Iraqi Archdiocese: Proxy Wars ‘Have Torn Our Country Apart’

Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Archbishop of Arbil, leads a mass celebrating the coronation of the Virgin Mary and attended by Iraqi Christians who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, on May 31, 2015 in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern …
SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images

The Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil issued an impassioned plea for peace Thursday, insisting that the region is “tired of war” and its consequences.

“The current tensions between the two powers must not escalate,” reads the statement, in reference to Iran and the United States. “Iraq has been suffering from proxy wars for decades; they have torn our country apart.”

“We are a courageous people of hope,” reads the text from the archdiocese, which is headed by Archbishop Bashar Warda. “Since the defeat of ISIS in May 2017 by the coalition forces, our archdiocese has been working with other church leaders, Christian agencies, humanitarian agencies, governments and NGOs to help rebuild our fractured communities in Mosul and Nineveh Plain.”

“The current tensions are threatening the serious fragility of the communities, which are tired of war and the tragic consequences of it,” the text continues. “They have continually suffered far too much and can no longer face an unknown future.

The archdiocese goes on to plead for reassurance that Iraq can be a peaceful country in which to live, rather than being victims of “endless collateral damage.”

We will always follow the path of God in seeking peace, reconciliation, and mutual dialogue, the archdiocese says, united in prudently seeking “civilised dialogue and to pray for peace.”

“We seek the urgent action of the international community to use their influence to diffuse the tensions,” it concludes. “Our prayer is for peace and that dialogue resulting in a just and peaceful outcome will be the path followed.”

The statement follows an even stronger declaration by Cardinal Louis Rafaël Sako, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, who expressed his indignation that the drone strike against Qasem Soleimani should have been carried out on Iraqi soil.

“It is deplorable that our country should be transformed into a place where scores are settled, rather than being a sovereign nation, capable of protecting its own land, its own wealth, its own citizens,” the cardinal said last Saturday.

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