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)
If there is ever going to be a solution to the problem of the Islamic State that has a hope of preserving the current geo-political structure of Mesopotamia and the Levant, it rests with the survival of Bashar al-Assad's regime and the resurgence of Syria as a viable national player in the region.
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.
Dr. Ebtisam Al Qutbi did well to design a forum that highlighted the importance of international roles in the Middle East, beginning with Russia and China, and not ending with Europe and the United States.
f the United States and its allies cannot find a way to counter violent religious extremism while promoting and protecting human rights then everyone will lose.
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.
They go as quickly as they can; there is no atrocity more compelling than fresh corpses. And because a camera is now a tape recorder and a video, they bring back proof that's far more powerful than a thousand words. They fill a dossier. They make the case -- not just for grateful journalists, but for war crimes tribunals.
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.
If "Never Again" means that the world will mobilize to stop mass atrocities -- genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity -- then the integration of an exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum showing ongoing crimes in Syria that rise to that level belies our commitment to such a slogan.
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.
One good thing for the president is that his Asia-Pacific Pivot -- heightened engagement with the rising region, and nascent superpower China -- hasn't been wrecked by the lengthening array of Obama administration distractions, including his troubled and tardy war against Isis.
Allying with Assad would be worse than poor strategy; it would be morally unacceptable to anyone with an ounce of decency, and to anyone with the slightest stake in identifying and punishing his crimes.
An unfortunate but perhaps inevitable consequence of the growing numbers of young British men travelling to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS is that the communities from which they hail will at best be scrutinised for answers, and at worst be blamed for playing a part in their radicalisation.