The latest attacks in Baghdad underscore Iraq’s complexity. A handful of Shia militia groups backed by Iran act like puppet masters, pulling Iraq’s political strings and threatening Iraqi minorities.
On Friday, analyst Hussain Abdul-Hussain highlighted potential consequences of keeping Shia militants around:
Kataib Hezbollah has been busy building a “statelet” within Iraq. If the government does not act quickly, it will soon become stronger than the Iraqi state itself; it will dominate Iraq in the way Hezbollah dominates in Lebanon and will seal Iraq’s slide into failure as a client state of Iran.
On Saturday, Hashd al Shaabi supporters set fire to Kurdish Democratic Party offices, stirring tensions between Kurds and the Iraqi government. Security forces were slow to respond, TRT World reports, and “could not do much in reaction to the incident.”
Last week, a coalition of pro-Iranian militias agreed to a conditional ceasefire with the U.S. Samuel* with Redemptive Stories says the truce hinges upon a complete U.S. troop withdrawal by December 31st. “It creates an opportunity for the U.S. to pull out troops, which is its stated desire,” he explains.
Will troop withdrawal cost minorities their safety? The U.S. wants “the Iraqi government to deal with the Iranian militias that are across the country, and particularly up there in the north with the Sinjar province,” Samuel says.
“So far, they have been unwilling to do so.”
The conditional ceasefire described above and a Sinjar agreement signed several days ago are two of many multifaceted issues clouding Iraq’s future.
“It’s like this quagmire, for lack of a better term, that affects Iraqi politics, Iranian politics, U.S. politics, and then also Turkish [politics],” Samuel says. “I’m sure Russia’s got a hand in there somewhere as well.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Ask the Lord to protect and sustain Iraqi Christians.
- Pray for ministry partners as they assess security changes, and how those changes will affect their ability to help persecuted Christians.