Amid Pence promises, persecuted Iraqi Christians still in perilous limbo


Hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians, Yazidis and other minorities driven from battered northern Iraq are still in a perilous limbo, as humanitarian groups struggle to make sense of a new Trump Administration initiative rolled out after Vice President Mike Pence’s October 25 promise to “stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations” and “provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID.”

Humanitarian groups have called the Administration declaration a big step forward in helping the sorely-neglected minority groups recover from genocidal waves of murder, rape, displacement and plunder inflicted by now-defeated ISIS forces.

But there is still much uncertainty about how the initiative will work, what money will be involved, and how the effort will be coordinated—and above all, when it will get going..

There is also a lot of perplexity among some humanitarian groups about what  USAID has indicated it will  support and what the efforts it will not cover. “Reconstruction” of destroyed dwellings, for example, was apparently deemed a a no-no; on the other hand, “renovation” might be OK.

Meantime, the clock of desperation is still ticking loudly for the refugees, huddled in tents in Kurdistan or trying, as thousands of Christianas are doing, to move back into blasted dwellings in Iraq’s Ninevah province. Some of the returnees have had to flee again  hurriedly as Kurdish minority forces and Iraqi government troops opened up new hostilities.

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