Iraqi militia groups supported by Iran have been seizing Christian property in Baghdad, including homes, businesses, and churches, in a process described as “ethnic cleansing” by Iraqi Christian community leaders.
The goal of this campaign is nothing less than the complete expulsion of Christians from Baghdad, according to leaders from the Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac communities, as reported by The Foreign Desk.
Similar purges have been conducted in rural Iraq, where either the Islamic State or Iran-backed Shiite militia units have wiped out some of the world’s oldest Christian communities.
The Foreign Desk recalls that ISIS originally said Christians could remain as subjects in its territory, provided they paid the jizya tax Islamic law requires of non-Muslims, or converted to Islam, but later ISIS abandoned those provisions and began cleansing Christians from the “caliphate.”
The purge of Christians has been shockingly effective, one of the most brutal and devastating ethnic cleansing campaigns in history, although not generally reported as such by Western media. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sacco notes in the Foreign Desk piece that Christians have been eliminated from the captive city of Mosul for the first time in Iraq’s history.
Now the effort to ethnically cleanse Christians from Baghdad is under way, with Sacco describing militia gangsters rampaging through Baghdad, seizing property and forcing Christians to flee the city.
The former Anglican vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, who was forced out of his parish in November 2014, also spoke recently about a “terrible onslaught of Islamic jihadism” that killed or drove off most of his congregation, and warned of ethnic cleansing in Iraq and Syria. White has spent years trying to draw attention to the persecution of Christians, which includes forced conversion to Islam, and beheading for those who resist.
When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer recently asked the military spokesman for anti-ISIS operations, Col. Steve Warren, about the destruction of Christian communities in Iraq, including an allusion to Baghdad in particular, Warren replied, “Wolf, ISIL doesn’t care if you’re a Christian… We’ve seen no specific evidence of a specific targeting toward Christians.”
This is patently, painfully untrue, and in any event, it is not ISIS cleansing Christian communities from Baghdad: it is Shiite militias linked to Iran, which the Obama Administration just handed billions of dollars to finance its operations across the Middle East. Those militias are also America’s nominal allies against the Islamic State, and will be crucial to the upcoming battle for Mosul, even though militia leaders make little pretense of being happy to fight alongside the American troops they were murdering just a few years ago.
Obama foreign policy has left the United States with little choice but to make dirty deals across the Middle East, supporting many supposedly lesser evils to assemble a coalition capable of fighting the greater evil of ISIS on the ground. The Christians of Iraq, Syria, and Iran are collateral damage this Administration and its supporters would prefer not to discuss, not even when ethnic cleansing comes to the upscale suburbs of Baghdad.