Iraq (MNN) — On December 9th, the U.S. formally ended its combat operations in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. Only a few thousand members of the U.S. military remain to support and train Iraqi security forces.
The U.S. military has maintained a presence in Iraq since 2014 when it helped beat back the Islamic State. At the time, ISIS had seized large chunks of territory in Iraq and Syria.
However, attacks from the Islamic State have increased throughout Iraq, especially in the northern regions. Samuel with Redemptive Stories says, “In the towns surrounding the northern capital of Erbil, there have been skirmishes pretty much daily. Small forces will attack either villages or checkpoints. Recently, there was an attack that resulted in about 15 security forces being killed.”
Samuel says ISIS sees the departure of U.S. troops as an opportunity. “It’s kind of like the wild, wild East right now. So many things are just up in the air. Elections have just happened, and the government still isn’t quite solidified. Because of that, everything is right on the knife’s edge.”
But God continues to move in turbulent times. Samuel reports 150 new Christians in various communities. Local pastors say people are very open to hearing about Jesus. “We’re seeing many, many people ask questions that they would never have asked before. And all because of the failures, in many cases, of Islam, and what they’ve experienced, what they’ve seen with their own eyes.”
Pray the Church in Iraq would continue to grow, and that God’s peace and hope would bring healing to the country. Samuel says, “Now is the time of harvest in Iraq. God is doing amazing, wonderful things. And that we need to keep praying, not forgetting this place.”
The header photo shows U.S. marines withdrawing from Iraq in March 2020. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)