Ideologies at war in Iraq; civilians take the fall

By January 26, 2022

Iraq (MNN) — Iraq’s political turmoil reflects a broader battle for control in the Middle East.

“Three months ago, there was an election, and [Sadr’s] group won. This is not aligned with what [Iran wants]; they are not trying to do what Iran tells them to do,” Fadi Sharaiha with MENA Leadership Center says.

“Iranians lost their seat in the parliament, and they (Iran’s leaders) did not take this lightly. They are challenging this in the courts and the streets.”

Attacks on various political institutions in Iraq fill the headlines continuously. Shooters attacked a Kurdish leader last week, days after twin explosions rocked Kurdish-owned banks in Baghdad.

“This is a clear impact of the proxy war in Iraq, as it is happening in Yemen, Lebanon, and in Libya, unfortunately,” Sharaiha says.

He adds that the battlefields change, but most of the conflict traces its roots to one issue.

“Sunnis and Shiites are fighting for control. The war is not only on land; the war is because of dogma, because of faith.”

Stay or go?

Yesterday, Iraq’s Supreme Court met to decide whether the results of a January 9 election are valid, a critical step in the process of government formation. Middle Eastern politics are complex; the Iraqi government formation process has taken three months so far. Previously, the timeline from elections to government was five months in 2018 and eight months in 2010.

Meanwhile, Islamic State militants are taking advantage of this transition period. On Friday, the terrorists killed 11 Iraqi soldiers in a night raid. Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State in late 2017, but remnants of the group have been carrying out a low-level insurgency.

Between political tensions and terrorist attacks, Iraq is full of instability. Often, the battle for control claims innocent victims.

Some believers leave Iraq and find a safer place to call home. Others sacrifice everything to serve the Lord.

“They are going through a lot. Last night, I talked to one of my friends over there; he is a leader at one of the big churches in Iraq. He was saying, ‘At this point, I feel that ministry needs me more than anything else,’” Sharaiha says.

(Photo courtesy of MENA Leadership Center)

By choosing to stay in Iraq, “he’s sacrificing a good future for his kids, meaning education,” Sharaiha continues.

“He’s sacrificing [personal safety]; he might be targeted by militias or killed because of his faith.”

Pray Iraqi believers won’t be discouraged by the chaos surrounding them. Pray they will understand and trust in God’s sovereignty. Learn how you can equip Iraqi church leaders through MENA Leadership Center.

“What an encouragement for us [who live] in the U.S. and Canada; wherever we are living our comfy lives. They are living in obedience to the Lord, and being blessed by that,” Sharaiha says.

“Let’s not pity them; let’s not feel bad for them. This is a great opportunity to be blessed by partnering with those leaders, by praying for them.”



Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of 12019/Pixabay.

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