How an Israeli Consultant Helped Open Slovakia’s Doors to Iraqi Refugees

After Douglas al-Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic priest, brought hundreds of refugees from Islamic State into his church in the city of Erbil, he reached out to contacts in the U.S. for help. Soon he was working with two CIA veterans, who in turn enlisted the assistance of Aron Shaviv, an Israeli political consultant. Shaviv convinced the Slovak government—which has vigorously protested EU pressure to accept refugees—to settle Bazi and over 100 members of his Aramaic-speaking flock within its borders. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

[Shaviv’s] team tried at least a dozen countries before getting a hearing in Slovakia. “My policy was the path of least resistance—the first country that showed any kind of positive leanings was Slovakia,” said Shaviv.

[He] explained that it was important in Slovakia, still a very traditional Catholic country, to get both the Vatican and its local religious authorities involved. “We thought that the right approach was to get the Slovak church to take ownership and say ‘these are our people,’” said Shaviv.

And after many trips to the Vatican, [the church] came on board in saving Iraqi Catholics. “The . . . messaging that got them to really identify and take ownership was that this is the last Christian community on earth that speaks the language of Jesus,” Shaviv commented.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Iraq, Israel, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, Refugees, Slovakia, Vatican


Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria