Category : Iraq

(NPR) After ISIS, People From Mosul Fear What May Come Next

He says he expects chaos and violent retribution if ISIS is pushed out of Mosul. He fears that families who lost loved ones to the militants will take revenge not just on those who worked with ISIS, but on their whole families.

“There is no law, in the years to come,” he says. “The government is weak. I don’t trust these guys.”

He regards his life in Mosul as over. He never plans to go back, and says when he sits with his friends from Mosul in the nearby city of Irbil, they do not speak of home.

None of them will return, so reminiscence is painful.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Nancy Borrett Makes her Third Trip to Iraq–Convicted by Scripture, Compelled by Love

What compels a person to travel halfway across the world to care for refugees in the Kurdistan area of Iraq, or to take stuffed animals, candy and beads to kids in the last free village closest to ISIS-occupied territory? To be sure, Nancy has a global mindset and travel is not new to her. Her daughter, Ally, moved to China after graduating from college to teach English. Fortunately, sons Matt and Jacob and their families live in the U.S. But what’s interesting is that Nancy’s story could be your story, or the story of anyone who opens themselves to a God-driven chain of events and obeys God’s Word .I [Patti Wheat] interviewed Nancy after she returned from her recent trip with Jerry and Stacy Kramer, founders of Love for the Least (L4L).

Read it all (page 5).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Christology, Iraq, Middle East, Ministry of the Laity, Missions, Parish Ministry, Theology

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael–Give Christians in Iraq a say in their future

Christians in Iraq should be given independent rule or allowed to join a region of their choice in a post-war settlement, the leader of the country’s largest Church has suggested.

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I says in a report this week that should Iraq be reclaimed from Islamic State, there should be an interim political settlement allowing Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain to become “self-administrative”.

Many of the Christians who have been forced to flee could return to their homes if Islamic State is defeated, he says.

He calls for a referendum to give Christians a choice on whether they want to be governed from Baghdad, to be part of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan or even place themselves under a “Sunni state”.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Reuters) ISIS reportedly holding several hundred as human shields in Fallujah, 3,700 flee

ISIS is reported to be holding several hundred families as “human shields” in the Iraqi city of Fallujah while government forces close in, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday, citing witness accounts.

Some 3,700 people have fled Fallujah, west of Baghdad, over the past week since the Iraqi army began its offensive on the city controlled by militant forces, it said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Terrorism

(WSJ) Iraq Cleric’s Moves Test Political Order

The decision by Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to have his supporters seize and then vacate the parliament building in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone was the act of a man who””at least for now””wants to control rather than destroy the country’s political system.

But this breach has put such a strain on Iraq’s political arrangements, established after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to balance the interests of the country’s sects and ethnic groups, that once this crisis plays out, there may be not much of a system left to control.

Mr. Sadr, the scion of a prominent Shiite clerical family who once led an insurgency against U.S. occupation forces and was responsible for unleashing some of the country’s worst sectarian violence, denies that he seeks outright power.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Canon Andrew White–An update from Iraq, Israel and Jordan

With temperatures in the region of 40C/100F, Iraq is in a terrible way, both politically and economically. The parliament has not been meeting, there are violent protests in Baghdad, and the oil revenue is starting to dry up. Despite this, we are still working on the front line. Yesterday, Dr Sarah Ahmed, FRRME’s Director of Operations in the Middle East, gave out 25 kg bags of flour to over 1,000 Iraqi IDP families in Erbil, Northern Iraq.

Read it all and do not miss the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(AP) Secretary of State John Kerry determines IS group committing genocide in Iraq, Syria

U.S. officials say Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that the Islamic State group is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Sunday Telegraph) Iraq is running out of money to take on ISIS

Just as it is starting to turn the tide against Isil, Iraq is running out of money.

Behind the front lines of the Iraqi desert, where the Nineveh provincial police are training to retake their homes in and around Mosul, they are short of one thing: weapons.

“We have been regrouped here since the fall of Mosul,” said Major Ayman, standing over his line of men in blue uniforms. “We have been waiting here for five months but we have no weapons.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CNS) House Committee calls attacks on Christians, others in Middle East 'genocide'

The resolution on genocide, introduced by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska, “expresses the sense of Congress that the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians, Yezidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

“ISIS commits mass murder, beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, enslavement and the kidnapping of children, among other atrocities,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-California. “ISIS has said it will not allow the continued existence of the Yezidi. And zero indigenous Christian communities remain in areas under ISIS control.”

The Islamic State “is guilty of genocide and it is time we speak the truth about their atrocities. I hope the administration and the world will do the same, before it’s too late,” Royce added.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

C of E Parishes encouraged to support work to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees

Supporting efforts to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees is part of the Church of England’s mission alongside its work with food banks, street pastors and debt advice services, one its leading bishops says today.

Writing in a blog, Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, says church groups can provide the ‘welcoming flesh on the bones’ to efforts by local authorities and other agencies to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees.

“We are talking about a careful, realistic, grown-up setting about the task of welcoming Syrian refugees, just people in extreme need with all the complexities and riches of any human being. This is not the church saying ‘look at us being charitable’, but the people of God letting their deeds speak for Him,” he writes.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Middle East, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria

(FP) High Noon in Iraq–ISIS is finally being forced out of the country, but anarchy is taking over

The liberation of towns from the Islamic State has had the surprising effect on my Iraqi friends of making them more despondent than they were before. When they are asked when things will turn around, they shrug and say Allah karim, akin to the English expression “when pigs fly.” Just after Sinjar was “liberated,” my former student from there sent me pictures of his family’s Friday lunch spread before and after they devoured it, labeling them Sinjar “before liberation” and “after liberation.”

Iraq is now face-to-face with the classic “day after” dilemma. Many of its towns are demolished and there is no money to rebuild. There is no agreement on which groups should secure and govern the areas and who gets to go back. The most visceral and volatile barrier is the newfound distrust among the local populations of liberated areas, who see one another as collaborators, bystanders or victims of the Islamic State. Left unattended, these “day after” dynamics will ”” and have already ”” lead to internecine conflict and political gridlock that will undermine battlefield victories, similar to what happened in 2010 when military successes of the Sahwa, or Sunni Awakening militias, against Al Qaeda in Iraq were squandered due to a lack of lasting national and local political deals.

This is evident in Iraq’s disputed post-IS territories, where both the Kurdistan regional government in Erbil and the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad feel they have greater claims than ever before….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology

[Al Monitor] Jewish shrine reminds Iraqis of religious coexistence

UZAIR, Iraq ”” Jews reportedly built the tomb of the Prophet Ezra in Iraq in the fifth century, and the site has undergone many changes since.

The tomb is in the town of Uzair, which is the Arabic version of the name Ezra,
…………………………..
Ezra lived from about 480 to 440 B.C.

Some Muslim Iraqis still have good memories about the Jews who lived in Iraq until the 1950s. The ancient conflict was replaced during that time with peace and cooperation. Ali al-Saadi, a teacher who was born in Uzair and is interested in its history, told Al-Monitor that the senior citizens of the city still remember the names of dozens of their Jewish neighbors. He confirmed that Jews and Muslims lived together in peace and that Jews freely practiced their religious rituals.

Jews lived in Iraq more than 2,500 years ago in Babil, Baghdad and Mosul, among other places. But in the 1940s and 1950s, they were the victims of theft and murder, and they left the country for two reasons. First, they thought that the 1941 Iraqi coup d’etat happened in collusion with the Nazis. Second, Iraqi Jews faced a wave of anger in the wake of the global Jewish emigration to Palestine to build a Jewish state. Most of them were displaced between 1949 and 1950 after Israel was established.

Saadi said, “Jews owned houses and green fields that surrounded the shrine. These are still officially registered in their names in the real estate departments, although Jews are no longer present in Uzair. These houses have a special architecture characterized by wooden ornamented columns and oriels [bay windows].”

The shrine of Ezra has withstood centuries in an area inhabited by a deeply religious Shiite majority…

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East

(WSJ) Bp Demetrios of Mokissos–ISIS Is Guilty of Anti-Christian Genocide

The 21 [Coptic] men executed that day [in Libya] were itinerant tradesman working on a construction job. All were native Egyptians but one, a young African man whose identity is uncertain””reports of his name vary, and he was described as coming from Chad or Ghana. But the power of his example is unshakable. The executioners demanded that each hostage identify his religious allegiance. Given the opportunity to deny their faith, under threat of death, the Egyptians declared their faith in Jesus. Steadfast in their belief even in the face of evil, each was beheaded.

Their compatriot was not a Christian when captured, apparently, but when challenged by the terrorists to declare his faith, he reportedly replied: “Their God is my God.” In that moment, before his death, he became a Christian. The ISIS murderers seek to demoralize Christians with acts like the slaughter on a Libyan beach. Instead they stir our wonder at the courage and devotion inspired by God’s love.

While we remember these men’s extraordinary sacrifice, is there not more that we can do to stop this genocide against Christians in the Middle East?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

[GR] Julia Duin: AP scores a hit with scoop on ISIS' destruction of Iraqi monastery

Back in 2004, I got to visit a monastery and orphanage for boys that was in Al Qosh, a town about 31 miles northeast of Mosul, the modern Iraqi city that is across the Tigris from what was once Nineveh. The chapel, the old stone walks, a lovely fountain inside an enclosed courtyard; the whole place was a serene, beautiful spot. The tomb of the Old Testament prophet Nahum was nearby.

It was just one of several irreplaceable monasteries and holy spots in an area that goes back more than 25 centuries to the days of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Recent years have brought true catastrophe in the form of the conquering hordes of ISIS that, among other violations, destroyed the tomb of Jonah in Mosul in 2014. So maybe it should not be a huge surprise that some time in the past 18 months, ISIS destroyed Iraq’s oldest monastery..

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East

(AP) Oldest Christian monastery in Iraq razed by ISIS

Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press confirm what church leaders and Middle East preservationists had feared: The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the Islamic State group’s relentless destruction of heritage sites it considers heretical.

St. Elijah’s Monastery stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years, including most recently for U.S. troops. In earlier millennia, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches, prayed in the chapel, worshipped at the altar. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ’s name, were carved near the entrance.

This month, at the request of the AP, satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe tasked a high resolution camera to grab photos of the site, and then pulled earlier images of the same spot.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(JE) Vicar of Baghdad Witnesses Christ Amid Danger

A child of London’s East End, White explained to his listeners from theological, journalistic, and policymaking circles how years in Iraq and the wider Middle East had made him happy in the face of unspeakable horror.

“There are the days when you are crying, saying ”˜why Lord and there are days of immense joy,” the nattily-dressed, pink and blue bowtie-wearing White stated. His cane, indicating White’s multiple sclerosis, and his cross made of nails taken from the cathedral in Coventry, England, destroyed by German bombing in World War II, signified life’s harsher realities..

A singing White explained that he is even happier now than when he was resuscitating the dead from cardiac arrest as a London doctor before he joined the clergy. For “I know that I have got the love of Jesus with me all the time,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Lifesite) 1 Iraqi blogger accuses ISIS of exterminating children with Down syndrome

According to a blogger in the ancient Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS (also known as ISIL) leaders there have issued a “fatwa” against children with Down syndrome and other birth defects.

The only source for the story is the Mosul Eye, self-described as a “blog ”¦ set up to communicate what’s happening in Mosul to the rest of the world , minute by minute from an independent historian.” It has been repeated by dozens of mainstream and niche news sites, from the British Daily Mail through Fox News to Breitbart.

According to the Mosul Eye’s December 14 Facebook entry, “the Shar’i Board of ISIL issued an ‘Oral Fatwa’ to its members authorizing them to ”“ in the fatwa’s words, ‘kill newborn babies with Down’s Syndrome and congenital disorders and disabled children.'”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Iraq, Islam, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Vicar of Baghdad Canon Andrew White interviewed on Canada's '100 Huntley Street'

The interview starts at about 43;30 in–watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

C of E Bishops call on Prime Minister for a "meaningful and substantial response" to refugee crisis

Calling directly on the Prime Minister to increase his current offer to accept 20,000 refugees over the next 5 years to 50,000 the Bishops write:

“We believe such is this country’s great tradition of sanctuary and generosity of spirit that we could feasibly resettle at least 10,000 people a year for the next two years, rising to a minimum of 50,000 in total over the five year period you foresaw in your announcement. Such a number would bring us into line with comparable commitments made by other countries. It would be a meaningful and substantial response to the scale of human suffering we see daily.”

In addition to “recognising and applauding” the announcements made by the Prime Minister the Bishops offer help from the Church of England in encouraging their churches to provide welcome, housing and foster care to refugees as well as to support the Government in its ongoing efforts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Iraq, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

(WSJ) Bernard-Henri Lévy–At a Monastery in Sight of Islamic State

On a mountainside in Iraq’s Kurdish region, at the end of a road that winds through sparse olive trees, stands the fourth-century Mar Mattai monastery. It is Iraq’s oldest monastery, named for the hermit monk who retired here at the dawn of Christianity. The forces of Islamic State are a little more than two miles away. When the weather is clear on the plain of Nineveh, you can see the Islamic State front lines defending Mosul about a dozen miles in the distance.

The vast monastery perched high on Mount Alfaf is hewed from stone, its passages, stairways and terraces exposed to the sun and weather. In the courtyard on the ground level live two families who fled Mosul and the persecution of Christians there.

Four monks live at Mar Mattai. There should be several dozen to judge by the empty rooms along the esplanade. But only these four remain, clad in their black robes and caps embroidered with white crosses. In the Eastern Rite church on the upper level, the monks are standing in the crypt at the far end, their eyes closed, intoning one of the “chants of the Greek church” described by Chateaubriand in his 1811 “Record of a Journey From Paris to Jerusalem and Back.” He admired the Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) with its notes “held by different voices, some bass, others treble, executing andante and mezza voce, the octave, fifth, and third.” Its beauty, he said, was enough to cure him of a fever.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, History, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Syria, Terrorism

(Premier) "Time is running out" to save Christians in Middle East, stresses Lord Carey

A Former Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to do more to help Christians in the Middle East saying “time is running out”.

Lord Carey said more had to be done to support followers of Christ who face persecution or death at the hands of Islamic terrorism.

“Time is running out for Christians in the region,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CC) Israel’s dreams and nightmares: speaking with Author Yossi Klein Halevi

With civil war in Syria, the emergence of ISIS, and the growing power of Iran, a new Middle East seems to be in the making. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become in some ways a sideline to these other developments. What do you see emerging out of these developments with regard to Israel/Palestine?

For the first time since the collapse of the Oslo process in 2000, I feel a small stirring of optimism and can see a way out. The defining conflict in the Middle East is no longer between Arabs and Israelis but between Sunnis and Shi”˜ites. Much of the West hasn’t yet internalized this historic shift. The Saudis are now meeting regularly with Israelis and even allowing those meetings to become public knowledge. This is unprecedented.
During the Gaza War last year, even as anti-Israel demonstrations were happening in the West, Israel was receiving urgent messages from Sunni leaders demanding that it destroy the Hamas regime. Hamas is especially detested by many Sunnis for making common cause with Shi”˜ite Iran””it’s the only Sunni Muslim Brotherhood organization to break ranks in the Sunni-Shi”˜ite war.

All of which is to say that the Middle East looks very different from the Middle East than it does from the West. When Israelis looks around the region, what we see is that the most intact society left is Israel. I say that with more anxiety than pride, because this is the region in which I live, in which I’m raising a family. My prayer is for a Middle East in which all its peoples will find their safe place. Ultimately, the success of the Jewish homecoming depends on our finding our place in the Middle East.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(NYT) Thousands Enter Syria to Join ISIS Despite Global Efforts

Nearly 30,000 foreign recruits have now poured into Syria, many to join the Islamic State, a doubling of volunteers in just the past 12 months and stark evidence that an international effort to tighten borders, share intelligence and enforce antiterrorism laws is not diminishing the ranks of new militant fighters.

Among those who have entered or tried to enter the conflict in Iraq or Syria are more than 250 Americans, up from about 100 a year ago, according to intelligence and law enforcement officials.

President Obama will take stock of the international campaign to counter the Islamic State at the United Nations on Tuesday, a public accounting that comes as American intelligence analysts have been preparing a confidential assessment that concludes that nearly 30,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria from more than 100 countries since 2011. A year ago, the same officials estimated that flow to be about 15,000 combatants from 80 countries, mostly to join the Islamic State.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iraq, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

Canon Andrew White worries that Europe is failing the most vulnerable refugees

In a scathing statement, Canon White has now slammed Europe for its response to the migrant crisis. He says it is wrong to focus resources on those already in Europe, when those in real need are the ones left behind.

“I am disappointed by Europe’s response to the refugee crisis,” he said “Not enough is being done to help the most vulnerable, particularly those who have fled religious persecution.

“My charity is providing food, shelter and medicine for hundreds of Iraqi refugee families who have fled ISIS and are now in Jordan. Some have walked across the desert to find safety, with little more than the clothes on their backs.

“When I see angry young men clashing with border police in Hungary and demanding to be let into other EU countries, I feel that the wrong people are at the front of the queue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(WSJ) Tens of Thousands Demonstrate in Europe in Support of Refugees

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Europe rallied on Saturday to express sympathy toward migrants seeking refuge in the region amid the largest migration of displaced people since the end of World War II.

About 30,000 people converged in Copenhagen, according to city police, carrying banners such as “Refugees Welcome.” The rally, as well as smaller gatherings in other Danish cities, was calm and peaceful, police said.

In Hamburg, Germany, more than 24,000 people demonstrated against xenophobia and racism, said a spokeswoman for the city’s police. She said they were mostly peaceful but police briefly used water cannons after some stones and firecrackers were thrown.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Iraq, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Syria

(BBC) Migrant crisis: Germany's Merkel says EU quotas are a 'first step'

Mandatory quotas determining how many migrants each European Union country should take in are a “first step”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

She was speaking as the EU continues to grapple with a huge influx of migrants, which peaked at the weekend.

The European Commission is set to announce plans on Wednesday, including quotas, to distribute 120,000 migrants among member countries.

Germany says it can cope with more in the future but wants the burden shared.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Germany, Globalization, Immigration, Iraq, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology

Lord Carey's article for the Telegraph: Britain has a duty to rescue Syria’s Christians

[Middle Eastern Christians]… are the most vulnerable and repeatedly targeted victims of this conflict. Indeed, a hundred years after the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, in which over a million Christians are estimated to have been killed by Ottoman Muslims, the same is happening today in the form of an ethnic cleansing of Christians in the region. Christians have been crucified, beheaded, raped, and subjected to forced conversion. The so-called Islamic State and other radical groups are openly glorifying the slaughter of Christians.

Britain should make Syrian Christians a priority because they are a particularly vulnerable group. Furthermore, we are a Christian nation with an established Church so Syrian Christians will find no challenge to integration. The churches are already well-prepared and eager to offer support and accommodation to those escaping the conflict.

Some will not like me saying this, but in recent years, there has been too much Muslim mass immigration to Europe. This has resulted in ghettos of Muslim communities living parallel lives to mainstream society, following their own customs and even their own laws. Isn’t it high-time instead for the oil-rich Gulf States to open their doors to the many Muslims who are fleeing conflict? Surely if they are concerned for fellow Muslims who prefer to live in Muslim-majority countries, then they have a moral responsibility to intervene.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology

Britain should help 'crush' Isil in Syria, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey warns

Britain should “crush” Isil by taking part in military action in Syria, a former Archbishop of Canterbury suggests today amid mounting calls for further air strikes.

In an article for The Telegraph, Lord Carey says that it is “not enough” to send aid to Syria and admit thousands of refugees to this country.

He argues that Isil needs to be dealt with “for once and for all” and that “air strikes and other British military assistance” may be needed in Syria.

He also says Britain should be prioritising Christian refugees who are victims of “ethnic cleansing” and have been crucified, beheaded, raped, and subjected to forced conversion by Isil.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iraq, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism

(NYT) The Quiet Demise of the Army’s Plan to Understand Afghanistan and Iraq

The Army created the Human Terrain System ”” at the height of the counterinsurgency craze that dominated American strategic thinking in Iraq and Afghanistan late in the last decade, with much fanfare ”” to solve this problem. Cultural training and deep, nuanced understanding of Afghan politics and history were in short supply in the Army; without them, good intelligence was hard to come by, and effective policy making was nearly impossible. Human Terrain Teams, as Human Terrain System units were known, were supposed to include people with social-science backgrounds, language skills and an understanding of Afghan or Iraqi culture, as well as veterans and reservists who would help bind the civilians to their assigned military units.

On that winter day in Zormat, however, just how far the Human Terrain System had fallen short of expectations was clear. Neither of the social scientists on the patrol that morning had spent time in Afghanistan before being deployed there. While one was reasonably qualified, the other was a pleasant 43-year-old woman who grew up in Indiana and Tennessee, and whose highest academic credential was an advanced degree in organizational management she received online. She had confided to me that she didn’t feel comfortable carrying a gun she was still learning how to use. Before arriving in Afghanistan, she had traveled outside the United States only once, to Jamaica ”” “and this ain’t Jamaica,” she told me.

She was out of her depth, but at least she tried to be professional.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Anthropology, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Iraq, Middle East, Politics in General, Theology

Compassion in Action: St George’s Baghdad

A recent substantial donation from the Church of the Epiphany in Doha, Qatar, has enabled Fr Faiz Jerjes, our priest in Baghdad, to serve the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the many internally displaced Iraqis who have fled Da’esh (ISIS)) in the Mosul and Nineveh Plain area and are now at and around St George’s.

Read it all and make sure to catch the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Iraq, Middle East, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Urban/City Life and Issues