. Talk of "Progress" in Iraq is a Smokescreen as Sectarian Militants Target Christian Community | London Progressive Journal
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Talk of "Progress" in Iraq is a Smokescreen as Sectarian Militants Target Christian Community

Fri 17th Oct 2008

We are often told, that the British presence in Iraq is to help bring about “freedom” and “democracy” to assist the fundamentalist Iranian-aligned “Iraqi Government“ in bringing about “stability“, but these solemn words are spoken only by politicians whose only involvement inside of occupied Iraq has been to cower behind the backs of soldiers.

Although it is becoming increasingly hard to find many who actually wish to be there or any who know the reasons why they are still on Iraqi soil, I recently spoke to a Sergeant in the British army, who informed me that he was going to be sent back to Iraq, to continue so serve in a war which has already killed over one million Iraqis and hundreds of British soldiers.

The Sergeant informed me that he had no wish to serve a third term in Iraq and wondered why the British Government continued to keep troops there, when it was blatantly obvious that the continuing presence was not wanted and the present Green Zone regime seemed to be incapable of bringing about any type of civil order to the country, as he said “all you have to do is look around” to see that “freedom and democracy” simply do not work inside of Iraq.

In a recent interview with one newspaper, Nouri Al-Maliki said that the British are “not necessary for maintaining security and control” in Iraq, but then claimed that "There might be a need for their experience in training and some technological issues.” While to many soldiers and their families this may be perceived as Maliki biting the hand that feeds him, the devastation which the occupation has brought to the people of Iraq is so great that it is obvious that no-one can have much confidence in the regime of Nouri Al-Maliki.

This perspective would not come as a shock for realists outside Downing Street, who have been oblivious to the question of five million child orphans inside of Iraq and appear to have even gone so far as to pander to sectarian death squads, by allowing representatives of sectarians like Muqtada Al-Sadr to enter Britain and, in one instance, even speak on a public platform at a Stop the War Coalition rally.

Nevertheless, anger is mounting, as many in Britain view the silence of the Brown Government and their desire to maintain a presence of British soldiers in Iraq, as also playing an appeasing role in the face of ethnically-targetted violence, such as that against the country's Christian community, who have suffered a stream of violent attacks since the occupation began in 2003.

If the British media was to be believed, you wouldn’t even know that a campaign of murder and rape was being pursued in an attempt to force Christians to flee Iraq. Even US soldiers have noted their concern over the persecution of Christians in Iraq, so that one serving soldier even wrote in response to my article “The War Against Christianity“, that “I know from experience that what he [Hussein al-alak] says about what's going on in Iraq is accurate.”

How can either the British or Iraqi regimes be treated with any credibility, when the talk of “progress” is constantly being discredited by the facts, when Asia News reported recently that “a Christian of the Chaldean rite, was recently shot dead in front of his home in the neighbourhood of Nor, the same neighbourhood where Fr. Ragweed Gani and three deacons were killed in 2007, and where Archbishop Paulo Farj Rahho was kidnapped and killed” only this year.

Given the threats against the community, and the inability of either the Iraqi government or occupation forces to protect them, the situation has become so dire that the Christians of Iraq have been forced to establish their own “militia“, so that being “armed with heavy machine guns and assault rifles,” according to one member, who spoke to Islam Online in August, "was the only way to protect our families and friends from attacks because we are tired of waiting on action from the “Iraqi” government which is preoccupied with politics and never look after us."

The Iraqi Government have chosen to ignore the plight of the Christians because the British and American “trained” Police force have decided to turn a blind eye. As one senior Police Office even admitted, "Sometimes it is better to close your eyes towards some facts” but Iraqis are not closing their eyes, and are uniting with Iraq’s Christians against this violence.

In a recent appeal, the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq stated that attacking Christians is “not approved by Islam and its tolerant teachings under which Muslims and other religions lived in tolerance, peace and security”, warning that such attacks were “inconsistent with the requirements of true national unity”.

These sentiments were also echoed by a schoolteacher who, speaking to Islam Online earlier this year, explained: "During the years we lived in peace in this land where I was born. All Muslims were happy to be part of our lives, share our thoughts and respect our decisions."

As a child, born and raised in what would now be called a “Shi’ite family”, like many Iraqi children, I never questioned the religion or ethnicity of our friends and family, and it was considered to be discourteous even to ask. Now, Maliki and his occupation masters expect us to believe that Iraq is built along ethnic or sectarian lines, lines drawn up by himself and the US/UK, and expect us to stand back while our Christian neighbours are ethnically driven by intimidation and violence from our country.

Hussein Al-Alak is Chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.

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