ASIA/IRAQ - US sanctions also hit Ryan "the Chaldean" leader of the "Babylonian Brigades"

Saturday, 20 July 2019 middle east   oriental churches   religious minorities   geopolitics   paramilitary groups

Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - The US Treasury Department has imposed targeted sanctions against four Iraqi politicians, among whom the names of the former governor of the province of Nineveh, Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan, of the former governor of the province of Salah ad-Din, Ahmed al-Jubouri, and Ryan al-Kildani (Ryan "the Chaldean"), leader of the "Babylon" political party. The three are accused of corruption, theft of public money, abuse of office for personal interests and violation of human rights.
In particular, according to what was reported by satellite television networks, Ryan al Kildani is accused of being involved in the abusive appropriation of agricultural land in the Nineveh Plain, and of guiding paramilitary groups who with their presence on the territory are actually hindering the return of tens of thousands of displaced people, who fled from the region that fell under the control of the Islamic State (Daesh) jihadists in 2014. The Party led by Ryan al Kildani arose as a political evolution of the so-called "Babylonian Brigades", paramilitary formation born in the years when large parts of the Iraqi territory had been conquered by Daesh jihadists. The Babylonian Brigades have always claimed their label of anti-Daesh militia composed of Christians, although their organic connection with Shiite militias such as the Hashd al Shaabi was documented.
The Babylon Movement obtained a discreet affirmation at the Iraqi election in May 2018, conquering two of the five parliamentary seats reserved for Christian minorities. After the elections (see Fides, 17/5/2018), critical voices against the unscrupulousness of the Babylon Movement accused the political formation of having prevailed thanks to the votes received also by Shiite voters.
On 17 and 18 July, representatives of the Chaldean Church took part in the conference on religious freedom and minority defense organized in Washington on the initiative of the US State Department. US Vice-President Mike Pence, speaking at the meeting, expressed words of satisfaction regarding the sanctions against Ryan al Kildani and other Iraqi politicians.
Recently, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 4/7/2019), the leaders of the Churches in Iraq have released a common declaration to deplore the modus operandi of Rayan al-Kildani, considered disrespectful to reality and symbols dear to ecclesial sensitivity. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 20/7/2019)