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The U.S. Must Aid Persecuted Christians

Taking stock of the horrific persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, Tina Rodriguez calls on their American coreligionists to encourage the U.S. government to defend them:

[The U.S.] must recognize that religious freedom is a critical linchpin for every other human right and for peace and security globally. When that freedom suffers, so too does the stability of a country. As the situations in Iraq and Syria have shown, when religious oppression runs rampant, it leads to military conflict and humanitarian crisis. It also destabilizes countries, and there terrorist networks find safe havens from which they can launch attacks on America. Religious freedom is a national-security imperative. . . .

We cannot ignore abuses of this freedom in countries considered allies. When we do, Americans suffer and conflicts escalate. . . . In Iraq, the U.S. continues to aid in the defeat of Islamic State while saying nothing about the need for legal changes that would ensure the long-term viability of communities facing sectarian conflict and genocide. We should invest in programs that bolster local leadership and respect for religious freedom to help mitigate potential conflict. . . .

[T]here should be high-level involvement to ensure that foreign-service officers are receiving the training required by law in religious freedom. . . . When Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman, was imprisoned in Sudan and sentenced to death for apostasy, U.S.-embassy officials were woefully absent in aiding her. Her husband was an American citizen, and she was shackled to a prison floor with her eighteen-month-old son while her baby girl was born. Still, the officials did nothing. The time for doing nothing is over.

Read more at National Review

More about: Freedom of Religion, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, Sudan, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security