Iraq: As chaos grows, priest fears civil war

Church in Baghdad
Iraq: As chaos grows, priest fears civil war | Fr Kais Mumtaz, Chaldean priest, Kirkuk, Islamists, General Qassem Soleimani, Baghdad, President Hassan Rohani

As the chaotic situation develops, Fr Kais Mumtaz a Chaldean priest in Kirkuk says he fears the country is spiralling towards civil war. “Everything seems to be leading towards a military management crisis only, towards civil war. And now this scares many Christians even more than the advance of the Islamists: the war makes no distinction between soldiers, terrorists and civilians. It strikes Christians, Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites in the same way”, he said.

Fr Kaiz said Iran has sent General Qassem Soleimani to Baghdad, and Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a press conference he did not rule out collaboration with Washington against the Sunni militia jiahdists of ISIL “if we see that the USA begin to oppose the terrorists in Iraq or elsewhere.

“At the same time, the Iraqi Shia Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and even the leaders of the Iranian Shiite militia Moqtada al Sadr and Asaib Ahl al Haq have called civilians to take up arms against the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq of the Levant. In recent days, after the fall of Mosul in the hands of ISIL, the same Iraqi Shiite President Nuri al-Maliki said he was ready to arm anyone who had decided to fight against the terrorists.”

He said: “But the advance of the militia of the ISIL was possible only because a part of the Sunni population supports them against the central government and because the army has fled, leaving weapons and vehicles in their hands. If the only way chosen is that of military sectarian clash, this will lead to the destruction of the country”.

On Wednesday, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Sako I Raphael proposed the creation of a “national unity government” as a political response to the sectarian divisions that could lead to the dismemberment of Iraq.