Two weeks ago I was on a conference call interview with Captain Barak Raz, former spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria Division of the IDF Central Command discussing the situation in Judea and Samaria.
While security is relative (particularly in the middle east) in Judea and Samaria things are relatively stable overall. The goal of course is to allow all concerned to: “have a normal life regardless of a political outlook”.
The problem is the risk of the rise of Al Qaeda groups or rather Salafist groups inspired by Al Qaeda such as the groups that have been operating in the Gaza strip.
The PA are not fans of Salafids or Hamas their allies and the captain believes they might consider them a bigger threat to their position than “big bad Israel” in Hebron but there is a reason why the PA has not been in a rush to hold elections since 2006.
But as Waleed Pharis pointed out in the same conference call the rise of these groups are not happening in a vacuum as Iran has gotten signals through the years that the administration will not support the foes of the ayatolyas in Iran and the nuclear deal demonstrated the rewards of opposing the US.
Meanwhile a week later we see this story out of Syria:
On Monday, the State Department confirmed its openness to engaging with the Islamic Front following the group’s seizure of a Free Syrian Army headquarters last week containing U.S.-supplied small arms and food. “We wouldn’t rule out the possibility of meeting with the Islamic Front,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. “We can engage with the Islamic Front, of course, because they’re not designated terrorists … We’re always open to meeting with a wide range of opposition groups. Obviously, it may make sense to do so at some point soon, and if we have something to announce, we will.”
How soon the U.S. might engage with the powerful rebel faction, if it chooses to, is uncertain. On Saturday, Reuters reported that Syrian rebel commanders in the Islamic Front were due to meet U.S. officials in Turkey in the coming days to discuss U.S. support for the group.
Via Robert Spencer who asks:
The U.S. mulls allying with an al-Qaeda force. What could possibly go wrong?
So the Syrian Al Qaeda rebels continue to gain ground to the point where Barack Obama is willing to play ball with them.
An interesting development, but that’s recent, there is an ongoing one that is even more important as evidenced from the headline in the Telegraph:
The situation is dire:
None the less, the minority status of Christians has left them feeling acutely vulnerable – nowhere more so than in Doura, which sits on a palm-lined stretch of the Tigris as it winds south of Baghdad.
Christians first settled here in the 1960s to work at the nearby oil refinery, with a cluster of churches, monasteries and seminaries giving the area the nickname “The Vatican of Iraq”.
But during Saddam’s reign, Doura also became populated with Salafists – Sunni hardliners put there to defend the city’s southern flank in the event of an uprising in Iraq’s Shia-dominated south. Post-war, the Salafists declared the area to be a mini al-Qaeda caliphate, threatening Christian women for not wearing headscarves and extorting tithes for non-existent “protection” services.
They would consider joining those who have left, however…
Those unable to join Iraqi diasporas in Europe and America often fled to sister communities in neighbouring Syria, only to find themselves in similar peril thanks to al-Qaeda’s presence in the war against President Bashar al-Assad. In post-Mubarak Egypt, the Christians fear a similar reckoning, and only last month Pope Francis warned that the entire Church was in peril across the region, adding: “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.”
Yet with al-Qaeda once again on the rise in Iraq – more than 6,000 people have been killed in 2013, the most in five years – Christian communities such as Doura are already contemplating that very scenario.
As Pam Geller puts it:
Either we grant immediate asylum to the Christians and apostates, or we leave a military force dedicated to protecting these communities from Muslim supremacists. This was Bush’s great failing. Obama, on the other hand, has actively aided and abetted jihadists from Africa to the Middle East — Egypt to Libya, Syria to Gaza — so there is no hope for non-Muslim minorities in those countries.
For the pope, Saint Stephen’s martyrdom is the reason why “we are praying today especially for Christians who suffer discrimination because of their witness to Christ and the Gospel.”
“We are close to those brothers and sisters who, like Saint Stephen, are unjustly accused and subjected to violence of various kinds. This happens especially where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or not fully realised. In my opinion, there are more today than in the early days of the Church. As it happens however, even in countries and places that protect freedom and human rights on the paper, believers, especially Christians, encounter limitations or discrimination.”
“For these brothers and sisters, I would ask you to pray, for a moment, in silence, everyone,” the pope said off the cuff. After a brief moment of silence, he continued, saying, “Let us entrust them to Mary,” and called on everyone to say a Hail Mary for them.
“For Christians,” he added, “this is not surprising because Jesus foretold it as an opportunity to bear witness. Nevertheless, injustice must be legally reported and eliminated.”
the media that loves him doesn’t (look at the names missing from that news search). The biggest name in media that covered it was Huffpo, and the comment section on the story pretty much says they have it coming) Perhaps they see Christians simply as Republicans living abroad.
So what do we conclude from these things:
1. On the Micro level we see Islamists growing in strength in Judea & Samaria
2. On the larger level we see Al Qaeda rebels rising to take power from the secular (Iranian) Assad
3. And on the Grand Scene we see the retreat of Christianity in the middle east, not only in Iraq but in places like Egypt, Syria and more.
All of these things have two things at their root.
1. The secularization of a major party of the United States.
2. The unwillingness of the West in General and the US in particular to forcibly confront Radical Islam.
I will give Pam Geller the last word.
No religious minority is safe from sharia and/or Muslim militias. Ever.
My only quibble with this line, is this. That statement isn’t limited to Religious minorities.