the stability and the future structure of the region.
The Primate of the Chaldean Church reaffirms that the political process in Iraq was not correct from the beginning, since it was built based on sectarian and partisan "quotas". The release of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain according to the Patriarch might hold a glimmer of hope for Christians born in those lands. But it will take time to rebuild trust with other ethnic and religious groups of the region, otherwise "the hemorrhage outflow of migration will continue, even from safe areas". Also because - says Luis Raphael - "one should bear in mind that a military victory over the ISIS jihadists does not mean solving the problem of the widespread of extremist ideology, which must be dismantled". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 06/09/2016)