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

Sept. 15 2016

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.

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Read more at Pressure Points

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

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela