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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.

 

Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies


PARIS/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

FILE PHOTO: A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official told Reuters. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.”

Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km, putting Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh or the Israeli city of Tel Aviv within striking distance if the weapons were deployed in southern or western Iraq.

The Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has bases in both those areas. Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is overseeing the program, three of the sources said.

Western countries have already accused Iran of transferring missiles and technology to Syria and other allies of Tehran, such as Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities, seeing it as a threat to their security. Israeli officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the missile transfers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that anybody that threatened to wipe Israel out “would put themselves in a similar danger”.

MISSILE PRODUCTION LINE

The Western source said the number of missiles was in the 10s and that the transfers were designed to send a warning to the United States and Israel, especially after air raids on Iranian troops in Syria. The United States has a significant military presence in Iraq.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base, the Western source said.

The Iranian sources and one Iraqi intelligence source said a decision was made some 18 months ago to use militias to produce missiles in Iraq, but activity had ramped up in the last few months, including with the arrival of missile launchers.

“We have bases like that in many places and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region,” said a senior IRGC commander who served during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Western source and the Iraqi source said the factories being used to develop missiles in Iraq were in al-Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf al-Sakhar, north of Kerbala. One Iranian source said there was also a factory in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The areas are controlled by Shi’ite militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the closest to Iran. Three sources said Iraqis had been trained in Iran as missile operators. The Iraqi intelligence source said the al-Zafaraniya factory produced warheads and the ceramic of missile moulds under former President Saddam Hussein. It was reactivated by local Shi’ite groups in 2016 with Iranian assistance, the source said. A team of Shi’ite engineers who used to work at the facility under Saddam were brought in, after being screened, to make it operational, the source said. He also said missiles had been tested near Jurf al-Sakhar.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment.

One U.S official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Tehran over the last few months has transferred missiles to groups in Iraq but could not confirm that those missiles had any launch capability from their current positions.

Washington has been pushing its allies to adopt a tough anti-Iran policy since it reimposed sanctions this month.

While the European signatories to the nuclear deal have so far balked at U.S. pressure, they have grown increasingly impatient over Iran’s ballistic missile program. France in particular has bemoaned Iranian “frenzy” in developing and propagating missiles and wants Tehran to open negotiations over its ballistic weapons.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Iran was arming regional allies with rockets and allowing ballistic proliferation. “Iran needs to avoid the temptation to be the (regional) hegemon,” he said.

In March, the three nations proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its missile activity, although they failed to push them through after opposition from some member states.

“Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern,” a document from the three European countries said at the time.

MESSAGE TO FOES

A regional intelligence source also said Iran was storing a number of ballistic missiles in areas of Iraq that were under effective Shi’ite control and had the capacity to launch them. The source could not confirm that Iran has a missile production capacity in Iraq.

A second Iraqi intelligence official said Baghdad had been aware of the flow of Iranian missiles to Shi’ite militias to help fight Islamic State militants, but that shipments had continued after the hardline Sunni militant group was defeated.

“It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight Daesh (Islamic State) militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict,” the official said.

The Iraqi source said it was difficult for the Iraqi government to stop or persuade the groups to go against Tehran.

“We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because simply the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button,” he said.

“Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides, the Iraqi official said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring an assortment of Shi’ite militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) into the state apparatus. The militias report to Iraq’s prime minister, who is a Shi’ite under the country’s unofficial governance system. However, Iran still has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Soleimani.

Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and Jonathan Landay in Washington; editing by David Clarke

Iran moves ballistic missiles to Iraq

Tehran’s move likely to exacerbate tensions with Washington

Published: 16:37 August 31, 2018 Gulf News

Reuters

Paris/Baghdad

Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shiite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new US sanctions against Tehran.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.

“The logic was to have a backup plan if Iran was attacked,” one senior Iranian official said. “The number of missiles is not high, just a couple of dozen, but it can be increased if necessary.” Iran has previously said its ballistic missile activities are purely defensive in nature. Iranian officials declined to comment when asked about the latest moves.

The Iraqi government and military both declined to comment.

The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km,.

The Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has bases in both those areas.

Quds Force commander Qassem Sulaimani is overseeing the programme, three of the sources said.

Western countries have already accused Iran of transferring missiles and technology to Syria and other allies of Tehran, such as Al Houthis in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Gulf neighbours and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns about Tehran’s regional activities, seeing it as a threat to their security.

The Western source said the number of missiles was in the 10s and that the transfers were designed to send a warning to the United States and Israel, especially after air raids on Iranian troops in Syria. The United States has a significant military presence in Iraq.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base,” the Western source said.

The Iranian sources and one Iraqi intelligence source said a decision was made some 18 months ago to use militias to produce missiles in Iraq, but activity had ramped up in the last few months, including with the arrival of missile launchers.

“We have bases like that in many places and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region,” said a senior IRGC commander who served during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Western source and the Iraqi source said the factories being used to develop missiles in Iraq were in Al Zafaraniya, east of Baghdad, and Jurf Al Sakhar, north of Karbala. One Iranian source said there was also a factory in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The areas are controlled by Shiite militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the closest to Iran. Three sources said Iraqis had been trained in Iran as missile operators.

The Iraqi intelligence source said the Al Zafaraniya factory produced warheads and the ceramic of missile moulds under former president Saddam Hussain. It was reactivated by local Shiite groups in 2016 with Iranian assistance, the source said.

A team of Shiite engineers who used to work at the facility under Saddam were brought in, after being screened, to make it operational, the source said. He also said missiles had been tested near Jurf Al Sakhar.

The US Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment.

One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Tehran over the last few months has transferred missiles to groups in Iraq but could not confirm that those missiles had any launch capability from their current positions.

Washington has been pushing its allies to adopt a tough anti-Iran policy since it reimposed sanctions this month.

While the European signatories to the nuclear deal have so far baulked at US pressure, they have grown increasingly impatient over Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

France in particular has bemoaned Iranian “frenzy” in developing and propagating missiles and wants Tehran to open negotiations over its ballistic weapons.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Iran was arming regional allies with rockets and allowing ballistic proliferation. “Iran needs to avoid the temptation to be the [regional] hegemon,” he said.

In March, the three nations proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its missile activity, although they failed to push them through after opposition from some member states.

“Such a proliferation of Iranian missile capabilities throughout the region is an additional and serious source of concern,” a document from the three European countries said at the time.

A regional intelligence source also said Iran was storing a number of ballistic missiles in areas of Iraq that were under effective Shiite control and had the capacity to launch them.

The source could not confirm that Iran has a missile production capacity in Iraq.

A second Iraqi intelligence official said Baghdad had been aware of the flow of Iranian missiles to Shiite militias to help fight Daesh militants, but that shipments had continued after the group was defeated.

“It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight Daesh militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict,” the official said.

The Iraqi source said it was difficult for the Iraqi government to stop or persuade the groups to go against Tehran.

“We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because simply the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button,” he said.

“Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides, the Iraqi official said.

Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring an assortment of Shiite militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) into the state apparatus. The militias report to Iraq’s prime minister, who is a Shiite under the country’s unofficial governance system.

However, Iran still has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Sulaimani.

Former Army Ranger Is Only Pittsburgh Steeler To Appear For Anthem


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/former-army-ranger-pittsburgh-steeler-appear-anthem-1/?

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to play football, not politics. Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva felt he had a higher duty. Thus, the former Army Ranger was the only Steeler visible on Sunday during the playing of the national anthem before the Steelers took on the Chicago Bears.

Tomlin admitted that two days after President Donald Trump tweeted out his condemnation of anthem protests, sparking a fierce negative reaction among NFL players, he wanted unity. Tomlin had said before the game that the team would not be on the field for the anthem, citing the players’ decision. Afterward, he said he wanted to respected what his players felt was best.

“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.

He said he let the players decide, with one condition.

“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said.

“They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president,” he added, saying the team decided to remain out of view.

Tomlin said his focus was the game, not the anthem.

“We’re not politicians. We’re coaches and professional athletes,” Tomlin said Sunday. “If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I’m going to be supportive of that. But when we come out of locker rooms, we come out of locker rooms to play football games.”

Offensive tackle Chris Hubbard said the players, by a slim majority, voted in favor of staying off the field instead of standing on the sideline holding hands, but that players knew Villanueva was going to do what he wanted.

“Al was cool with it, with whatever we went through. He was on board. That’s Al, man,” Hubbard told Penn Live. “He’s a good guy.”

“We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously,” said linebacker James Harrison. “But, I guess we weren’t.”

Villanueva, A Bronze Star recipient who three tours of duty in Afghanistan, has said there is a difference between changing society and protesting during the anthem.

“I agree that America is not perfect, I agree there are lot of issues with minorities in this country, I agree we should do something about it,” Villanueva in August 2016, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down when the national anthem of the country that is providing you freedom and providing you $16 million a year is the best way to do it when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and protecting our freedom for less than $20,000 a year.”

“I just know I’m very thankful to be an American,” Villanueva said.

Military Wins Big Time Against ISIS! Terror Network Reduced to Smaller Stronghold in Iraq


ISIS’s stronghold in Mosul, Iraq, has been brought to its knees. Iraqi Security forces’ accomplishment is “hugely significant against a very brutal and cruel enemy,” said New Zealand Army Brigadier Hugh McAslan.

McAslan is the deputy commanding general for land forces in Operation Inherent Resolve. During an interview with Business Insider he stated ISIS holds on to a very small portion of land now; to what would equal only a few football fields.

“In the last couple of weeks in particular, [Iraqi security forces] have made great progress in what has been a very difficult fight, in very difficult terrain,” McAslan said from Baghdad in a Skype interview with Business Insider.

“Certainly as we come into these last few neighborhoods, it’s very clear to us ISIS is a desperate and degraded enemy.”

According to McAslan, only about 15 acres, or approximately 3% of Mosul, remains in the hands of ISIS forces as the Iraqi military moves further into the western part of the city.

Although ISIS still has small pockets of terrain in Iraqi cities such as Hawija, Tal Afar, and Al Qaim, McAslan is confident that once the city is recaptured, other cities will continue to fall.

Despite the coalition’s success, that last 3% will not come easy despite only acouple of hundredISIS fighters remaining to put up a fight.

Some reports suggest that ISIS has been forcing civilians to stay in their homes and risk death as the battle rages around them, instead of allowing them to escape.

The terror group has also, according to McAslan, herded civilians into buildings, used human shields, and forced children to fight.

Outside of Mosul, the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have continued to push further into Raqqa, Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State. The coalition estimates there are approximately 3,000 to 4,000 fighters left to defend that city.

Business Insider

“There’s still work to do though, and we’ll continue to remain steadfast with our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated throughout Iraq,” McAslan said.

ISIS is known for having a global support base, due to its campaign to recruit terrorists via social media. We have seen incidents in France, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Philippines, etc. Defeating this network will take a lot more than beating them in Iraq and Syria. But for now we can rejoice that ISIS is getting their asses handed to them!

The Clarion Projecty Newsletter for April 21, 2017


Feature

Five Americans Who Are Standing Up Against Radical Islam These five people are on the frontlines of challenging extremism. Read

Opinion

Choosing Oppression is NOT Freedom The burqa, hijab and Harriet Tubman Read

Campaign

Violated! Act Now To Speak Out Against Injustice Four horrific tragedies that deserve your attention. Protest Now

Readers Write
Violated!

“The vicious circle of abuse repeats itself until eventually it becomes a custom of life in these barbaric countries.”

-L.A.

Why Don’t Police Care About “Allahu Akbar” in Fresno?

“If they are radicalized, then it’s a TERRORIST ATTACK, not just a hate crime”

-C.M.

This Iraqi Christian Leader Supports Donald Trump! [VIDEO]


waving flagAuthored By Joe Scudder February 11, 2017

Iraqi Christian leader

This Iraqi Christian leader does not seem worried about Trump’s travel ban and extreme vetting. It is no surprise that this Iraqi Christian leader does not get much coverage in the mainstream media. I refer to the Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq. Here he is being interviewed last August:

Now he has been commenting on our new President. According to Fox News:

The Archbishop for the Christian community in Iraq hopes President Trump and will help minority religious groups in the region. Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil in Iraq, said as long as Trump’s executive order includes special preferences for all victims of ISIS, it can be a positive for Christians in the region, whose plight Trump has been sympathetic to.

“I would personally prefer that our people stay here in their ancient homeland, but I also understand that many have lost hope,” Archbishop Warda said to Fox News. “They have suffered too much and want to leave. It is not my place to force them to stay. 

“That said, the fact that an American administration seems to know that there are Christians and other religious minorities here who need help is something I find heartening. I hope this means that we will no longer be excluded from U.S. government and UN aid, which our people desperately need.”

Warda, a key figure in the beleaguered Iraqi Christian community, has been vocal in the past about the lack of assistance from the U.S. government to Christians and other minorities in the region. Now, he hopes the current administration in Washington has started a helpful dialogue.

“How is it possible that a community suffered genocide, that has seen its numbers decline by more than 8 in 10 in a little over a decade, [receives] nothing at all from the American government that is funding countless humanitarian projects for internally displaced persons in this country?” he said.

 

The Nineveh Plain region, also known as the Plain of Mosul, has been the ancestral homeland of Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Christians, Yazidis and other minorities — all of whom were under attack from ISIS since the terror group rose in 2014. These ethnic and religious minority groups were driven from the Plain when the Islamic State attempted to establish their caliphate.christian-persecution

One of the most awful results of George W. Bush’s war in Iraq has been the devastation of the Christian churches there. Donald Trump condemned the Bush’s Iraq slaughter in no uncertain terms. Furthermore, he’s promised to protect Christian refugees. As Bradford Richardson pointed out in the Washington Times,

Advocates who work to protect persecuted groups say there is a “blind spot” in the West concerning the plight faced by Christians around the world — a shortsightedness evident in the overwhelmingly negative reaction to President Trump’s executive order granting preferred refugee status to persecuted religious minorities.

From the Coptics in Egypt and the “house churches” in China to the “subversives” in North Korea and the “apostates” in Pakistan, Christians are under fire on the international stage.

Paul Coleman, deputy director of the Alliance Defending Freedom International, said the international persecution of Christians is unrivaled. “No person or group should live in fear of being killed, tortured or oppressed because of their religious beliefs,” Mr. Coleman said in a statement. “By all accounts Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet.”

We need an administration that cares about this issue!amen

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the “nom de plume” (or “nom de guerre”) of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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.

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