Chaldean Pa­tri­arch calls for Chris­tian mili­tias not to be armed

The Kurdish Globe - - SPORTS NEWS -

Pa­tri­arch Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean pa­tri­arch, last week urged the US not to arm Chris­tian forces fight­ing the Is­lamic State ISIS in the Mid­dle East.

"There are no ' Chris­tian mili­tias', but only politi­cized groups and sim­ple peo­ple who are in des­per­ate need of a salary," he said. "The re­main­ing Chris­tians in Iraq are only the poor and those be­long­ing to the mid­dle class—among them there are 100,000 dis­placed peo­ple."

"It is a to­tal mess," Sako added. "Ev­ery­one wants to ex­ploit the Chris­tians of the Nin­eveh Plain for their am­bi­tions and po­lit­i­cal in- ter­ests. It is an area with dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups and re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties. I am afraid that all these talks will turn the Nin­eveh Plain into a con­tin­u­ing con­flict re­gion, and in this case, no Chris­tian will re­turn to their homes.”

"Chris­tians, if they want to have a fu­ture, must in­te­grate them­selves with the in­sti­tu­tions and fol­low the le­git­i­mate au­thor­i­ties that gov­ern the place where they live," he said. "And if the U.S. re­ally wants to de­feat Daesh [ISIS], they have to sup­port the reg­u­lar armies that are part of the cen­tral govern­ment and the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dis­tan govern­ment, in­stead of cre­at­ing sec­tar­ian mili- tias.”

The Pa­tri­arch was re­spond­ing to a de­fens­espend­ing bill cur­rently in dis­cus­sion by the US Con­gress and Se­nate. On the bill, a re­port said: "The com­mit­tee be­lieves that the United States should sup­port ap­pro­pri­ately vet ef­fec­tive in­dige­nous groups, such as Iraqi Chris­tian mili­tias, with a na­tional se­cu­rity mis­sion."

Steve Oshana, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of A De­mand for Ac­tion – a cam­paign group that has pushed for the le­git­i­macy of Chris­tian mili­tias to be rec­og­nized – pre­vi­ously told Chris­tian To­day the move was a "huge step for­ward".

"This is sig­nif­i­cant be- cause Chris­tian forces in Iraq and Syria have spent the past 18 months build­ing ca­pac­ity and in Syria one group has al­ready re­ceived sup­port from the US," he said.

Con­gress­man Jeff Forten­berry last week com­mended the bill for ex­pand­ing pro­tec­tions for re­li­gious mi­nori­ties in Iraq.

"Two months ago, Con­gress de­clared that ISIS is com­mit­ting geno­cide against Chris­tians, Yezidis, and other mi­nori­ties. The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has now taken con­crete steps to sup­port the vic­tims," he said.

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