For Chaldean Patriarch, Iraq is moving towards civil war whilst politicians are only interested in oil
by Mar Louis Raphael I Sako
In a note to AsiaNews, Mar Sako highlights the country's terrible situation: millions of refugees and no news about the two nuns and three children kidnapped in Mosul. Civil war and partition are increasingly possible. Too concerned about oil, politicians have failed to provide an answer. The patriarch calls on Christians to pray.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "It is with deep sorrow" that "I am going to explain the situation" in Iraq, in order to raise awareness "about the current situation" and foster an atmosphere of "mindful solidarity," said Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch, in a message about what has been happening in Iraq in the past few weeks, perhaps the darkest and most difficult period in its recent history.

The leaders of the al Qaeda-linked ISIS group, which is sowing terror not only among Christians but also among Muslims, have launched an appeal to all the faithful to come to fight in Iraq and Syria and contribute to the "building of an Islamic state."

Indeed, fighting is raging in many parts of the country whilst yesterday's first session of the new parliament in Baghdad was marked by further rifts, ending in a deadlock that included the failure to elect a new speaker.

Against this background of war and devastation, Chaldean Patriarch Mar Sako speaks out. Last week, he led the Synod of the Chaldean bishops in the north of the country.

AsiaNews received and is publishing his note, in which His Beatitude reminds us that "the situation is very fragile" and that "no one is safe." In it, he confirms the danger of the country's partition and urges Christians not to despair. He also renews his call for prayers "at this particularly difficult time.

The Chaldean Patriarch's message about Iraq's recent tragic events follows:

It is with deep sorrow that I am going to explain the situation in Iraq, with the aim of raising awareness about the current situation and foster an atmosphere of mindful solidarity.

It is no mystery that the situation is very fragile and that therefore no one is safe. De facto, the militias of the (al-Qaeda-linked Sunni jihadist group) Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still occupy, for now, Mosul and the entire surrounding region. Kurds control Kirkuk. The Baghdad government no longer controls the main Sunni cities whilst the new cabinet has not yet been set up.

On the horizon, we do not see any sign that might give hope for a political solution that can ensure greater security. The risk of a general collapse is great and no one can predict what future developments will be. Meanwhile, as the winds of war grow stronger across the country, ISIS militias reign in Mosul and in most of western Iraq.

The day before yesterday, two Chaldean nuns, along with two orphan girls and a 12-year-old boy were abducted in broad daylight in Mosul. So far, we have no official and firm information about their fate.

There are millions of refugees.

Are we heading towards a civil war? God forbid, but everything seems to be pointing in that direction. It might take a year, two years or more. Everyone expects that the most likely and tragic outcome to this crisis will be the partition of the country into cantons along ethnic and radicalised confessional lines. However, if the ultimate goal is division, one wonders why we should get there through war, and not through dialogue and (political) agreement?

We Christians, who are inspired by the events of the Gospel, feel we are living the mystery of Christ asleep in the boat (Mark 4:35-41), because in front of the alarming indifference and sad neglect of the international community, waves are rising and becoming more menacing!

Despite everything, we do not despair. We are therefore invited and pressed to awake Christ, to take advantage of our faith and continue our journey on a calm sea. Unfortunately, I cannot see to what extent we can rely on politicians and the governing class. In the vast majority, they appear to be concerned only with their own interests, in particular oil!

We welcome with joy the return of families to their homes. They have just gone through the experience of a new exodus, after fleeing the great Christian city of Qaraqosh a few days ago. Today they are back and we hope that events like this do not happen again.

We take this opportunity to renew our heartfelt thanks to all the people of good will, who are working on our behalf, and to all the faithful who are praying for us and who are close to us at this particularly difficult time.