ASIA/IRAQ - US Group to Trump: To create "protected areas" for Iraqi Christians is part of our "national security interests"

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 middle east   oriental churches   religious minorities   jihadists  


Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The new US administration is called upon to designate a "Safe Zone" for Iraqi Christians in the Nineveh Plain, and other "safe zones" including Yazidis and Turkmen. And that is because Christians, Yazidis, and Turkmen are the "natural allies of the U.S". Protecting these communities is not only in U.S. "national security interests", but is also "consistent with the values of the American people". These are the arguments used in the appeal addressed recently to Trump’s administration by non-profit US organization In Defense of Christians (IDC). The safe zone would include Tal Afar, Sinjar, and the Nineveh Plain. President Trump, says the statement released by IDC - said that he will adopt the necessary measures to protect Christians in the Middle East. This can start with the creation of a security zone in the province of Nineveh, to help those persecuted minority religious communities to rebuild their lives. Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq are "reliable ally" for the United States, the leaders of IDC note that since 2003, year of the US invasion of Iraq, "there were no US casualties in Iraq at the hands of Yazidis, Christians, or Turkmen". IDC believes that a "safe zone" in northern Iraq to protect minorities can be achieved through a "multinational force", beginning with "coalition troops" already in the region.
According to In Defence of Christians, "There are precedents for such interventions by the U.S. and its allies", which should be used as "models to protect these ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq".
In Defense of Christians had already promoted last September in Washington (see Fides 10/09/2016) a National Convention on the theme "Beyond Genocide: Preserving Christianity in the Middle East". On that occasion, the idea of putting pressure on the US Congress so that it would support the creation of a "protected area" for religious minorities in the Nineveh Plain, with the consent of the local authorities and in collaboration with both the central government in Baghdad and with policy makers of the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan had already taken shape. US Congressmen attending the convention - organized in collaboration with acronyms such as Philos Project, the Armenian National Committee of America and the Institute of Global Engagement - in that circumstance had already expressed their support to the initiative. There were negative reactions to this strategy from several Iraqi political sectors: the intention to submit to the US Congress a resolution sponsored by both Republican and Democrat politicians to demand the establishment of an autonomous province in the Nineveh Plain "under the banner of the protection of minorities", was labeled by Shiite parliamentary Ferdous al Awadi, a very active representative of the Iraqi national Alliance, as an attempt to implement "the infamous draft of Joe Biden to divide Iraq and weaken it". The US - the Shiite political representative told Iraqi sources - "are preparing to divide Iraq through an already prepared plan, which must be realized after the defeat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh)". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 14/02/2017)