Thursday, November 24, 2016

Syria and Iraq: Civil War and Genocide

A silent genocide in the Middle East
British Parliament and other buildings went red to protest religious repression  
There has been a civil war underway in Syria that emerged out of the 2011 Arab Spring and continues to the present day and is a humanitarian catastrophe. However at the same time religious minorities have been systematically targeted in Syria and also in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S. intervention, 

On March 17, 2016 the U.S. State Department finally recognized that religious minorities are being targeted for genocide in Iraq and Syria. Three religious minority groups: Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and Christians have suffered and continue to face systematic ethnic cleansing. The Media Research Center has criticized news media for under reporting this story.

The United Nations issued a report on June 16, 2016 stating that "Islamic State fighters are committing genocide against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq by seeking to destroy the group through murder, sexual slavery, gang rape, torture and humiliation" with the ominous objective to erase their identity.” 

Christians are also facing genocide in the Middle East and despite the under reporting there is some coverage and CNN on November 21, 2016 reported the following:

ISIS marked Christian houses with the Arabic equivalent of the letter "N" for the derogatory term Nazarene. The militants blared ultimatums from the loudspeakers of Mosul mosques: Leave by July 19 to avoid death or forced conversion to Islam. The terror-driven exodus emptied the city of Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities. A decade ago, 35,000 Christians lived in Mosul. Now maybe 20 or 30 remain.
There is a serious discussion underway that contemplates the possibility of the end of a Christian presence in the Middle East after more than 2,000 years beginning with the ministry of Jesus Christ.

In the midst of all this there is great concern that something unusual is taking place with the pattern of refugees entering the United States not reflecting the population of Syria or those most currently impacted. Judge Daniel Manion of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in mid-October of his "concern about the apparent lack of Syrian Christians as a part of immigrants from that country" and detailed it in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit appeal:
"It is well‐documented that refugees to the United States are not representative of that war‐torn area of the world. Perhaps 10 percent of the population of Syria is Christian, and yet less than one‐half of one percent of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States this year are Christian. Recognizing the crisis in Syria, the President in 2015 set a goal of resettling 10,000 refugees in the United States. And in August the government reached this laudable goal. And yet, of the nearly 11,000 refugees admitted by mid‐September, only 56 were Christian. To date, there has not been a good explanation for this perplexing discrepancy."  
Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations provided some context to the above question in an OpEd in Newsweek:
The BBC says that 10 percent of all Syrians are Christian, which would mean 2.2 million Christians. It is quite obvious, and President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry have acknowledged it, that Middle Eastern Christians are an especially persecuted group.So how is it that one-half of 1 percent of the Syrian refugees we’ve admitted are Christian, or 56, instead of about 1,000 out of 10,801—or far more, given that they certainly meet the legal definition?
Abrams concludes that in a de facto manner the United States is barring Christians, not Muslims from the United States and goes on to explain how to solve this problem with some common sense reforms that the current Administration has failed to implement.

However it is not only Christians but also Yazidis, mentioned above, with only 24 granted refuge in the United States in 2016 out of an estimated population of up to 700,000.

Refugees fleeing a war zone should be granted refuge, but refugees targeted by a regime for genocidal extermination should be given priority. The fact that the United States has done the opposite is a shameful failure of historic consequence.

1 comment:

  1. Strange ignorance: christians in Syria are, for the most part, safely living in governement-controlled territory. They've always relied on Assad to protect them from Sunni extremists - and they still do. Unfortunately, the USA - with the Saudis - have decided to "change regime" which would result in Al Qaida taking power (as it happened in Libya) and the christians being massacred. Only then would the syrian christians (those who'd survive) apply for refuge in the US...