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ISIS May Expel Iraq’s Christians for Good

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, has recently overtaken the major Iraqi city of Mosul [1], causing an exodus of more than 500,000 that took some of Iraq’s last remaining Christians with it. The city itself, mentioned in the Bible as Nineveh, has harbored Christianity since the very dawn of its tradition and was one of the last havens for Iraqi Christian communities.

Despite these deep roots, past U.S. policy has ignored the vulnerable position of Christians in the Middle East. Andrew Doran wrote a strikingly prescient piece [2] for TAC almost exactly one year ago, saying:

[D]emocracy in the Middle East is proving less tolerant than the regimes it has succeeded. Unless swift action is taken, these democracies will evolve into bastions of intolerance and violence beyond our comprehension. These democracies will not march ineluctably toward liberty and pluralism, as some naïve optimists continue to forecast despite the evidence, but will end in the ordered barbarism of Saudi Arabia, where punishments include beheading and crucifixion[.]

As it so happens, ISIS is the jihadist organization renounced by al-Qaeda [3] for its brutality. Maliki’s abusive government [4], propped up by $20 billion in American aid, allowed Mosul to be claimed with alarming ease. One CNN article reports [5] that “[p]olice and soldiers ran form their posts rather than put up a fight, abandoning their weapons as they went. The militants took their place in the city’s boulevards and buildings.” Marc Lynch of the Washington Post argues [6] that the Iraqi military isn’t resisting is because Maliki has lost its loyalty:

The most important answers lie inside Iraqi politics. Maliki lost Sunni Iraq through his sectarian and authoritarian policies. His repeated refusal [7] over long years to strike an urgently needed political accord with the Sunni minority, his construction of corrupt, ineffective and sectarian state institutions, and his heavy-handed military repression in those areas are the key factors [8] in the long-developing disintegration of Iraq.

If ISIS succeeds, the regnant regime will be the “ordered barbarism” Doran foretold. In the hierarchy of a new caliphate, there will be no room for diversity or religious tolerance; there will no longer be any room for Christianity. According to a World magazine report [9], most of the Christians, so long a presence in Mosul, have already been driven out:

“Ninety-nine percent of the Christians have left Mosul,” pastor Haitham Jazrawi said today following the takeover of Iraq’s second largest city—and its ancient Christian homeland—by al-Qaeda-linked jihadist militants.

Catholic Archbishop Amil Shamaaoun Nona is reported [10] to have said that the decline has been occurring since the U.S.-led campaign began. “In 2003 there were still 35,000 faithful living in Mosul,” Nona said. “Three thousand were still there in early 2014. Now probably not one is left here, and that is tragic[.]” According to Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute notes [11] that, once the Christians are gone, they may not be coming back:

When the army does eventually succeed in reversing jihadi control in Mosul, it may be too late for the Christians. Once Middle Eastern Christians flee to the West, they don’t return.

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#1 Comment By Lucas On June 13, 2014 @ 8:23 am

The genocide and exodus of christians in the middle east is the result of Israeli/jewish control of US foreign policy.

What is both ironic, pathetic and sad is that evangelical christians are complicit in sacrificing their christian brothers and sisters due to their support for Israel. Evangelicals have some deluded belief that Israel is a reincarnation of ancient Judea instead of the profiteering warmongering apartheid state that it is.

Thankfully no other christian are not as gullible and niaive as evangelicals. Protestants are distancing themselves from Israel and condemning the violence toward christians.

Jews will speak up for jews around the world
Muslims will speak up for muslims around the world

Christians will not and its another reason the Church and its denominations are withering and dying in many areas of the world.

#2 Comment By Cbalducc On June 13, 2014 @ 11:07 am

Blame the British. They were the ones who drew a line around a bunch of squabbling tribes and created Iraq in the first place.

#3 Comment By Nathan On June 13, 2014 @ 11:39 am

Churchill, THE GREATEST MAN OF THE CENTURY (we couldn’t remove the bust of him from the White House fast enough could we?) is the one who actually drew the map of Iraq, doing something the Ottomans were far too smart to consider doing. All he cared about was the oil, there was no talk of “white man’s burden” or bringing civilization to the heathens. Whe poison gas was used against Arab villagers in the country who had the audicity to rebel against the British something they had every right to do (how ungrateful of them for not wanting to be ruled by most civilized country on the planet) WC was quoted as saying that he had no problems using gas against uncivilized Arab tribesmen. How noble of him.

#4 Comment By William Dalton On June 13, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

Lucas has it about right. American policy towards Christians in the Middle East has been, at best, one of benign neglect. Rather than rearm the Maliki government or, worse, engage in another military intervention in Iraq, American diplomacy should focus upon its putative “allies”, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to provide permanent refuge to the Assyrian Christians who continue to suffer the results of our benighted war against Saddam Hussein. Lord knows those three countries have too long a record of making life miserable, if not intolerable. for the Christians already in their midst. They have a lot to atone for, and this is the time for them to begin doing so.

Failing that, we had better hope our Kurdish “allies” will accept and protect these refugees. They, at least, have their own army in Iraq that will fight to defend their own territory.

#5 Comment By Mont D. Law On June 13, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

(Unless swift action is taken)

American’s are so cute. What exactly do you imagine you can do, swift or slow?

#6 Comment By Hooly On June 13, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

Sad, this is, Christianity sprang from Middle Eastern soil, now it will be uprooted. But isn’t this a part of the march of history?? Christians uprooted Pagans in the ancient world, Catholics uprooted the Aztec/Maya/Inca in the New World, Muslims were expelled from Iberia, Jews and Yiddish civilization disappeared from Eastern Europe, the Orthodox in Anatolia, etc, etc. If you are an Middle Eastern Christian, this is what it must have felt to be a Muslim Moor in the Emirate of Granada the moment Ferdinand and Isabella conquered in 1492.

#7 Comment By tz On June 13, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

Saddam was right. He said the Christians were the only trustworthy group. He showed (as did Assad in Hama) what is required. Like our Iran friend the Shah. If it takes practical genocide to suppress people who have been warring for centuries?

But “Democratic?”. It is perfectly democratic. 51% vote to rape, pillage, and enslave the 49%. Unlike the 1% here in the US.

#8 Comment By Hooly On June 13, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

@William Dalton and @Lucas,

Why in the world would Middle Eastern Christians want to stay in the Middle East at this point? A better solution is for these Middle Eastern Christians to relocate enmass to the United States of America. Just as it is safer for Jews to be in Israel than it is Europe, and Muslims safer in Bosnia than Serbia/Croatia, …

We’ll see the resolve of God-fearing Conservative Christian Republicans on this issue, it would be interesting to see whether their Christianity will be defeated by their anti-immigrant attitude. But then again, looking at the hysteria over Hispanics, maybe a group of brown skinned Christians won’t be welcomed by their co-religionists after all. We shall see.

#9 Comment By An Anachronistic Apostle On June 13, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

If you are an Middle Eastern Christian, this is what it must have felt to be a Muslim Moor in the Emirate of Granada the moment Ferdinand and Isabella conquered in 1492. — Mr. Hooly

Alternatively … if you are a Middle Eastern Christian … you may wish to consider yourself as being no worse off than the Iberians who were put to the Islamic sword, by those invading the Peninsula from the Maghreb in 711 AD.

#10 Comment By An Anachronistic Apostle On June 13, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

Why in the world would Middle Eastern Christians want to stay in the Middle East at this point? — Mr. Hooly

Probably for reasons closely proximate to those of the Aztec/Mayan/Inca … of earlier reference by Mr. Hooly … when such human beings failed to migrate to Lower Manhattan.

#11 Comment By Hooly On June 13, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

@An Anachronistic Apostle,

Or Aztec, Maya and Inca who ‘were put to the Christian sword’ in the New World. These Abrahamic religions are lovely aren’t they??

#12 Comment By Elias On June 13, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

Don’t worry about the Muslims “uprooting ” the Christians and rather concentrate on the actions of Zionist Jews and their partners in crimes the Christian fundamentalists and the neo cons who have created a hell hole in the middle east on behalf world Zionism.

#13 Comment By Alan Orsborn On June 13, 2014 @ 11:43 pm

I agree with all that Lucas has just written, evangelical Christians in the US are highly sectarian and prejudiced against Orthodox Christians. As a result, they are not supporting their own brothers in the faith, their own coreligionists, for whom Christ died.

Credit must also be given to our ruling elites for the successful execution of the worst national security disaster in our history, the USA invasion of Iraq, a country that posed no threat to us, had no weapons of mass destruction and had no presence of al-Qaeda at the time.

Unintended consequences.

#14 Comment By Jamie Estevez On June 14, 2014 @ 3:16 am

I’m rooting for Assad, the Iranians and Hezbollah to destroy the ISIS and put all of its psychopaths under the sword. I have no faith in the United States government. As most of us who read and comment at AMCONMAG know the United States is directly responsible for this mess in Iraq, in Libya and in Syria as well. The blood of innocent Iraqis and Libyans and Syrians is on the hands of Obama and Bush and Cheney and Biden and Kerry and Rice and Rumsfield and McCain and so on and so forth. They are murderers as far as I am concerned. Not just of Iraqi and Syrian Christians who’s once vibrant communities have been devastated by the effects of US foreign policy but for all who have suffered, Muslim and Druze and Kurd regardless of what sect and ethnic group they belong to. God grant rest to the souls of the innocents who have lost their lives in these conflicts and may God bring to justice those in Washington DC who believe they can destroy entire nations leaving death and destruction and walk free because they wealthy and powerful. They will see perfect justice when they sit before their Lord and Judge Jesus Christ as we all will on that day.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 15, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

The more I hear about ISIS, the more I understand who they the less concerned I get about christians getting the boot anymore than Pres Hussein gave christians the boot.

As for the Kurds, never so swindling a bunch manipulated the fruits out of those who labored for it.

#16 Comment By EliteComInc. On June 15, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

“Like our Iran friend the Shah. If it takes practical genocide to suppress people who have been warring for centuries?”

The Shah did not engage in genocide nor did he approve of genocide. The country was pressured with a shortage of basic needs largely because western powers froze Iranian oil assets. That pressure led to riots and in response to the unrests the controlling miliatry under the Shah engaged in repressive measures, and it mattered not who you were.

If you were associated in any manner with further destabilizing the country — you became a target.

#17 Comment By EliteComInc. On June 15, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

Laughing. Ohh I am supposed to embrace the Kurds, not after looking at their history — hardly. They are akin to the illegal immigrants here in the US.

Opportunists that will pitch a tent and holler foul to anyone who will listen.

Pres Hussein protected them from Turkish reprisals and he was rewarded by their support for Iranians during the war with Iran.

#18 Comment By Winston On June 16, 2014 @ 1:01 am

[13]
America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now threatening Baghdad, was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three U.S. allies that have dual agendas in the war on terror.

[14]
ISIS menace al-Qaeda in Derna

Same argument works for Libya and Syria proxy wars:
“It goes without saying that if you start a war, you should be sure that the end result will be demonstrably better than the situation prior to the conflict.
Only someone who has lost touch with reality could possibly claim Iraq today is more stable or that life has become better for its inhabitants.
Blair accepts not a shred of responsibility and still refuses to apologise for taking us to war. So let us examine what he says point by point – and show his false logic for what it is.”

[15]

Blair’s bizarre claims – and the reality: One of Britain’s most distinguished generals says former Prime Minister is in ‘complete denial’ over Iraq

#19 Comment By Winston On June 16, 2014 @ 1:02 am

see also

[16]
Iraq Crisis: Created by Bush & Blair and Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia
Bush and Blair said Iraq was a war on Islamic fascism. They lost

#20 Comment By EliteComInc. On June 16, 2014 @ 4:07 am

The only observation I would make about ISIS is that are probably not Islamic fascists. This is an ongoing struggle between the Sunni, Shia and a smaller extent the Kurds.

If these are the former Bathists their ultimate goal is socio-political security.

I am not sure how this got turned upside down. But the Shia linked with Iran and it’s ongoing Islamic revolution are more likely to be exporters of religious zeal of concern. Pres Sadaam Hussein had christians in his cabinet.

I am befuddled that no one seems surprised that Christians have been fleeing the country since we invaded as opposed to before or after the first Gulf Conflict.

There’s a message in that.