Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, has said that the U.S.-led bombing campaign is insufficient to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists, “especially when there are no troops on the ground providing assistance.”
Not long ago, Sako told Vatican Radio he believes that more U.S. and international help, including ground forces, is essential to expel ISIS militants from Iraq. “The future depends on American actions,” he said, but he added that bombing “is a partial solution.”
“They have to send soldiers, troops, to expel these fundamentalist people,” he said.
Sako believes that U.S. air strikes have been important to hold back ISIS, but he advocates “a long-term strategy to destroy the sick ideology that drives the action of the violent.”
ISIS is “a danger to the whole world,” Sako told the Italian journal Oasis, “not just for the Middle East,” and added, “maybe even more for the West, which does not know the Islamic language and mode of action. ISIS kills everything that it thinks is out of line with its idea of Islam.”
The Patriarch said, “We need a new education, to pull out the jihadist mentality from the roots. Only if Muslim families offer a new education to the future generations can there be a future for Christians here.”
Sako has underscored the negative side to air strikes, as well. “Bombing is also killing people, destroying the infrastructure, houses, schools, churches,” he asserted.
The Patriarch also said that without Christians, the Middle East would lose important talents that are essential for the region.
“They’re an elite of very well-educated people that hope to remain in their country,” Sako said. “If they’re away, fundamentalist groups start running around the area. It’ll be just like it was when we had the Taliban,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.