Economic Empowerment Might Be the Key to Helping Middle East Christians

Throughout history, Jews have rallied to help their persecuted coreligionists abroad—from the international effort in the 17th century to buy the freedom of Ukrainian Jews sold into slavery in the Ottoman empire, to 20th-century efforts to free Soviet Jewry, to Israel’s rescue of Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen, and elsewhere. But Christians in recent years have had limited success in aiding the beleaguered Christian minorities of the Middle East. In the recent war in the Caucasus, Armenian Christians have suffered at the hands of Muslim Azerbaijan, and American Christians’ attempts to lobby their government to help have been stymied by the fact that Washington shares common interests with Baku. Robert Nicholson suggests a new approach that goes beyond the usual “bullets or band-aids”:

The time has come to shift our focus from state power to private investment, linking Christian businessmen in the West with those in the Middle East to open companies, develop properties, and transport local products to market. This was the survival strategy of the early church, whose members pooled their wealth for the benefit of all. It demands more creativity and determination, . . . but it promises more dignified and permanent results.

A peaceful economic crusade will prioritize Christian communities that have critical mass and favorable conditions for investment. Here, the significance of Armenia becomes obvious. Not only does Armenia rank high on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, it also boasts an emerging high-tech sector and inexpensive yet skilled labor.

Its Christians have something that others in the region only dream of: political sovereignty, which amplifies any investment in three dimensions. A strong economy means greater engagement from potential allies and greater resilience against local enemies. It also turns Armenia into a safe haven for regional Christians looking for better opportunity and, if needed, emergency asylum among other indigenous believers.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Armenians, Azerbaijan, Middle East Christianity, U.S. Foreign policy

 

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy