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Pope Francis, surrounded by shells of destroyed churches, leads a prayer in Mosul, Iraq Pope Francis, surrounded by shells of destroyed churches, leads a prayer for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa Church Square, in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

The Pope’s Visit Exposed Iraq’s Lack of Reconstruction

Monday, March 8, 2021

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Managing Editor Frederick Deknatel highlights a major unfolding story in the Middle East, while curating some of the best news and analysis from the region. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Middle East Memo by email every week.

“Mosul Welcomes You,” read banners across the city when Pope Francis visited Sunday, the last full day of his landmark trip to Iraq. Most of the banners covered crumbling buildings or hung on walls still pockmarked by bullets and artillery. The pope arrived in Mosul by helicopter, flying over the “the rubble of houses [that] stretched out like a vast quarry,” as The New York Times’ Jason Horowitz and Jane Arraf reported from what used to be Iraq’s second-largest city. ...

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