While there has been much talk in the West about the urgent need to confront the brutal Sunni entity ISIL (also known as ISIS), there is uncertainty over whether the Kurds and the Iraqi army with just some Western air support can defeat them. With no decision to send in ground troops, there are even queries about Washington's commitment.
There are no queries about the commitment of Iran, the world’s leading Shia nation. Tehran is absolutely determined there will never be an ISIL dominated Iraq. Since ISIL are sworn enemies of Shias, this is a matter for their national security.
Unlike the West Iran already has plenty of boots on the ground. In Iraq and Syria Iranian backed militias are fighting alongside the Iraqi and Syrian armies to defeat the Sunni extremists. They are not arm chair theorists. When the ISIL siege of the Iraqi town of Amerli was lifted, pictures from the war zone showed the Revolutionary Guard leader Qassem Suleimani. He had been fully involved.
History is full of ironies and here is another one: Iranians have vowed to defend Baghdad.
It is important that Christians pray that ISIL is defeated, completely. And until that defeat for the protection of all the Christians – and other religious minorities – who are threatened by them. It is also important to remember that as Muslims across the Middle East hear yet more reports of outrageous violence in the name of their religion, so questions will arise and there will be more openness to hear about Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.