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UPDATE: Tikrit Falls - After Mosul Fell to Islamists. Christians Flee in Fear: Time to Reassess the Current Situation in Iraq

By Deacon Keith A Fournier
6/12/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

When this goes on like this, Mosul soon will be emptied of Christians

Like many, I received the news of the increased terror and violence in the besieged Nation of Iraq with great concern and deep sadness. Mosul, 220 miles to the North of the Capital City of Baghdad, has fallen to violent, Islamist extremists. The City is under the control of forces associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. The relative lack of a credible resistance to the siege by the Iraqi troops of the current regime, left to defend themselves against this growing threat of Islamist aggression after the US withdrawal, is one more indicator if where the tide is trending. The triumphant Islamists paraded proudly through the destruction which was left in their destructive wake. They waved the black flag bearing the Islamic script which is their symbol. They are committed to building an Islamic Caliphate. To state that is not to overreact, it is to state a fact. The ease with which the Islamists took Mosul discloses the weakness of the forces seeking to prevent their plan to enforce their brand of Islam by the sword.

The triumphant Islamists paraded proudly through the destruction which was left in their destructive wake. They waved the black flag bearing the Islamic script which is their rallying symbol in their fanatical commitment to building an Islamic Caliphate. To state that is also not to overreact, it is to state a fact. The ease with which the Islamists took Mosul discloses the weakness of the forces seeking to prevent their plan to enforce their brand of Islam by the sword.

The triumphant Islamists paraded proudly through the destruction which was left in their destructive wake. They waved the black flag bearing the Islamic script which is their rallying symbol in their fanatical commitment to building an Islamic Caliphate. To state that is also not to overreact, it is to state a fact. The ease with which the Islamists took Mosul discloses the weakness of the forces seeking to prevent their plan to enforce their brand of Islam by the sword.

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - UPDATE: Now it is Tikrit which has fallen. In fact, the Northern part of the Nation of Iraq is falling like dominoes to this evil Islamist sect which even some in the Al Quaida leadership are denouncing as too radical in their tactics.

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Like many, I received the news of the increased terror and violence in the besieged Nation of Iraq with great concern and deep sadness. Mosul, 220 miles to the North of the Capital City of Baghdad, has fallen to violent, Islamist extremists.

The City is under the control of forces associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. The relative lack of a credible resistance to the siege by the Iraqi troops of the current regime, left to defend themselves against this growing threat of Islamist aggression after the US withdrawal, is one more indicator if where the tide is trending.

The triumphant Islamists paraded proudly through the destruction which was left in their destructive wake. They waved the black flag bearing the Islamic script which is their rallying symbol in their fanatical commitment to building an Islamic Caliphate. To state that is also not to overreact, it is to state a fact. The ease with which the Islamists took Mosul discloses the weakness of the forces seeking to prevent their plan to enforce their brand of Islam by the sword.

This tragedy has so many implications. The human suffering unleashed by this turn of events includes the Muslims, who absolutely reject the aims and the actions of this band of terrorists, and are also being brutalized.

However, one of the truly under-reported aspects is the effect it is having on the Christians of Iraq. A very reliable news source which regularly focuses on this aspect of the tragedy in Iraq is World Watch Monitor.  In a helpful article entitled Up to 1000 Christian families flee Iraq's second city we read this :

When this goes on like this, Mosul soon will be emptied of Christians", said World Watch Monitor's source in Iraq, who will remain unnamed for security. "This could be the last migration of Christians from Mosul."

"Christian families are terrified", one declared. A Christian man in Mosul said during a phone call: "I was able to make my wife and children leave Mosul, but now I am stuck in the house and can't move."

An elderly woman and her adult daughter are still in their house in Mosul. They posted on social media: "God, please save us and Mosul". They said only they and one other family are left in their neighbourhood, all others have escaped.

The crisis worries many Christians in the neighboring Northern Kurdish part of Iraq. "We are praying for safety in Kurdistan," one said.

There is a coordinated strategy emerging as Islamist extremists connect their acts of terror in Iraq and in Syria. They intend to build an Islamic Caliphate by force. They intend to enforce Sharia Law. They intend to banish or subjugate Christians. We cannot turn a blind eye, or close our hearts to our brethren.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 brought the joyous celebration of the installation of Pope Francis in Rome. Like many Christians who write on daily news events from a perspective of faith, I was delighted to have such a joyous occasion to write about. 

March 19, 2013 also brought another historic event to mind. It marked the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the US intervention in Iraq referred to as the Second Iraq War. Reports filled the media commemorating the ten year Anniversary of the Second Iraqi conflict.

One of them, entitled People turned on Christians': Persecuted Iraqi minority reflects on life after Saddam  touched upon this under-reported aspect of the Iraq War, the dramatic increase in the persecution of Christians in Iraq since the US intervention.

I have written numerous articles seeking to call attention to our persecuted Christian brethren in Iraq. Their plight has grown worse since the intervention on March 19, 2003. Before the intervention on March 19, 2003, I disturbed some colleagues and friends by publicly opposing intervention in what came to be called Iraq II.

I supported the first intervention in Iraq, after the Kuwaitis requested our assistance against an unjust aggressor named Saddam Hussein.  However, in light of the teaching of the Catholic Church, and based upon my own efforts to inform my conscience by it, I opposed the Second Iraq War. I even contributed a chapter to a book dedicated to such opposition.

I concluded back then that the decision to engage in what was called a pre-emptive war with Iraq failed to meet the conditions, commonly referred to as the Just War theory, summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§2309):

"the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated."

"The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good."

I also came to the conclusion that the notion of a pre-emptive war was antithetical to this analysis. The determination as to whether any war can be justified is rooted in the broader understanding of self defense. I was not then, and am not now, convinced that the entry of the United States into Iraq on March 19, 2003 was a legitimate response to the horror unleashed against our Nation on September 11, 2001.

In spite of what some sincere Catholics - whom I respected - sought to say back then, the leaders of the Catholic Church were overwhelming in their unified opposition to beginning the Second Iraq war. They were unanimous in their conviction that no attack was imminent, and, as a result, war was far from justifiable.

Deep reservations were raised by numerous Bishops' Councils; then Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State; Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; and most ardently by now Saint John Paul II, the Holy Father back then, who clearly stated that not only was war a human failure but that specific war was unjustified.

After the intervention, as time progressed, my opposition became moot. The War had become such a debacle and the brave men and women of our heroic Armed Forces deserved our unflagging support.

Those who initially supported the second Iraq war and those who opposed it, agreed that we could not abandon the Iraqi people in their great hour of need. The Holy See expressed its continuing concern for the people of Iraq after the intervention.

Now that the US troops have withdrawn from Iraq, the wisdom of our entire enterprise will be debated and debated. If lessons can be learned, they should be learned. However, the current crisis in Iraq today requires a fresh analysis, in light of the situation being faced on the ground in June of 2014. 

We need to pray for an end to the evil assault upon all of the innocent people by these Islamists. In particular, we who bear the name Christian need to pray for the Christians of Iraq. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are joined in a special way to them in a band of solidarity. 

We also need to pray for the leaders of the United States - and leaders of all of the other Nations - evaluating how to respond to the current situation in Iraq. The situation In Iraq in June of 2014 is rapidly deteriorating. A proper response is required. 

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