The U.S. Discriminates against Christian Refugees from Syria—and Should Stop

Of the 10,801 Syrian refugees that have been allowed into the U.S. since 2011, only 56—less than one half of a percent—are Christians. Yet Christians constitute 10 percent of Syria’s total population and have been subject to disproportionate abuse in the ongoing civil war. This statistic suggests, in the words of one expert, “de-facto discrimination and a gross injustice.” The likely reason is that refugees are referred by administrators of UN refugee camps in Jordan, but there are no Christians in those camps because those who come in are persecuted and flee at the first opportunity. Elliott Abrams comments:

The solution would be to allow Christians, and other religious minorities, to apply for refugee status directly—and not through the UN. Senator Tom Cotton has introduced legislation doing just that. . . .

Is [it] an overstatement [to say] that the United States “bars” Christian refugees from Syria? Sure, in that we do not and could not legally ban Christian refugees any more than we could or should bar Muslim refugees. But when you have been running a refugee program for years, and you have accepted 10,612 Sunni refugees and 56 Christians, and it is obvious why and obvious how to fix it, and nothing is done to fix it, well, the results speak more loudly than speeches, laws, intentions, or excuses. In effect we make it almost impossible for Christian refugees to get here.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, Refugees, Syrian civil war, U.S. Politics

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas