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‘Nobody Will Go Back’: Christians Flee Middle East After Fall of Islamic State


Reported by EDWIN MORA |

Iranian Christian worshippers attend the Christmas mass at the Saint Joseph Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic church, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. Iranian Christians are a minority and recognized by the constitution in the Muslim country and are represented in the parliament. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
 

The number of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, the greater Middle East, continues to plummet months after the Islamic State, which waged a genocidal campaign against Christians, lost its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, Breitbart News learned from various experts, including an archbishop.

“Unfortunately, it can be stated that the Islamic State group’s anti-Christian campaign was very successful in Iraq, and to a certain extent, successful in Syria,” John Hajjar, the co-chair of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy (AMCD) and co-director of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), told Breitbart News.

“I think we have no more hope,”Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the diocesan legate in America’s capital and ecumenical director for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, also told Breitbart News, referring to the future of Christianity in its Middle East cradle. “Middle East Christians have no nation that protects them openly.”

The number of Christians in Middle East-North Africa (MENA), as a component of the overall Muslim-majority population, has dropped substantially — from about ten percent in 1900 to between two and four percent now.

There are different estimates for the overall number of Christians that vary from about 12 million in the Middle East alone to about 20 million in MENA, Breitbart News learned from the experts and data from U.S. government and independent sources.

“The future for Christians right now is terrible — a Middle East without Christians. We are going to have churches without Christians as museums for tourists. There will be no Christians left,” the archbishop warned, echoing other analysts who have constantly cautioned that Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the Middle East.

“The number of Christians in the Middle East has already dropped extensively,” he further declared, accusing church leaders of inflating the actual numbers of Christ followers in the region to minimize the fact that Christianity is on the brink of extinction.

The bishop urged U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to do even more to help Middle East Christians.

Contradicting assertions by the Trump administration, the Church leader said, “People are not coming back. I can assure you that nobody will go back.”

The Trump administration has disbursed billions in funding to help victims of ISIS genocide, namely Christians and Yazidis, but the bishop told Breitbart News it is “not enough.”

“Trump is going to be a hero for the Christians in the Middle East if he takes more action,” he said.

Addressing President Trump, Archbishop Aykazian added, “Please help the Christians. They need your help and once you move one of your fingers the entire Arabic world will thank you. If he does such a thing, it is going to change everything. If he doesn’t, they will suffer.”

“The ball is in Trump’s court,” he further said.

In Iraq, which experts say has experienced the most dramatic drop in Christians due to jihadis and Iran-allied groups, Aykazian told Breitbart News that number has decreased from 1.6 million to less than 100,000, marking a drop of more than 90 percent.

“A similar situation is taking place in Syria’s Aleppo where there has also been a drop of more than 90 percent in Christians, from 360,000 to about 25,000 now,” he said, noting, “The church leaders don’t want to say those statements because they fear their followers will be disillusioned.”

ISIS’s genocide campaign targeted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, primarily Christians and Yazidis, killing tens of thousands of them and taking some hostages as sex slaves.

“They [Christians] realized just how insecure they are,” Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, told Breitbart News. “Their own governments fail to protect them, and ISIS gained popular support within some neighboring major Sunni areas, like Mosul.”

Archbishop Aykazian said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi “so far has been the best leader in the Middle East for defending Christians.” he said, adding, “The biggest Christian majorities are in Egypt.”

Shea pointed out, “Egypt retains ten million Coptic Christians. That is the only place where I see a certain future for them [Christians].”

“In a generation, Egypt may be the only remaining country with a robust Christian community that traces its roots to the earliest Christian church,” Shea added. “Elsewhere in the Middle East, only remnants of these ancient communities may survive.”

Nevertheless, Shea and the bishop acknowledged that, even in Egypt, Christians are confronting the spread of Sunni extremism and anti-Christian bigotry. The ongoing war against Islamic terrorism continues to kill, wound, and push Christians out of their historical homelands in the greater Middle East, even in Egypt.

“More recently, after the Arab Spring and with the rise of ISIS, tens of thousands of Christians were killed in Iraq and Syria,” Hajjar said. “Close to 1 million Christians in the region have gone into exile.”

“Following multiple terrorist attacks in Egypt against the Copts, many Christian Egyptians also emigrated from their country,” Hajjar continued. “We can estimate that more than 25-30 percent of Christians in the Middle East have been affected by the recent wars and conflicts.”

The experts also attributed the ongoing demise of Christianity in the Middle East to certain governments’ disdain towards followers of Christianity and their refusal to protect them.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly designated Christians as “enemies of the state.” In Iraq, the country that experienced the sharpest drop in the number of Christ followers in recent years, Baghdad-sanctioned Iran-allied Shiite militias have reportedly taken Christian lands and are harassing them.

Referring to the countries that have experienced the largest decline in Christians, Hajjar named Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. Similar to Hajjar’s list, the bishop said, “Iraq is number one, Lebanon is number two, and Syria is number three.”

The experts conceded that the Trump administration had done more to help Middle East Christians than his predecessor, but they argued that Christians are far from protected and more can be done.

 

Report: Islamic State Using Drones to Drop Bombs with ‘Pinpoint Accuracy’


waving flagAuthored by Edwin Mora | 26 Jan 2017

“I am aware that ISIL has used commercial-off-the-shelf UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] to drop small explosive weapons,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a top U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, told the Washington Times. “This capability is dangerous and has propaganda value, but it will not change the fact that the enemy is being defeated in both Iraq and Syria.”Oh good

The Times reports:

The new capability raises the specter that the Islamic State one day could attack urban areas from the air, not just on the ground. The U.S. military is alarmed by the terrorist army’s quick technological advances and is evaluating more than 20 systems to detect and destroy its drone air force. Other systems already have been rushed to the war.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon confirmed that ISIS is using small drones carrying grenade-like explosives in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. The drones have caused civilian and military casualties, the Pentagon revealed. A U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive is currently fighting to push ISIS out of Mosul.

In a January 18 letter, then-U.S. Army Secretary Eric K. Fanning reportedly wrote Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a U.S. Marine veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, that the jihadi drone threat is on the rise.

“These advances present our adversaries with opportunities to quickly adjust and improve their tactics, and the Army must remain adaptive and agile to respond to the evolving threat,” declared Fanning. against-america

He revealed that the U.S. military is testing more than 20 government and industry systems “designed to detect, identify and electronically defeat” jihadi drones.

In a propaganda video disseminated on social media Tuesday, ISIS featured aerial footage of a Chinese Skywalker X8 drone that can be purchased on Amazon targeting clusters of Iraqi soldiers, tanks, and buildings. The video captured ISIS’ ability to assemble, arm, deploy, and guide drones to locate and strike specific targets.

Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which obtained the video from an ISIS Internet channel, described the small aircraft as “the first offensive drone able to carry bombs, albeit small ones.”

Echoing the former U.S. Army secretary, the MEMRI chief predicted that ISIS will expand its use of drones.

“They have been using drones for a few years, mainly for their films, but there has been a major increase in usage,” Mr. Stalinsky said, adding that drones “are easily obtainable online, then can be modified. We have seen many drones used by ISIS that can be bought on Amazon.” 

ISIS has been employing the use of commercially available drones for reconnaissance and to capture footage for propaganda videos. The jihadist group has also reportedly used drones to drop grenades. The Iraqi military has confirmed, too, that ISIS has weaponized drones.

“Daesh [ISIS] uses drones for surveillance and sometimes it attaches explosives to them and uses to target commanders or headquarters,” Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saidi of Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service told reporters in November at a military headquarters in a Mosul suburb.

Rep. Hunter told the Times that after a classified briefing on Tuesday, he is confident the U.S. military in Iraq is capable of defeating ISIS drones.

ISIS launches chemical weapons attack on Syria’s airbase in Deir Ez-zor – report


waving flagPublished time: 5 Apr, 2016 01:10Edited time: 5 Apr, 2016 12:46

© Stringer

© Stringer / Reuters

Mohammad-contest-piece-4-small-1_zpsr4tzeyvq-630x1024Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) militants have reportedly used poisonous gas in an attack on a Syrian military airbase located in Deir Ez-zor, the largest city in the eastern part of the country, RIA Novosti cited a military source as saying.

“The Daesh [derogatory Arabic name for IS] militants attacked the military airfield in Deir Ez-zor with shells containing a poisonous chemical substance. The defenders of the airbase have reported that a number of soldiers were choking,” the source said.

This latest report adds weight to previous evidence implicating IS in using various forms of poisonous gas to attack targets. Kurdish deputies in the Turkish parliament have previously accused Turkey of supplying Islamic State and other jihadist groups inside Syria with chemical weapons to fight the Syrian government. In an interview with RT, a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia said that Turkey had provided a clear transit route for the chemical weapons that were deployed against them near the city of Aleppo in early March.

Anti-government militants “took advantage of the ceasefire” to launch attacks against a Kurdish-controlled area near Aleppo in northern Syria, Redur Xelil told RT. “Our sources inside the rebel groups have confirmed that toxic substances were used.”

chem

In early March, Reuters cited local Iraqi governor Najmuddin Kareem as saying that Islamic State fighters had used “poisonous substances” during the shelling of the village of Taza, which is located in northern Iraq. 

More than 40 people suffered from partial chocking and skin irritation after mortar shells and Katyusha rockets filled with “poisonous substances” exploded in the mainly Shia Turkmen village.

Moreover, back in February, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed reports that IS had been using chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq throughout 2015.

The OPCW also concluded in October that mustard gas had been deployed in neighboring Syria in 2015. The summary of the report asserts “with the utmost confidence that at least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard [on August 21]” in the town of Marea, located north of Aleppo. “It is very likely that the effects of sulfur mustard resulted in the death of a baby,” the report added.Do you want

Moreover, a more recent publication compiled by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) states that 161 attacks involving poisonous or asphyxiating agents, such as sarin, chlorine, and mustard gas, have been committed since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, killing at least 1,491 people.

READ MORE: ISIS militants used mustard gas against Kurdish forces in Iraq – chemical weapon watchdog

Under the 1949 Geneva Convention, such attacks constitute war crimes against humanity. Yet, despite a 2013 resolution passed by the UN mandating the destruction of poisonous gas stockpiles, they have continued.

The Syrian government gave up its own supply of chemical weapons under international supervision after hundreds of civilians were killed by sarin nerve gas in a Damascus suburb in 2013. Western countries pointed the finger at President Bashar Assad for that atrocity, though his government has steadfastly denied the allegations.

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BREAKING: U.S. Lawmakers Make Stunning Move To Investigate Obama For Helping ISIS


waving flagBy: Wilmot Proviso on December 12, 2015

muslim-obamaThree committees in the House of Representatives announced Friday that they were launching concurrent investigations into allegations that President Barack Obama deliberately manipulated intelligence reports from Syria and Iraq, allowing the Islamic State group to thrive.

According to the Washington Examiner, Republican Reps. Ken Calvert of California, Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio will lead the investigations for the Armed Services Committee, Intelligence Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, respectively.

“In addition to looking into the specific allegations, the Joint Task Force will examine whether these allegations reflect systemic problems across the intelligence enterprise in CENTCOM or any other pertinent intelligence organizations,” read a joint statement from Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Freylinghuysen, R-N.J.

The investigations by the House committees joined an investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general’s office in relation to the Obama administration’s alleged manipulation of Islamic State group intelligence at U.S. Central Command.

A September report said that 50 intelligence officials at CENTCOM had signed a letter claiming intelligence on the Islamic State group had been doctored. The report claimed that the Obama administration would deliberately punish any intelligence official who gave accurate assessments of terror group strength and didn’t doctor the information to make it look like the United States was winning the battle against them.ISIS is contained

Even Democrats have gotten on the president and the administration about the intelligence doctoring, including one of the ranking Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jackie Speier of California.

“More recently the intelligence community, I think, has provided much more accurate assessments. But CENTCOM, which is the area that is responsible for the Middle East, has, for whatever reasons, we don’t know yet why, has dumbed down the intelligence, has sweetened it, has made it seem like we are being more successful there than we are,” Speier said.

“I’m deeply troubled by what I believe is doctoring that has taken place and has created an impression that we are doing better there than we actually are.”

Rep. Speier may claim “we don’t know yet why” intelligence reports were doctored, but we’re pretty sure we understand why.Delusional Mental Illness Gibberish

And pretty soon, these congressional investigations will reveal officially put the “why” out there for the world to see.

Do you think this deriliction of duty by Obama has helped the Islamic State group to thrive?

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