Vice President Mike Pence is demanding that the United States Agency for International Development break through the bureaucratic gridlock that’s holding up aid to Christian and Yazidi groups in Iraq.
The religious minority groups are facing new threats, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Last week, Pence dispatched USAID administrator Mark Green to Iraq. Green’s goal during his visit will be to make sure U.S. tax dollars will help the Christian and Yazidi communities that were affected by ISIS occupation in Iraq and Syria.
Pence has been waiting for months for USAID to comply with a promise he made in October.
“President Trump and Vice President Pence made restoring the rights and property of Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities, who were nearly wiped out by ISIS’s genocidal campaign against them, a top and unceasing priority of this administration,” the vice president’s spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, said in a statement Friday.
Farah added that Pence “will not tolerate bureaucratic delays” in fulfilling his promise to provide assistance to the communities torn by ISIS.
While USAID has contributed tens of millions of dollars to the cause, the need is much greater, Farah said.
The Free Beacon reported that Pence was “irate” last week upon learning of the lack of progress to get the aid overseas.
In October, Pence had said the aid to the Christian and Yazidi communities was already on its way following a directive from President Donald Trump.
“From this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID,” the vice president said at the time.
Seven months later, Catholic bishops said the aid had not arrived and that the plight had gotten worse.
USAID officials are accused of blocking $5 million in proposals from the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee and the Catholic University in Erbi.
USAID has given no reason for rejecting the funds, but it has approved proposals from the International Organization for Migration, a group tied to the United Nations that has lost credibility among U.S. activists due to shoddy work and failing to direct the money to the religious minority groups effectively.
ISIS radically reduced the Christian population in Iraq by murdering, kidnapping and enslaving them. In 2002, there were 1.4 Christians living in Iraq. That number is now down to less than 250,000.
(H/T: The Washington Free Beacon)