Iraq's Christians see Putin as savior

“Russia proved through history that it’s the only defender of Christians,” said Ashur Giwargis, who heads the Assyrian Patriotic Movement (APM), which for two years has energetically lobbied the Kremlin to support an independent Assyrian Christian state in northern Iraq…

“The West is not Christian,” raged Aziz Emmanuel al-Zebari, a Chaldean Catholic church official, when we met in Erbil’s buzzy Christian quarter on a blazingly hot Ascension Day late in May. “They destroyed us by installing a government based on Islamic sects in which we have no place,” he added, as a sermon in Aramaic rang out from the distinctive Ziggurat-style cathedral in the background…

“Muslims thought we were like the Americans, and so as they became more unpopular, our problems increased,” remembered Ramy Youssef, whose once friendly Baghdad neighbors ostracized his family as the occupation dragged on. (Some had it much worse. The U.S.’s hiring of a number of Lebanese Christian interpreters meant that anyone with a Lebanese accent was deemed suspect, and a number of visiting Beirutis were allegedly mistakenly killed.)