Christians in Iraq have condemned clerical interference in their political affairs, which is viewed as part of the U.S.A.’s attempt to hold onto its fragile and dwindling control over the country.
A recent statement released by the Chaldean Patriarchate, entitled ‘The Chaldean Church Refuses to Form a Christian Faction’, says that Christians can engage in political activity “but not to form a Christian faction”, and that “armed factions in the name of Christianity contradict the spirituality of the Christian religion which calls for love, tolerance, forgiveness and peace”.
The statement is widely regarded as a political attack directed against the 50th Brigade of the Popular Mobilisation Units, and the statement issued to serve the geo-political interests of the U.S.A.
The 50th Brigade of the P.M.U. is commonly known as the Babylon Brigades. The P.M.U. is a network of grass-roots based militias that formed all over Iraq to supplement the Iraqi army in its war against ISIS and it operates under the overall command of the Iraqi armed forces. The Babylon Brigades first formed in 2014 as a Chaldean militia to protect Christians against Wahhabi-Salafist terrorism, and soon became a respected component of the Popular Mobilisation Units. It is closely associated with the Babylon Movement which holds two seats in the Iraqi Parliament, and which constitutes the biggest Christian bloc in the Iraqi parliament.
The commander of the 50th Brigade, Rayan al-Kildani, was recently placed on a U.S. sanctions list, the timing of which, Chaldeans have noted, coincides suspiciously with not just the statement issued by the Iraqi Patriarchate, but with a policy enacted by U.S. government to rip apart families and deport over 1000 of the 250,000 Chaldeans living in the U.S.A., even though many of them were not actually born in Iraq and do not even speak Arabic.
This new policy is seen as the U.S.A. attempting to exert political leverage over the Chaldean Church and a harsh demonstration that U.S. authorities can target and mistreat the quarter-of-a-million Chaldeans living in the U.S.A. if the Christians of Iraq are not compliant with U.S. foreign policy.