The situation in Iraq remains one for prayer. Many of you, our supporters, will be keen to understand more of what is now happening. With key people on the ground, our team have been monitoring closely the stories behind the headlines. We share here a range of the articles that our team have found both helpful and insightful this past week. We also want to reassure you with the most recent photographs from St George’s Church Baghdad.
Protests as Deadline Passes
The BBC featured a report from Baghdad among their main news items this week. It shows the continued protests on the streets of Baghdad (BBC/Youtube). The protests, primarily by younger Iraqis, continue across the country.
Road closures and demonstrations continued from Monday this week. That was the deadline, set by demonstrators in the city of Nasiriya, for a new prime minister and government to be announced. These demands seem to have been adopted by protestors across the country.
The BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, Jeremy Bowen, covers the situation in Baghdad and notes the wider political forces in Iraq (New Statesman). He writes: “I leave after every visit to Iraq struck by the resilience of people who have been tortured by killing, dictatorship and invasion. But their modern tragedy is that they do not control their own destiny.”
This continues to highlight just one of the many reasons why our work is so vital. And why our projects aim to help Iraqis to help themselves.
Military Frictions Remain High
The recent US/Iran confrontations in Iraq led many to wonder if we were heading for a major military conflict. Whilst much of the media in the UK and US has ceased to cover the situation, real tension remains.
We have seen reports of US troops becoming increasingly watchful after the recent Iranian missile strikes (See ‘Children Blessed Despite the Missiles‘, our recent Weekly Update). US forces now appear to have resumed anti-IS operations (New York Times). Watch this short video from the BBC last week for an insight into the US bases attacked in the missile strikes (BBC/Youtube).
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that disparate Shia militia groups met together in Iran earlier this month. The reports claim this was to coordinate efforts aimed at thwarting the US presence within Iraq.
For those interested to go deeper, this piece by BBC HardTalk features the former ambassador to the US until last year, Douglas Silliman, discussing the situation and US involvement in Iraq (BBC).
We once again ask for your prayers for peace in this divided land. And for the safety of those attending St George’s in Baghdad, whether church or clinic, as well as for our staff on the ground in the North of the country.
Christmas at St George’s, Baghdad
We give thanks for the Christian community able to gather to celebrate Christmas in Baghdad. The following photographs we received show the congregation at Christmas.
This year our annual appeal for the work of the Church and the Clinic at St George’s will start in February. Last year, through the generosity of all our supporters, we raised over £60,000 (including gift aid). This year we hope to raise even more. That is against the yearly funding, which just for the Clinic itself comes to more than £175,000 per year.
Thank you for your prayers for all at St George’s. Please pray for them to be able to continue to meet, to celebrate their faith and strengthen community, despite the violence and uncertainty. May they continue to shine as a light in the darkness; as a church in the heart of Baghdad. Pray also for them when they are scattered as individuals in their homes, jobs, schools and neighbourhoods.
Your continued support makes all the difference to our work in Iraq
You can make a donation via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate). Alternatively, you can send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom. American supporters wishing to make a donation can do so here.