Tensions escalate in Iraq following assassination attempt

By November 9, 2021

Iraq (MNN) — Iran seeks to make peace following a failed assassination attempt on Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi. According to The Associated Press, a top Iranian general visited Iraqi leaders in-person yesterday to assure them that Iran had nothing to do with Sunday’s drone attack on Kadhimi’s home.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt, but suspicion surrounded Iranian proxies. Since last month’s elections, tensions have been ratcheting up in Iraq, where militias backed by Iran lost majority power. More about that here.

MENA Leadership Center’s Fadi Sharaiha says Iraqi Christians face problems on all fronts.

“Right now, it’s a very challenging environment for Christians to live in Iraq. But they are hanging in there,” Sharaiha says.

Believers face several difficulties, including – but not limited to – proxies or militias. There are “so many proxies in Iraq,” Sharaiha says, “and the problem is that [no one has] control over them.”

Iranian-backed militias may not specifically target Iraqi believers, “but are minorities like Christians being targeted by different proxies? Yes.”

“The whole environment is a hostile environment for Christians, unfortunately. [It began with] the Iraq invasion, but right now, things are even worse.”

Political and economic turmoil combine to create an uncertain atmosphere. “The Iran proxies are not liking what they have seen in the election, so you [do not know] what will happen (next). The uncertainty of the future is a huge challenge for people, especially for young families wanting to plan for their lives,” Sharaiha says.

A cross atop Saint Matthew Monastery (Der Mar Matti), a Syriac Orthodox monastery overlooking the Nineveh Plains towns of Bashiqa and Bartella, in between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
(Photo, caption courtesy Levi Clancy via Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0)

Also, “the state (government) is not taking care of [essential service], and this is affecting not only Christians but the whole country. One example is electricity. [Iraqis] don’t have electricity 24/7 right now, and this is hard, especially during the summertime.”

As described here, MENA Leadership Center helps Gospel workers grow their capacity so they can go and make disciples in their homeland.

“We’ve trained, in 2021, around 70 [or] 80 Christian key leaders in Iraq, and mostly from different denominations in Iraq. We train them on different skills like how to do virtual church or having their own strategic plan for their ministries,” Sharaiha says.

Use prompts listed alongside this report to guide your intercession for Iraq. Help MLC provide training to Christian leaders throughout the MENA region.

 

 

In the header image, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Iran International Conference Hall in July 2020. (Photo, caption courtesy of Mehdi Ghorbani/Wikimedia Commons)