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  • » 02/10/2015, 00.00


    For Erbil archbishop, defeating Islamic State militants needs boots on the ground

    Speaking at the British Parliament, Mgr Warda said, "We don't have much time left". Air strikes are "not enough" to defeat jihadists. Noting that Iraq's Christian communities are on the verge of disappearing, he said that the situation is worse than in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces retake IS-controlled areas near Mosul.

    London (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "We don't have much time left as Christians in this region," said Mgr Bashar Warda, Chaldean archbishop of Erbil, as he pleaded for military action, before a group of cross-party MPs and peers in Westminster.

    For him, air strikes were "not enough" to defeat Islamic State militants and "begged" for western troops to be deployed on the ground to allow Christians who fled Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain to go home.

    In response, a government representative said the international coalition was taking a "comprehensive approach" against IS.

    Mgr Warda's address in parliament was part of the visit the Chaldean archbishop of Erbil is conducting in Great Britain, to plead the cause of Iraqi Christian refugees victims of Islamist violence. In fact, after yesterday's meeting in the British parliament, the prelate met today with the General Synod of the Anglican Church.

    Archbishop Warda told parliamentarians that Iraq's Christian communities had fallen "dramatically" over the last decade - from 1.4 million during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

    At the same time, "As a Catholic I find it hard to say, but I want military action, there is no other way now," Mgr Warda said. "I beg you to focus on the need for military action," he said as he called for the deployment of British troops on the ground.

    For the Chaldean bishop, the situation in Iraq "is worse than in Afghanistan" under the Taliban, because of the growing number of people (especially young) who "want to fight in the ranks of the Daesh", the acronym of the Islamic State's Arabic name - ad-dawla al-islāmiyya.

    Recently, Chaldean Church leaders and Iraqi Christian community leaders have come to recognise, with slightly different emphasis, the need for military action against the jihadists, even if it is an "unpleasant solution."

    Likewise, the Chaldean patriarch, Iraqi bishops and priests have called on Christian families not to leave Iraq. By doing so, they are depriving the country of a small albeit important group whose presence can contribute to its development.

    Meanwhile, backed by US air strikes, Kurdish forces seized some bridgeheads near Mosul, in northern Iraq.

    The advance is the latest push by Kurdish Peshmergas around jihadist-held Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, considered a crucial battleground for an eventual major counteroffensive against the IS group by Iraqi government troops and Kurdish forces.

    On this occasion, coalition military advisers provided "intelligence assistance" to the Kurdish fighters, who are preparing to advance.

    US military sources also said that Iraqi government troops are preparing to launch a major offensive to retake IS-held territory "in the weeks ahead."

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    See also

    28/05/2010 IRAQ
    A new pastoral ministry against the Iraqi exodus, terrorism and economic crisis
    It is the most important and urgent pastoral program of the new bishop of Erbil in Kurdistan. Bishop Warduni: Facing the economic crisis. The diocese of Baghdad comes to the aid of other dioceses.

    10/11/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - IRAQ
    New Primate of England committed to Inter-religious dialogue
    The appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, former Anglican Bishop of Durham was confirmed yesterday by Prime Minister David Cameron. The new leader of the Anglican Communion worked for years as a special envoy of Rowan Williams in Africa and the Middle East. The Vicar of Baghdad stresses his emphasis on dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

    11/05/2016 19:48:00 IRAQ
    For Chaldean Patriarchate, no Christian families are left in Mosul, tax payment a false rumour

    Some reports claim that some Christian families still live under caliphate rule, paying the jizya. For Iraqi Church, only some captive and disabled Christians are left in the city. Car bomb in Baghdad kills scores in crowded market.

    20/08/2014 LEBANON - IRAQ
    Patriarch al-Rahi in Kurdistan for the future of Christians and the fight against Islamists
    The cardinal makes a short one-day stop in Erbil accompanied by civil and religious leaders. He will meet with Kurdish President Barzani and visit the archbishop's see. The trip will focus on the fate of Christians fleeing jihadists and the possible use of force to repel the Islamist threat. The issue of relations with Islam and interfaith dialogue will also be discussed.

    15/06/2011 MIDEAST – GREAT BRITAIN
    With Arab spring, Christians vulnerable to Muslim extremists, says Archbishop of Canterbury
    For Rowan Williams, Muslim extremists are filling the power vacuum left by the fallen dictators. In Egypt and Syria, Christians might suffer ethnic cleansing like in Iraq.

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