With increased activity of Muslim extremists all over the Middle East, Christianity is doomed in the Middle East.
ISIS, the extremist militant group that took Mosul last June, has set it at the mercy of its blade. Christian homes are marked for death, with the extremists manipulating the water supply of the area. Their self-styled caliphate intends to conquer most of the Middle East with Iraq and Syria its first targets.
It had executed Christians or had forced them to convert to Islam. Christians who are exiled hold no possessions and may be shot at the back after they are released.
ISIS strategies include cutting off the water and food supply in most towns. Refugees escape in cars with numbers of 10 to 15 each vehicle. The towns they mark under their name as their property.
Many Christians are afraid that their society will vanish in the Middle East. The different Christian doctrines, which include Assyrians, Chaldeans or Syriacs, are at risk of being phased out of the area.
Should the governments of the world not take action, the Middle East will fall into the hands of Jihadists, who may precisely launch attacks against neighbours at any time.
According to the Syrian Air Force, it has killed an approximate 140 members of the Islamic State after delivering air strikes against a military base held by the militant group north of Syria.
Military sources believe that the raid on Tabqa Air Base in Raqqa had wounded dozens of Islamic State fighters.
Huge numbers of Regime soldiers died defending the air base. Eventfully it had fallen to ISIS’ hands on August 2014.
Meanwhile, worldwide concern over the Palmyra ruins of Syria could breathe as Syrian Antiquities Chief Maamoun Abdulkarim confirms the militants have not yet touched the world heritage site.
Poland, assisting in the provision of welfare for refugees, aims to re-settle 60 Christian families from Syria. According to Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, they will start with 60 families and then a bigger number soon.
The United Kingdom and Russia have agreed to begin talks to finally end the civil war in Syria and focus on containing the threat of ISIS. Both sides agreed that the Syrian Opposition is the key to easing the civil war and ultimately ending the rise of the Islamic State.
The Shia Houthi rebels who had ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had seized Taiz, which is Yemen’s third largest city Getting closer to the southern port city of Aden, the United Nations had warned that the Houthi rebels could induce a civil war in the country.
Hadi’s Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said that the Gulf Cooperation Council must intervene to stop the chaos consuming the country. He also asked the United Nations and GCC to establish a no-fly zone against the rebel warplanes who had bombed Aden over the weekend.
The GCC and Sunni-controlled Saudi Arabia, alarmed at the development, said the Houthis were a proxy for their regional rival, Shia-majority Iran.
Meanwhile, Saudi had said it could take steps to protect Hadi. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said that if the issue cannot be resolved peacefully Saudi will take action to secure the region from rebel aggression.
“I don’t think any side could win a civil war. No side can win a civil war – the only way forward is negotiation, which implies concession from all sides, which implies also, a compromise.”
US and UK forces are withdrawing their forces due to the situation. However, they have marked that Islamic State militants have made their presence known in Yemen. An IS affiliate had said that the IS used suicide attacks that left 29 dead in Lahj, north of Aden.
After two Japanese nationals, Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa, had been named as the next executed in the name of Islamic State’s (IS) demands, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s diplomatic leadership is strongly questioned by analysts.
According to Japantimes.co.jp’s Eric Johnston, the Japanese Prime Minister’s Middle East policies are being questioned. His own brand of personal diplomacy may spell doom or glory for the country.
Johnston highlighted that the Japanese Prime Minister has a choice in supporting the United States and Arab countries that Japan is a valuable ally that could become an independent broker who retains its honesty in the international arena.
Meanwhile, the IS is demanding that Japan pay $200 million be paid in total for the lives of the two Japanese nationals.
In their latest video, “Jihadi John” had the two Japanese nationals on their knees and demanded that Japan pay $100m for each of the hostages within three days.
“To the prime minister of Japan, although you are 8,500km from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade,” he says.
In the Middle East, Abe said the lives of the two hostages were of “top priority”. However, he hasn’t made it clear if Japan would pay the ransom.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia will continue to support Syria in suppressing the Islamic State (IS) from invading the state.
Moscow and Damascus agree that “terrorism” is the main threat to stability.
Lavrov said the statement after his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. Moualem had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has resolved to develop ties with Syria and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, US Special Operations freed eight hostages held by the Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, according to a US Senior Official. The Official added that no American hostages were rescued. He did not elaborate on the report.
According to Yemen officials, the operation began in a deserted area called Hagr al-Saiaar. Local tribes offer protection for al-Qaeda troops in the area near the Saudi border.
US drone strikes continue to target suspected IS militants in Yemen and monitor battles between al-Qaeda and Shiite rebels.
Drone strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria hit 17 targets. Operation Inherent Resolve had destroyed four staging areas and six fighting positions. Islamic State units have been hit according to US central command.
Meanwhile, allied forces destroyed vehicles and buildings with air strikes.
Reluctantly, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan allowed 200 Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to join their Kobane Kurdish comrades to defend the strategic town. According to Kurdistan Presidential Chief of Staff Fuad Hussein, a small group of Peshmerga fighters will be in Kobane within days.
Kobane has been locked between Islamic State (IS) fighters and Kobane Kurdish fighters who intend to defend the strategic town. If the IS conquers the town, it could easily establish its operations against Turkey, Iraq and Syria.
However, Erdogan still considers the Kurds as “terrorists.” The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is considered by Turkey, the US and NATO as a terrorist group. However, feeling the implications IS can bring to Turkey, he is left without a choice.
Meanwhile, one out of 27 US air drops for the Kobane fighters have landed into the hands of the Islamic State. The Pentagon has verified a video showing the opening and dismantling of a supply drop revealing a cache of grenades and old and new small arms.US air strikes had destroyed other caches that had missed their landing spots.
Erdogan also considers the supply drop as “wrong.” He said that in the long run, the PKK could use the US weaponry against Turkey in declaring their autonomy within the region.
An al-Qaeda emir had called upon ISIS to stop the execution of Alan Henning, to whom the rival terrorist group said had “genuinely helped muslims” during his aid mission with an Islamic charity from the United Kingdom.
The al-Qaeda, notorious for their September 11, 2001 attack in the United States, found that the execution of an innocent taxi-driver and aid volunteer was taking things too far.
The emir, or local commander, of the Jahbat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, had visited ISIS commanders in Iraq. According to a journalist who interviewed him, the emir said that ISIS’ actions were “wrong under Islamic law” and “counter-productive.”
US film-maker and reporter from Syria Bilal Abdul Kareem said that any group of any influence, including the al-Qaeda, had appealed to ISIS to release Alan Henning since December of the previous year.
Alan Henning was the only non-Muslim in the Islamic charity group from the United Kingdom. The organisation uses old ambulances to transport medical supplies to al-Dana. He was abducted last year. The al-Dana emir had talked to ISIS about releasing Henning a few days during his abduction, but he was removed from prison and never seen by the emir again.
According to International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation in King’s College Professor Peter Neumann, the al-Qaeda and ISIS share similar roots. However, the al-Qaeda has strategies that will help them gain allies in the region, to which the ISIS are quickly losing theirs, including potential recruits, with consistent beheadings and senseless violent activities.
US President Barack Obama had hailed the re-capture of the Mosul dam by Iraqi Kurds and the Iraq military as a major advance towards finding an end to the invasion of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS.
The US military prioritises the safety of the dam on the Tigris River as it can endanger the American Embassy personnel in Baghdad. Providing air support and arms to assist the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting against the Islamic State, the joint efforts of Iraq, US and Kurdistan had made significant gains in northern Iraq.
Meanwhile, Canada has offered $5million (£2.9m) in humanitarian aid and two military cargo planes to help ship weapons to the Peshmerga forces.
The UK also announced its participation in the battle against ISIS. It has committed £13m for aid assistance and non-combat air support and surveillance.
The ISIS are an al-Qaeda splinter group operating independently as they broke away from Syrian rebels fighting against the Syrian regime. These groups, hardened by battles in Syria, had taken over several Iraqi towns and imposed harsh Sharia law. They had executed defenceless soldiers and had exiled or executed Christians and Shiite Muslims in regions they invaded.
Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga had found the dam isolated upon arrival. However, teams did not enter at once as they anticipated proximity explosives had been planted around the entire area. Around 170 bombs had been dismantled around the dam so far.
In the previous week, Kurdish Members of Party had withdrawn themselves from Iraq’s Central Government after Iraqi President Nouri Al-Maliki accused the Kurds of helping extremists for personal Reasons. Kurdistan’s Foreign Minister had asked Al-Maliki to step down from office and said that Iraq needed a new, more effective leadership.
The United States Congress said that they viewed Al-Maliki’s policies as highly-sectarian, which drove the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the militant group threatening Iraq’s government, to gain power and sympathy among Iraqis.
Al-Maliki once accused the Kurds of “stealing” Iraq’s wealth. During the era of Saddam Hussein, Kurdistan had been excluded from the oil trade. Today, it has cut deals with Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron. Kurdistan has one of the nine largest oil reserves in the world. The feud between Iraq’s government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan became worse because of this.
Al-Maliki had called on the world to stop the possible division of Iraq as the Kurdish opposition and the Sunni militants continue to apply pressure against Iraq. Al-Maliki pointed out that division will also split people and resources. He also warned Middle Eastern Nations that the division of Iraq could spread towards their countries.
According to UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, the Sunni militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may have committed war crimes. A photograph and video of the execution of hundreds of disarmed Iraqi soldiers in unspecified locations in northern Syria had the UN and the US alarmed. The systematic execution is tantamount to war crimes.
Observers speculate the execution to have happened in city of Tal Afar. Meanwhile, the ISIS are moving closer to Baghdad, invading some nearby towns along the way. In the last week, they have invaded Mosul.
The Iraqi government had increased the security of the Iraqi capital. The heavily-armed militants have recently brought down a government helicopter in Fallujah city, which is west of Baghdad.
The ISIS have also captured several Iraqi military depots, which house US-grade military equipment. The Iraqi soldiers trained by the US have abandoned their posts, leaving the rebels with formidable equipment to further their cause. The same soldiers may have been the ones killed during the summary execution shown in the photographs
The US is sending 275 military personnel to protect the American interests in Iraq.
Chief Pillay had specified that war crime is tantamount to killing an unarmed civilian or combatant. If an enemy has surrendered, they shall not be killed.
The ISIS also have the sympathy of the Sunni Muslims, which make up a significant fraction of Iraq’s population.