Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad urged Iraq’s leaders to put an end to the “institutional, economic and security deterioration” in the country.
“We call upon you, with a saddened heart and sorrow because of what is happening in Iraq and because the people are suffering from violence, poverty and misery,” Patriarch Sako said in a statement.
His appeal followed a mass protest for political reform on 30 April. Thousands of demonstrators, mostly supporters of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, breached the walls of Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the seat of the Iraqi government and most foreign embassies are located. They overtook the parliament building.
“You are all aware of the failure of government institutions, of the disruption of the law, of delayed solutions and essential reforms demanded by people,” Patriarch Sako said.
“All of this is a result of the divided political scene, of the failure to achieve real national reconciliation, as well as the conflict of interests and ambitions that has been demonstrated recently,” he added.
“Relying on our human, national and moral responsibilities, we urge all Iraqi politicians to adopt wisdom and quietness, in addition to making every possible effort for true reconciliation to put an end to such institutional, economic and security deterioration,” the patriarch said.
“We are also calling for unity of all the counterparts to have a clear vision and a shared coordinated plan to liberate all Iraqi territories and work together for peace and stability in the country to enable displaced people to return home.”
Thousands of families, most of whom are Christian, have been displaced by Islamic State offensives in the Iraqi region of Mosul and the Ninevah Plain.
“Enough is enough! We have had enough division and dispersion,” Patriarch Sako said.
“Focus on the future of your country, the future of your fellow citizens,” he urged the leaders. “As your brothers – millions are dying from poverty and diseases – Iraqis deserve much better than that.”
In a separate statement on 3 May, the patriarch expressed his concern about the Islamic State attacking the Christian village of Telskuf, north of Mosul.
“We are worried that today’s presence of ISIS in this village and its destruction will disturb people in the nearby villages and force them to leave,” Patriarch Sako said in the statement. “Furthermore, it is unbearable to have displaced families more than we already have. We rely on people of goodwill to stop this terrorism act.”
In August 2014, residents of Telskuf were driven out from their homes by Islamic State. However, Islamic State forces withdrew from Telskuf in late 2014, and the city had been had been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga.
A Navy SEAL, Charlie Keating IV of Phoenix, was killed in the Telskuf attack.