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ICC Note: Patriarch Sako of Iraq has continued his urging with the Iraqi government to elect new leaders and find peaceful solutions to end ISIS’ violent reign. Even though there may be elections next week for the prime minister and president of the republic, the government does not hold much control over Iraq. This power vacuum leaves thousands of Christians in the wake of violence and persecution. Many have left their homes and communities. There must be a solution soon, before Christianity is weeded out of Iraq permanently.

ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response

07/16/14 Iraq (National Catholic Register) – Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Iraq has written a letter urging Iraqi government officials to “waste no more time” in electing new leaders, and he lamented the grim possibility of finding a peaceful solution to conflict.

“Only the president of the parliament was elected; and later, maybe next week, there will be an election for the president of the republic and also the prime minister,” Patriarch Sako told CNA July 16, following the July 15 election of Salim al-Jubouri as the new speaker of Iraq’s parliament.

“But you know many cities are not controlled by the government. It’s really chaos.”

Salim al-Jubouri’s election marks the end of a three-month deadlock in Iraqi elections, which have remained drawn out in the wake of the attacks waged by militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). ISIS now styles itself as the “Islamic State” and has carved out a sizeable amount of territory in northwestern Iraq in addition to its territorial holdings in eastern Syria.

“There is a political solution” to the violence, Patriarch Sako affirmed, stating that “if they wanted to form a government of national unity, they can”; however, “it’s difficult.”

“The jihadists, the extremists, are controlling several of the capital cities, so the government should have a professional army … to put them away, to change them,” he continued.

Members of ISIS, a militant group that has been fighting to establish a new Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria, overtook the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, and the city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, on June 10.

The group had seized portions of Ramadi and Falluja earlier; Tal Afar was seized by ISIS June 16; and the group briefly held parts of Baquba, 37 miles outside of Baghdad, the following day.

ISIS currently controls much of the Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq, as well as cities along the Euphrates River in northwest Syria.

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