Iraqi Relief Advocate: Threatened Christians Need More Help

Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 04:50 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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Some 200,000 Iraqi Christians — half of the country's entire Christian population — have been uprooted by the onslaught of the violent extremist group ISIS, but their plight isn't getting the attention or emergency response it urgently needs, an advocate for Iraqi Christians told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

With the world riveted by rescue efforts for another Iraqi religious minority, the Yazidis, the humanitarian crisis engulfing Christians in Iraq continues to worsen, Juliana Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Taimoorazy said that the global community's comparative silence about Iraqi Christians is both "frustrating" and, she fears, "strategic."

Meanwhile, she said, "The situation is getting completely out of hand. The refugees are continuously fleeing. They're going further north, to Erbil."

That Kurdish-controlled city was considered a safe harbor until ISIS fighters closed in, triggering U.S. airstrikes. Taimoorazy said the airstrikes have given Christian refugees a respite by slowing the ISIS advance.

"But the humanitarian crisis is devastating," she said. "There are people that are living and sleeping in churches and in the parks. I just received word late last night that there is great need for 20,000 mattresses, bedsheets and blankets."

Taimoorazy was joined on "MidPoint" by James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the Heritage Foundation.

Both agreed on a handful of key points: aid to threatened Christians is coming too slowly; Iraqi Christians are better off being made safe in their own county and not having to seek asylum abroad; and arming Iraqis themselves against ISIS is a better option than sending in U.S. troops.

"If there's a need for American forces to serve our interest, we're going to do that," said Carafano, "but the point is that's not the practical answer here. It's a stupid debate. It's a stupid discussion, and we should just put it off to the side. American boots are not practical."

Carafano said that creating designated safe zones in the affected country allows aid to flow to people in need, "rather than trying to take them somewhere else and making them a homeless refugee population."

"The challenge for the United States has been having a stable Iraqi government, and the slowness of the U.S. government really to engage and work with the Kurds and the minorities of that area," said Carafano. "Other than getting in the game and stepping up the pace, there is not much else you can say."

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