People in the West care more about football than Iraq and Syria, Patriarch Louis Rafael I Sako says.
As someone who is not directly involved, can you play a mediatory role in the present situation? When you were archbishop for the town of Kirkuk, which was the subject of contention between the Arabs and the Kurds, your house was open to all parties.
I have continued with this in Baghdad. All the important decision makers are based there. For example, I visited the president of the Parliament. But the time for this is now past. The divisions are worse than ever. How should I get to Fallujah in the Sunni Anbar Province? The problem is that the Sunnis do not have a real leader in Baghdad who can speak for them.
Do you think that the majority of Arab Sunnis support ISIS?
Yes. Quite clearly. They do not necessarily share their ideology. But they support the political goal of regime change and the foundation of their own state. ISIS intends to found an Islamic state with oil wells in order to Islamicize the world.
Is this also a danger for the West?
I think this is a danger for all.
There are calls for American intervention to stop the advance of ISIS. What do you think?
No. I don’t view it like that. The Americans have been here and they made a lot of mistakes. The current situation is their fault. Why replace a regime by something even worse? This is what happened after 2003. The Americans deposed a dictator. But under Saddam Hussein at least we had security and work. And what do we have now? Confusion, anarchy and chaos. The same thing has happened in Libya and Syria. If you want to change the situation here you have to educate the people in the schools, media and mosques in matters of freedom, democracy and the construction of their own country. It is impossible to install a democracy on the Western pattern here. Under the old regime prior to 2003 we had no denominational problems. We were all Iraqis. Now we talk about Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Arabs and Kurds.
But wasn’t it only like that because Saddam held the different groups together with an iron fist?
Perhaps in the present context we need in the Middle East a strong leader who is at the same time just and not only looking out for his family or tribe.
This strong leader isn’t there at the moment. But do you still see a chance of stopping the disintegration of Iraq and finding a political solution?
Such a possibility will still exist if the west and our neighbors such as Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia want it to.
Since you are here…
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