01/27/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Four humanitarian aid workers employed by the French NGO SOS Christians of the Middle East went missing in Baghdad on January 20th. Three of the disappeared workers are French and one is Iraqi. There have been no ransom demands, and the charity has asked that their identities remain undisclosed for security reasons.
Their disappearance comes as kidnappings have become increasingly commonplace in Iraq. Last year, protesters in Iraq had gathered to demand an end to foreign influence and corruption in their country. It was an atmosphere of hope despite a harsh government response. Following a US drone strike against an Iranian general in Baghdad a few weeks ago, the security situation has drastically deteriorated. The protests have continued, but the government’s response has become even more harsh.
Some locals observe that the militia activity in Iraq is approaching 2007 levels, particularly in regards to kidnappings. The militias in Iraq are primarily backed by Iran, who is using these forces to try and push out other foreign influences. As a result, all foreigners working in Iraq are at a grave security risk. For Christians, the risk is even greater. Following ISIS, Iraqi Christians have come to rely upon foreign aid. For those working in humanitarian aid, and for those receiving, the environment is an increasingly dangerous one.
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