1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: Archbishop Of Erbil: Is The US Abandoning Christians At Risk In Iraq?

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Archbishop Bashar Warda, one of the leading voices on behalf of
persecuted and displaced Christians in Iraq, released today an urgent
statement regarding the retreat of U.S. personnel from key areas in the
country.

“We are gravely concerned regarding the recent draw down of the U.S.
presence in Iraq,” the archbishop said. “Having faced genocide at the
hands of ISIS, our shattered communities have drawn immense hope from
the promise of the American commitment to Iraqi minority communities
spearheaded by the Vice President.”

Warda, as Archbishop of Erbil in the Kurdistan region, received tens
of thousands of Christian and Yazidi refugees displaced from the Nineveh
Plain after ISIS took large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and
declared a caliphate in 2012.

“The 2011 pullout by the last administration created the vacuum which
allowed ISIS to emerge,” the archbishop said. “A new vacuum created by
American disengagement will likely meet with a similarly unhappy result.
We urgently await clarification from the U.S. government concerning its
commitments to the endangered minorities of Iraq.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department ordered the evacuation of all
non-emergency U.S. government employees at the American embassy in
Baghdad and consulate in Erbil. The Trump administration said the order
was given in relation to a threat connected to Iran. Iraqi authorities
have expressed doubt about the threat. U.S. lawmakers have asked
President Donald Trump for more information about the situation.

Stephen Rasche, counsel for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of
Erbil, told CNA that Archbishop Warda is responding to this partial
evacuation.

“We are responding particularly today to unclear information over the
past several days from various sources within the U.S. government that
the U.S. is preparing to pull back, at least in part, from its prior
commitments regarding support to endangered minorities in Iraq,” Rasche
said.

Rasche said that Christians and other minorities are increasingly
nervous because “the Church in Iraq has yet to receive a clear statement
from anyone in the U.S. Government as to what the drawdown of personnel
means for efforts to help these minorities.”

On October 25, 2017, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence committed to defending persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

He told a crowd gathered in Washington D.C. for the annual summit of
In Defense of Christians (IDC) that the US “will no longer rely on the
United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in
the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups.”

“The United States will work hand in hand from this day forward with
faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are
persecuted for their faith. This is the moment, now is the time, and
America will support these people in their hour of need,” Pence also
said.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)


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