Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq was the first of its kind in papal history. The remaining Christians in Iraq long anticipated his visit, including to an Assyrian city just 23 miles (37 kilometers) east of Mosul.
Hopefully, Pope Francis’ trip to visit the Christians in Iraq will not only lift their spirits but also inspire change so that they can stay and prosper in their ancient homeland, which would benefit all of Iraq.
After becoming direct victims of ISIS violence in 2014, no significant Christian groups in northern Iraq chose neutrality, and most fought in Christian militias rather than integrating into larger Iraqi or Kurdish forces.
The Kurdish independence movement gives the United States a unique opportunity to support a government as it transitions towards democracy and becomes a viable Middle Eastern partner within a region of chaos.