The total population of Assyrians living in countries outside their native and indigenous homelands of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey outnumber those living in the original homelands by five to one. This is not by choice; rather, it is driven by ethnic persecution.
This week, Pope Francis sought to push ajar the heavy door of doctrine to accommodate the reality of modern families. In China, leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement sat down for talks with authorities while the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing pondered how to move forward on "the rule of law." Elsewhere, in some good news, Nigeria cleared itself of Ebola. The fierce fight for Kobani continued as the western suburbs of Baghdad came under intense attack. Ukrainians head to the polls in the midst of a "frozen conflict" with Russia. In our monthly series from the Vatican, "Following Francis," Sebastien Maillard recounts the ups and downs of the synod on family and the Pope's efforts to outmaneuver conservatives among the assembled cardinals. (continued)
It may seem like a such a small thing to alter the focus of a holiday for one night and for all the adults of this nation to set the day aside for prayer. But great things can sometimes be accomplished from small beginnings.
Can you think of a worse idea than evangelicals, who believe they are serving God by killing Muslims, fighting Muslims who think they are serving God by killing Christians?
Part of the problem is that the U.S. has made the Kurds the centerpiece of its strategy to defeat ISIL in Syria, which Turkey fears will empower and strengthen Kurdish elements that want to overthrow the Turkish state.
The administration's Iraq policy has failed. The U.S. is more entangled in conflict and war; Americans have been killed in retaliation for Washington's intervention; the Islamic State is still advancing; U.S. allies continue to free ride on America; Washington hopes to square a nonexistent circle in Syria.
Pundits believe that Republicans are winning the battle for America's public opinion on foreign policy with some tough talk on ISIS. But what most people may not realize is that the GOP is more likely to commit ground troops, a plan that most folks won't back.
As Rome (or at least Kobani) burns and faces the very real threat of a Srebrenica-style massacre, it is time for the US to stop fiddling and entertain the idea of putting small groups of US troops into the fray to empower our Kurdish peshmerga, Free Syrian Army and Iraqi government allies.
The good news, and I speak here as a former member of a totalistic group, is that the 'cult' word has finally leapt into the conversation about ISIS. But it does so in a way that barely scratches the surface of what makes ISIS a cult; what draws people to it; and how to stop them.
Critics who call for simplistic solutions like "getting tough" -- some go so far as to recommend imitating Vladimir Putin, of all people -- are trying to re-fight the wars of the past.
The time is now to change the way we police America before hundreds of thousands of more pieces of military gear go to main streets across America. The face of America is changing quickly. Let's make sure it's not for the worse.
A successful soccer player near the peak of his career, 22-year Nidhal Selmi died last week a foreign fighter for the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq.
We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism; recognize the economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq; recognize that we are a perpetually war-crazed nation; seek to make reparations; and find dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero's words be heard: Stop the killing.
To hear these "experts" pontificating about Islam or Arab culture is more than annoying. It's downright dangerous. Instead of elevating the discourse, they dumb it down. And instead of making us aware of the enormous complexities involved in these conflict zones, they reduce them to simple and easy clichés.
The key to untangling this mess and creating a series of tactical and strategic responses is to understand one basic truth: There are spirals of violence here that come from below, from the street, and spirals that come from above, from the state. Responses by citizens must undercut the violent spiral and address separately the state and the street.
This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)