In around 100 days America will be witnessing a crucial election. In the meantime, much will be done on both sides of the national divide, and this year we may see more than the usual political maneuvering in the run-up to this election.
Regardless of the outcome, the next president will face the same unique national security challenges. The Middle East is in a greater crisis than ever before and according to various analysts, it is heading toward anarchy. The scenes of defenseless people getting killed in Syria have only grown more painful over the past year, even as they have become less prevalent on our TV screens. Islamic extremism and the resulting terrorism is now targeting Western Europe, America and the Middle East with unprecedented barbarity, and there is no easy response to it.
The issue of Islamic extremism brings to mind one of our main foreign policy challenges: Iran. more >>
The Iranian regime has charged evangelical house church Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani with committing national security crimes and has given him just one week to raise $33,000 for bail or face re-arrest and imprisonment.
According to a press release from the Christian persecution watchdog group Christian Solidarity Worldwide shared with The Christian Post, Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death in 2012 on charges of apostasy, was summoned to appear before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in the town of Rasht on July 24 and was charged with "acting against national security."
The charges stem from a raid conducted on Nadarkhani's home by security forces in May, which was a part of an intelligence crackdown on the Christian community in Rasht. more >>
Christian Prisoner Maryam Zargaran, who has now spent over three weeks on a hunger strike in Iranian prison, has been denied a release on medical grounds by the Iranian court, despite reports of her worsening medical condition.
Mohabat News reported Monday that the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has refused to grant Zargaran's release despite signs that she is developing multiple sclerosis. The Christian woman began her second hunger strike on July 5 in protest against the treatment she has received in prison, and reports are saying that she has become very weak, with her long-term heart condition posing an increasing health risk.
Zargaran's family were allowed to visit her in prison recently, but revealed that she refuses to receive treatment at the prison clinic because staff mistreat her there. more >>
Maryam Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian Christian woman who is being imprisoned for her faith, is on a hunger strike after judicial authorities forced her back into jail and refused her an extended leave permit for medical treatment.
Mohabat News reported that Zargaran's family has confirmed news of her indefinite hunger strike, revealing that she seeks an "immediate and unconditional release."
Zargaran has been held inside Evin Prison's Women's Ward since July 15, 2013, punished for her Christian faith and for helping Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who was held hostage for three and-a-half years in prison in Iran before finally being released in January. more >>
American pastor Saeed Abedini is criticizing women's rights activists who are refusing to speak up for his friend Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran, a Christian woman who's being held in an Iranian prison for her faith.
"So many people (who fought for me) left us in this battle with Nasim alone and never mention her name," Abedini wrote on Facebook Thursday.
He added that some of those people often talk about women's rights and issues of abuse, but left a Christian woman "in prison and sicknesses behind." more >>
As I write this a combination of Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribal fighters, assisted by U.S. and ally airstrikes, mount a siege around the ISIS-controlled city of Fallujah. Inside, thousands of ISIS fighters, who took residence in Fallujah's neighborhoods almost 2.5 years ago, wait: their snipers ready, their land mines buried, their barricades defying the attack.
Suspended between all this are 50,000 souls trapped within the city walls. Men, women, and children — who alone number around 20,000 — face the cruelest days of their lives, as ISIS fighters will stop at nothing to keep control of the city.
If they flee, they'll get shot. If they stay, they'll be used as human shields — even the women and children. Recently, images leaked out of Fallujah of children with blond hair and bright eyes. They are either Christians or Yazidis and they will escape or they will die a brutal death. more >>