The Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle
The Iraqi state, cobbled together by the now long dead British Empire from the former Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul in the aftermath of the First World War, appears to be coming to its end. The fruits of the 2003 American invasion are now laid bare for all to see. The gains of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, over the past three weeks in the north and west of Iraq and the inability of the Baghdad government to reconquer this territory have now opened up an opportunity for the Kurds to achieve their dream, which is as old as Iraq itself, to cut off their own region from Baghdad’s control and form their own state.
The president of the Kurdish regional government Massoud Barzani today asked the Kurdish parliament to form an electoral commission for the purpose of conducting an independence referendum. No date has been set but there is no doubt as to the outcome. And whenever they decide to do it this referendum will eliminate any chance of putting Iraq as it has been known to the world since the 1920s back together.
What chance the Kurdish state will have in the future I cannot say; there are powers in the Middle East such as Israel who see it as some sort of buffer against the rise of the Islamic State but we shall see. Meanwhile the Islamic State is gaining strength (doubtless due to the influx of Iraqi weapons) in Syria and has taken control of large parts of the Euphrates valley. Only the Syrian government controlled town of Deir az-Zour stands between the Islamic State and its control over the whole of the Euphrates valley from Raqqa to Haditha. All of this while other Syrian rebels are saying that they will give up fighting against the Islamic State. Nothing succeeds like success, as IS is showing right now. Events are fluid in the Middle East and it has been a long time since the world has seen so much that most people take for granted across the world in such doubt across such a wide region.
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.