The future of Christians in the Middle East
In July 2017, Iraqi troops and Shiite militias fought against ISIS through the old town of Mosul. The air was filled with concrete dust and the stench of rotten human flesh and dung, and the heat punished 110 degrees Fahrenheit. There were corpses, ISIS and civilians, soldiers and caliphate hostages here and there. I stood in the ruins of the Arnuri Mosque. There, the caliph was declared three years ago by the self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr Albagdadi. Doctors tended to be injured soldiers who repeatedly moaned in the suffering I wanted to calm down, so where those who wage war in 2003 kept his screams thousands of miles away. I vividly remember how I wanted to be able to hear at that moment. In less than four years, Pope Francis visited the old town of Mosul. Many remain rubble to this day. Human devastation is immeasurable, and millions of people suffer from the trauma that they endure for generations. However, Pope Francis attended and provided a message of hope. He also called himself a “repentant pilgrim” and sought forgiveness from those who brought war to Iraq. From his remarks, it is reasonable to infer that he believes it is the United States that is making the mistake. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, sent Cardinal Pioragi to the White House in 2003 in hopes of preventing the invasion of the United States with the now well-known diplomatic intervention. Of course, the mission failed, but Pio Ragi’s warning proved to be prophetic. Iraq and much of its territory have fallen into war and turmoil with unpredictable consequences. America hasn’t found a way yet. After the 2003 invasion, the United States showed no particular interest in the plight of Christians. After the first Gulf War in 1991, the Saddam Hussein administration suspiciously viewed Christians as being sympathetic to mainly Christian Americans. The United States was keen to maintain fairness to Iraqi Christians, but it was indifferent and, in any case, of little use to Christians and other targeted minorities. Since 2003, Christians have been targeted on both sides of the rebellion captured in the midst of the Sunni-Shiite civil war initiated by Abmusab Al Zarkawi months after the overthrow of Saddam. From 2003 to 2014, the number of Christians in Iraq decreased by nearly one million to about 450,000 in 2014, most of whom lived in northern Iraq. When Mosul fell, the Christian house was marked with the Arabic N for Nasara (Nazareth, or follower of Jesus). After Mosul, ISIS conquered most of the Nineveh Plain. The rest of the Christians fled to Kurdistan, Iraq, or simply left Iraq altogether. Adjacent Syrian Christians got a little better when the war broke out in 2010. Before the civil war, the number of Christians in Syria exceeded one million, which is about 10% of the population. Today is half that. Most of them fled, but many were killed. When US-backed rebels defeated Mu’ammar Kadafi in Libya, it became yet another haven for al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, like Syria. Twenty-one Coptian Christian immigrant workers in orange jumpsuits marched to a Mediterranean beach and were decapitated in February 2015 when they noticed a connection to a U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay. There were few people. However, this importance was apparent to spectators in the area. Christians in the Middle East are associated with the United States and should be eradicated. In the Iraqi church, ISIS wrote the term “crusade” on the wall. This is yet another connection between local Christians and Westerners. The United States was simply indifferent to all of this. Indeed, military intervention in the Middle East over the last two decades has been disastrous for millions of people, not just Christians and other minorities in the region. But is the United States worthy of all responsibility? Sure, it deserves blame for waging a harmful war, but many others have exacerbated the situation in Iraq. Saddam’s Ba’ath Party government carried out exactly the acts of terrorism and chemical weapons that Pope Francis accused in last year’s aperiodic letter, Fratelli Tutti — and the United Nations, which Francisco praises, was designed to prevent. It was. Then there were Syria and Iran. And it easily supplied people and weapons for many years of rebellion in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iran has begun a buildup of substantive and illegal missiles in Lebanon that violate UN resolutions 1701 and 1559. Through Hezbora, Iran has made the border between Lebanon and Israel perhaps the most volatile in the region. War in the Middle East. Lebanon, once welcomed by Pope John Paul II as a “message” that religious pluralism is possible, is in the midst of a political and economic crisis that has put the nation on the brink of collapse. Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world where Christians play an important role in public culture. It is in many respects the westernmost country, most of which is due to the influence of Christianity and is progressive by regional standards. Perhaps one-third of Lebanon is Christian and most are Maronite Catholics, but their numbers are declining, especially in the dreaded threat of economic crisis and war. Cardinal Butros Lai recently called out to blame both the corrupt elite of Lebanon and Iran’s violation of Lebanon’s neutrality. “There are no two states in one state. There are no two troops in one state,” Cardinal Lai, a Maronite, told an outdoor audience in February. It was a clear reference to Iran and Hezbollah, which many attendees chanted, “Iran, get out.” Hopefully those chantings will be heard in Rome, as the war between Israel and Hezbollah leaves Lebanon in the rubble similar to that of Mosul. Sunlighting between the Vatican itself and the United States in order for the Vatican to favor governments in the Middle East, or Europe and Asia, may be a perfectly sound diplomatic strategy. This was clearly the Vatican’s approach during the Trump administration. However, it must be said that the Trump administration has not started a new war and that Trump himself tried to end some wars. (Trump could even cite just war theory in exercising a proportional response to Iran in his limited U.S. military strike.) Undoubtedly, many Vatican diplomats were with Iran. I felt more uncomfortable with diplomatic relations with the United States than with relations. However, strong diplomatic relations with Iran alone do little to help Christians survive in the Middle East. Now is the time to see what the Vatican offers to help Christians in Iraq and elsewhere. It is not a plan to simply blame the United States for illnesses in Iraq and the Middle East. Pope Francis and the Vatican give little consideration to the conservative taste of many American Catholics. To be fair, many of these Americans were supporters of the voice of the Iraq War, but they had foreign policy and military experience, and in retrospect they were completely out of their depth. It was. (Some of these still prominent Catholics confused and disputed many Americans among those who opposed the Iraq War. They should have apologized and went quietly, but America It turns out that there is a second act in public life.) The public square may have forgotten Iraq and moved on to other disputes with the progressive Pope. But he has not forgotten the Iraq War, and in this sense he offers continuity with his predecessor. (Pope Benedict also expressed serious concern about Iraq and its Christian community at the first meeting with President Bush in 2007.) The future problems of Christians in the Middle East have been the problems of the Pope and politicians for the past millennium. Occurred between. The Council of Clermont launched the First Crusade in response to the Byzantine Emperor’s plea for military assistance to the expanding Turks. Four centuries later, the Council of Basel sought to reunify Greek and Latin, Orthodox and Catholic, and Christians to save Byzantium, now surrounded by Turks. European forces have made various efforts to protect Christians and other ethnic minorities in the Middle East. Always sought to protect almost all Christians from the murdered or exiled Turks. (Probably the most notable success story was Armenia. In the aftermath of genocide, Armenia rebuilt the ancient nation into a modern nation and ensured its survival.) Diplomacy with significantly less influence than before There is no reason to speculate The United States, exhausted for centuries or by 20 years of blood and treasure spills in the Middle East, will offer diplomatic solutions to protect Christianity in the region. In the short term, there are five important areas that define the future of Christianity in the Middle East. First, Lebanon. Unless there is a coordinated diplomatic effort to save Lebanon from its political leadership and from Iran and Hezbollah, which abuse its corrupt leadership, Lebanon will collapse into anarchy. Second, Egypt. Although Copts are the largest Christian beings in the Middle East, they are also targets of open discrimination and often violence. Until Egyptian Christians are given equal citizenship, their numbers will probably decline. Third, Armenia. Modern Armenia was founded following the 1915 genocide by the Ottoman Empire. The formation of political communities often reminds us that different people are the only way to survive. Fourth, Christians in the Arab Gulf. Millions of migrants and domestic workers live in the Arab Gulf, but many do not have recognized rights, including the right to worship. Fifth, Shiite Crescent Christians. The number of Christians in Iran, Iraq and Syria is declining, but totals over one million. These Christians may have been in mind when Pope Francis historically visited Najaf to meet Ayatollah Sistani. Rather than blaming after a disaster has occurred, you need skills to anticipate and prevent an imminent disaster. Over time, it will become clear whether Francis (or the Biden administration) has any vision for Iraqi minorities, or Christians and other minorities throughout the region. Some policy experts in the field — American Syrian Christians at the American Institute for Peace, Joshua Lefkowitz and Eusif Karian — recently proposed policies aimed at decentralization and local governance. Exists there. Such models can be replicated elsewhere in the Middle East where excessive centralization increases inefficiencies and corruption and reduces social credibility. To solve these problems, most diplomats will probably (although never say so) spend time elsewhere. “God saved us from American help,” said the Serbs, as many civilians were killed in a US-led bombing of Nazi-occupied Belgrade during World War II. The Serbian saying, despite what many believe, is worthy of the United States’ involvement in the Middle East with the best intentions. But the desire behind the intervention was not softened by prudence. On their side, Middle Eastern Christians have endured government discrimination, persecution by neighbors, indifference from Americans, slaughter on the Mediterranean coast, and blasphemy of Mesopotamian tombs, but they are still there. .. Some believe that the Catholic President and the Progressive Pope may work together to achieve a grand vision, a liberal version of the alliance between Ronald Reagan and John Paul II. Indeed, to the extent of partnerships that have disrupted Soviet communism, it is difficult to be unskeptical of such partnerships that bear fruit. And what are your goals? Neither has a particularly strict policy on human rights abuses in China. This is the most important issue for the Western and world order. Perhaps the president and pope have a more humble agenda. After Francis visits Iraq, Christians in the Middle East want them to be on the agenda. Francis does not simply think that his work ended with a statement from the ruins.