Please see the source for the video.
A Chaldean Catholic priest who was kidnapped and tortured by Islamic militants a decade ago in Iraq said Tuesday in Washington that while the American invasion of his country in 2003 was a “big mistake,” President Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops in 2011 was “a bigger mistake.”
After Obama ignored his generals’ recommendations and pulled the last U.S. troops out of Iraq, the president boasted that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq… This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.”
But Fr. Douglas Bazi, a priest at the Mar Elias Catholic Church in the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil, pointed out that the U.S. troop withdrawal was a catastrophe for the indigenous Christian population of Iraq, which numbered 2 million before 2003.
“Now there are less than 200,000,” he said.
Fr. Bazi ministers to 400 Christian families who were forced to flee to Kurdistan to escape genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which took advantage of the power vacuum left by the U.S. troop withdrawal to take over large sections of Iraq.
“If you were able to talk to President Obama today, what would you tell him?” CNSNews.com asked Fr. Bazi.
“I know you are going to le[ave] the White House, so let my people remember you in a good way. You give [the] order when the soldier[s] pull out. That was big mistake, that one. I don’t blame you, of course, because your soldiers, they were [sent] there, that was really also a big mistake. But the bigger mistake is when they pull out.
“So if you want to save the Christian [people in Iraq], please open the doors and help the Christian[s] to stand there. Because all of my people there are just [saying] that America is just watching what’s happened to us.”
Two years ago, 125,000 Christians living in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, were forced to flee for their lives in just one day, he pointed out. “They are like you. They had houses, cars, jobs. Now they have nothing.”
Living in cramped quarters, unable to find work in Kurdistan, Fr. Bazi said that “my people cannot survive without donations of food and medicine.”
“People ask, how is life there?” Fr. Bazi said. “There is no life there.”
Iraqi Christians who were internally displaced when ISIS began its genocidal assault on religious minority groups do not qualify as refugees under international law.
Forced from their homes, they remain in emergency “centers” in Kurdistan, Turkey, and Lebanon, where they face an uncertain future. In January, Slovakia accepted 149 displaced Iraqi Christians, part of private efforts to resettle them.
“After 18 months, the 400 people in my church, no one is talking about going home. As a church, our job is to help people find the right path for them,” he said, if that means staying in Kurdistan, emigrating to another country, or returning to Iraq when ISIS is eventually defeated.
“My people are starting to lose hope. My people are starting to feel they do not belong to Iraq. And no one from the outside world is telling us welcome.“
Full article: Iraqi Priest: Pulling US Troops Out Was a ‘Bigger Mistake’ Than 2003 Invasion (Family Security Matters)