Iraqi Christians blame US government for IS invasion, Chaldean priest says

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Chiqui Guyjoco
Reuters/Wissm Al-Okili)People gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad’s mainly Shi’ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 11, 2016
Father Douglas al-Bazi, a Chaldean priest who runs a church and displacement center in Ainkawa, Iraq, has visited the U.S. this week to raise awareness about the plight of Iraqi Christians who he says blame the U.S. government for letting the Islamic State take over their homes and villages during the Iraq invasion in 2014. The priest said the displaced Iraqi Christians think the American government has prioritized finding water on Mars over saving them.

“My people, they [ask why] NASA can find water on Mars but they were not able to find the Islamic State [when] they were just in the middle of desert by hundreds, [with] Toyota cars everywhere,” Bazi said during a press conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, May 10.

“[They were] just in the middle of the desert and [the U.S.] was not able to find them by satellite. This is a disappointment,” he added.

Bazi was referring to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s discovery of water on Mars in September 2015, which was celebrated by many people worldwide.

After the American troops had completely withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, radical extremists surfaced and easily invaded Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as well as most parts of northern Iraq in 2014. The invasion led to displacements and genocide of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis in the region. However, it was only until IS was set to attack the Kurdish town of Erbil that the U.S. started its airstrike campaign despite possessing significant intelligence beforehand.

“So the Yazidis and Christians, they ask why America just helped those people and they forget about us? Also another group called Shabak, they had the same feeling,” the priest said.

Most of the money coming in as foreign government aid does not go to Christians and other religious minorities since the money is being directed through the Iraqi government, according to Christian Post. In order for the fund to reach Christian refugees, it must be sent directly through churches and dioceses that are helping them.

Bazi, who serves the Mar Elias Church and refugee camp in Ainkawa, was also a former hostage by the Islamic militants.