09/11/2020, 14.27
IRAQ
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Chaldean patriarch backs government’s fight against corruption and sectarian violence

Prime Minister Mustafa al- Kadhimi has launched a campaign to reform Iraq, targeting criminal groups and divisive militias. The latter are going after the government via targeted attacks and operations. For Card Sako, it is necessary to stop "confusion, anarchy and corruption", which help only those who want to keep the country "unstable".

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and his government are trying to build "a strong state and army" to counter violence, corruption and force the country’s militias "to hand over their weapons,” said the Chaldean Patriarch, Card Louis Raphael Sako, speaking to AsiaNews.

For the Chaldean primate, the Iraqi government and the country’s leaders appear united in their resolve to fight "against crime, kidnappings, ethnic and sectarian tensions" and stop “those who operate outside the laws of the land.”

However, in recent weeks, the government's hopes to reform the country and boost the economy have met resistance from groups and militias that continue to sow violence and confusion.

According to an anonymous government source, “violent elements react when they see their economic and military interests threatened,” firing rockets or using propaganda.

On 3 September for example, the headquarters of the G4S security services company in Baghdad were attacked.

The action was not claimed by any group but elements close to Tehran have accused the US-British company of "complicity" in the elimination in early January of Qasem Soleimani, a major general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and commander of the Quds force.

Similarly, a few days ago, a World Food Program (WFP) convoy was attacked near Mosul, injuring a United Nations official.

The attack was apparently carried out by a so-called ‘Islamic Resistance’, a term applied to pro-Iranian groups, claiming that US spies were part of the UN convoy.

The prime minister "is not seeking a direct confrontation with these groups", but rather wants to "drain their sources of funding" by blocking "border crossings" and fighting corruption, said Kadhimi’s spokesperson Ahmad Mulla.

Despite the prime minister’s best efforts, for many security experts the situation in the country remains "dangerous" and the government should talk to the spiritual leaders of these groups in order to “to avert further clashes".

For Car Sako, speaking to AsiaNews, the government has shown “good will” in the fight against violence and corruption. "They have a vision, a project, and it is important that politicians on all sides support the prime minister in this policy,” the cardinal explained.

The goal is to end once and for all to "this confusion and anarchy,” which benefits only those who "want to keep the country unstable".

In the past, these factions and militias “have controlled ports and airports, like in Basra, and customs,” said the primate of the Chaldean Church.

The Church “supports and encourages this work and expresses its closeness” to the authorities since, among other reasons, actions are following words and announcements.

In addition to taking ports and airports away from the control of the militias, the government has promoted a campaign of "moralisation" in the public sector, going after those who have unduly accumulated up to three or four salaries.

"Our hope is that this all-out fight against corruption and malfeasance will be followed up,” said the prelate.

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