J Ron Byler, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee U.S., joined other faith leaders this week in urging the U.S. government to address root causes of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. The letter states:
This week marks two significant anniversaries that should cause us to reflect on events that have contributed to the current crisis in the Middle East. As U.S. churches and Christian organizations with long and deep ties to the churches and faith communities of the Middle East, we are especially concerned about the possible repercussions of continued, and possibly renewed, U.S. military intervention in the region….
This past Sunday, March 15, marked the date of the beginning of the uprising in Syria in 2011. The conflict there has now spiraled into what the United Nations has termed “the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.”
Later this week, March 19, will mark the 12-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As the letter notes, “The U.S. invasion and its accompanying policies set in motion a spiral of violence and sectarianism from which Iraq has yet to recover, and which has only gotten worse.”