The main Vatican UN diplomat, Italian Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, has called for armed resistance to ISIS in a document presented to the UN Human Rights Council. Crux interviewed him about its aims:
Tomasi told Crux that in the first instance, he hopes the statement will galvanize nations around the world to provide humanitarian aid to Christians and other groups suffering at the hands of ISIS, “so they can survive and stand up for their own rights.”Beyond that, Tomasi said, the crisis requires “more coordinated protection, including the use of force to stop the hands of an aggressor.”“It will be up the United Nations and its member states, especially the Security Council, to determine the exact form of intervention necessary,” he said, “but some responsibility [to act] is clear.”
The Vatican is clearly calling for some sort of UN-authorized force here. Tomasi further said that whatever force is formed, it must not be just a “Western approach.”Regardless, this statement could fuel the burgeoning movement of Westerners traveling to the Middle East to fight ISIS. There have been several profiles published of American veterans joining anti-ISIS forces; in at least some cases the motivations have been religious, with some American volunteers apparently having joined a Christian militia called Dwekh Nawsha. The AP described one American volunteer this way: “Bearing a tattoo of a machine gun on his left arm and another of Jesus in a crown of thorns on his right, Brett jokingly refers to himself as a ‘crusader.'”A Daily Beast article paraphrased one volunteer fighting the Kurds: “a lot of his ex-Army buddies are itching to get to Iraq and join the anti-ISIS fight, but he says many have been blocked because they make those plans public on social media.” For self-styled crusaders, a call from the Vatican might be just the thing to nudge them to join the fight—whether that’s what the Vatican intended or not.