Believers wary as Iran’s influence grows in Iraq

By August 27, 2020

Iraq (MNN) — Another food aid delivery from Iraq just arrived in Lebanon, local sources report. Iraq’s government promised to supply Lebanon with a million liters of fuel and more than 13,000 tons of wheat after the massive explosion in Beirut earlier this month destroyed nearly all of Lebanon’s wheat supply.

Along with helping its Near East neighbor, Iraq is learning from Lebanon’s tragedy. Samuel* with Redemptive Stories says officials recently cleared Iraqi ports of all hazardous material.

“The government mandated the Port Authority in Iraq; they only had 72 hours to deal with the task,” Samuel says.

Representative stock photo.
(Photo by Hamed Foroutan on Unsplash)

Iraqi officials cleared the ports, he adds, “Mainly because [they feared] that, with one activity of Iran, an explosion [could] occur in their country as well.

Iran’s growing power and presence cast an ominous shadow across the region.

“Iran has a huge influence in Iraq; they have military bases that they’ve developed as the U.S. pulled out more and more. That influence also plays into militias that are controlling certain geographic locations throughout Iraq. [This] has Christians very fearful,” Samuel explains.

In this ICC report, Iraqi believers voice their unease. According to Samuel, it’s connected to a broader trend.

“There are continuous strife and stress between the major three factions in the Middle East: Christians, Sunni Muslims, and the Shia Muslims,” he explains.

“You see this playing out in Yemen, where there’s an ongoing war between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) through the auspices of the Yemeni population. [It is] happening in Syria. You see these little proxy wars taking place in Iraq as well.”

Iranian control looks a little different in Lebanon. “Not so much a war as just political strife and influence,” Samuel says.

“Iran has a huge influence in Lebanese politics, Lebanese dynamics, because of the relationship that they have with Hezbollah.”

On the ground in Iraq, believers helped by Redemptive Stories face increasing pressure from Iranian-backed militants. “Even now, as the Shias have taken control of many different areas and locales, they’re actively persecuting Christians,” Samuel says.

Ask the Lord to strengthen His Church in Iraq. Find more prayer needs here.

“Pray that the Church would stand strong. We know that God works through prayer, and He is faithful to do that.”

 

*– Name changed for security purposes.

 

 

Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy @mhrezaa via Unsplash.