October 9, 2002
STATEMENT ON IRAQ
While our country is on the brink of war with Iraq, it is the opinion of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America that our esteemed President and governmental leaders rethink their position and the logic behind this impending conflict. Such an attack will destabilize the entire region, cause untold harm to countless children and other civilians as well as bring political and social unrest to an already troubled area of the world.
It is our conviction that all United Nations resolutions must be implemented in a consistent and meaningful way. We must add that we find it hypocritical that Iraq is threatened with war and destruction for failing to comply with UN resolutions while another state in the same region is in violation of about seventy UN resolutions which have never been implemented. This continues to be a reality even as this state occupies land that does not belong to it, illegally expands and builds settlements on occupied territories and implements collective punishment on masses of innocent people because of the distorted actions of a few. We are fully aware that Saddam Hussein and his government have committed atrocious acts which are in violation of international law.
We are gravely concerned, however, that a war against Iraq will create even more chaos in the region. The overthrowing of the Iraqi government could cause the breakup of the country into warring factions for many years to come. In addition, the geo-political imbalance this war would cause in the area will take generations to repair. It is said that our government will “rebuild Iraq and help the people of Iraq to form a democratic government.” History has proven that this rarely comes to fruition. We need only look to the Balkans and Afghanistan as recent examples.
Therefore, we beseech our respected leaders and representatives and all those of good will to allow the United Nations inspectors to complete their mission. At the same time, we encourage our President and Congress to seek the difficult and tiresome road of peace rather than the bloody and dark road of war.
Issued by: Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba, Primate
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
“…the Disciples were called Christians first in Antioch!” ACTS 11:26