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 Icon16Nuncio to Iraq says international force to allow displaced to return to their homes is a p

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Dr.Hannani Maya
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تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
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مُساهمةموضوع: Icon16Nuncio to Iraq says international force to allow displaced to return to their homes is a p    الخميس 19 فبراير 2015, 2:19 am

Nuncio to Iraq says international force to allow displaced to return to their homes is a p






Feb. 18, 2015


Nuncio to Iraq says international force to allow displaced to return to their homes is a priority


(©LaPresse) Iraq: Yazidi refugees fleeing
Interview with Mgr. Lingua: Military intervention against ISIS seems inevitable but it is not enough. A long reconciliation process is needed in order for the violence to stop
اقتباس :

Stopping the influx of jihadists into Iraq, halting the arms trade, allowing an international force to control areas that border with territories occupied by ISIS, in order to help the displaced return to their homes. These are some of the priorities that the international community should adopt in order to put an end to the crisis that is raging in Iraq and a large part of the Middle East. This is according to the Nuncio to Iraq, Mgr. Giorgio Lingua, who has been in Baghdad since 2010. In this context, a military intervention against ISIS seems inevitable but arms are not enough to resolve such a deep crisis. A great deal of work needs to be done to educate people about dialogue and peaceful coexistence.
There are many positive signs pointing in this direction: many religious leaders are now aware of the need to foster an environment of encounter and mutual respect. However, there is still a humanitarian crisis, with 2 million displaced people and a Christian community that has more than halved.
Mgr. Lingua, let’s start off with a general question. Are there still elements of tension between the various ethnic and religious groups or have there been any positive signs in this field?
“Yes, there are many positive signs. For instance, I receive many visits from religious leaders, particularly Muslims, who are adamant that only religion can resolve the problem Iraq and other countries are facing, from Syria to Libya, from Nigeria to Egypt etc. They know that ISIS didn’t just fall from the sky; it is an ideology that went through a long incubation period, a “school” of intolerance and hatred that cannot be stopped through military intervention - even though this is necessary in order to protect the innocent people who have fallen victim to all kinds of abuse – but will require a long re-education, a “school”, an education of encounter and respect.”

Is it possible to give an estimate of how many Christians remain in the country, how many were here initially?

“There are no reliable figures. 300-400 thousand Christians of the 1 million that were present before 2003 may still live here. But as I said, these are estimates, not confirmed figures.”

What is the Sunni stance regarding ISIS’s presence? Has the current government changed its attitude toward Sunnis compared to previous years?
“I would say the current government has changed a great deal; it has tried to involve the Sunnis in key roles, in the Ministry of Defence for example. Unfortunately there are still scores to be settled on issues that continue to create division. Deep wounds do not heal easily, it takes time, patience, far-sightedness and education. I believe that religious leaders must be the first to set an example. They must take the situation in hand. There is a Ministry for National Reconciliation but as far as I can see it hasn’t produced many results. I think reconciliation should be promoted by civil society and religious leaders more than by politicians.

Which, in your opinion, are the priorities that the international community should be focusing its actions on?

“First of all, the influx of new jihadists arriving from all over the world to back ISIS needs to be blocked. This is a sign that military intervention is not enough to stop ISIS’s advance because by now it is an international phenomenon and the main brains behind it are probably based outside Iraq and Syria. The arms trade also needs to be stopped, along with any form of trade with the so-called Islamic State. An international security force would also be needed in order to protect areas adjacent to territories occupied by ISIS, to allow many displaced to return to their homes. But all this is probably not enough seeing as though the prospect of military intervention is said to be inevitable.”

How important is the US withdrawal in this context?
“I wouldn’t know. I think it was inevitably going to happen sooner or later, also because of the agreements made. I don’t know whether it could have been planned better or if the Iraqi army could have received better training … There are so many things I don’t quite get, for example: if in ten years of US presence they were not able to produce a qualified army, how can they expect to do so now, within the space of just a few months and with such limited strength?”
Is there a risk of the Islamic State settling within certain areas?
“Judging by how well they use propaganda, making the most of modern social communication channels, I would think so, yes.” How do ordinary civilians live? “Almost 2 million live the lives of displaced people, with all the difficulties this brings. Others live normal lives and sometimes show a resignation that has come to characterise the Iraqi population in recent years. Iraqis are generally a joyous people who love to celebrate. After Iraq’s victory over Iran during the Asian Cup, Baghdad was in full festive spirit, with fireworks and gunfire like on New Year’s Eve. The other evening, on the feast of St. Valentine, which is dear to everybody here, there were big traffic jams in the city again. People are tired of all the violence, which sadly became the “norm” in the celebrations that followed the Iraq-Iran game. Around 80 people are said to have died in the midst of “random” shooting, though some of it may not have been so random but aimed at a specific target. It is sad for me to say this but it seems that many have learnt to live with violence. There should be a general clearing of weapons even light ones.
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Icon16Nuncio to Iraq says international force to allow displaced to return to their homes is a p
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