Twenty-six foreign ministers pledged that their countries will do everything necessary to stop terror group ISIS during a major summit in Paris on Monday. The meeting came as the U.S. launched its first airstrikes in Iraq since President Barack Obama's announcement last week the expansion of operations.
French President François Hollande said that there is "no time to lose" in the fight against the Islamic militants, who have captured several cities across Iraq and Syria, carrying out beheadings and mass persecution of religious minorities.
"The cost of inaction would be to say to these butchers 'go ahead, you have a free pass.' We won't accept that," added French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. more >>
While diplomats from 26 countries pledged to unite to fight ISIS "by any means necessary" at a conference in Paris Monday, the pathway to defeating the militant Islamic terror group appeared far from certain as Syria and Iran, the two countries sharing most of Iraq's borders, showed no support for the global coalition led by the U.S.
"They committed to supporting the new Iraqi government in its fight ... by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance, in line with the needs expressed by the Iraqi authorities, in accordance with international law and without jeopardizing civilian security," said a statement after the meeting Monday, according to Al Arabiya.
"They will ensure that the commitments made today are implemented and followed up on, notably in the framework of the United Nations," it continued. more >>
A lack of concern for Christians and a lack freedom of expression for religious minorities in the Middle East is one of the reasons behind the rise of terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said David Curry, the CEO and president of Christian persecution watchdog group, Open Doors USA.
Curry spoke with The Christian Post in a telephone interview about the most pressing needs and concerns of refugees at camps in Syria and Iraq, where Open Doors is serving.
He also shared his thoughts on President Barack Obama's recent speech about America's strategy concerning the terror group; the hopelessness that refugees are facing; and how Christians can help those who are suffering right now. more >>
WASHINGTON – Patriarchs from the Middle East gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to speak with members of Congress urging for further U.S. military aid for the new Iraqi central government and Kurdish peshmerga forces that are helping provide refuge to thousands of displaced Iraqi religious minorities being persecuted by Islamic State jihadists.
As forces from neighboring Kurdistan have helped clear paths for minorities to escape the atrocities in the Nineveh province and along with Iraqi forces look to push back Islamic State out of their strongholds, the Patriarchs said there is a need for increased military and equipment support with a great need for better weaponry.
"It seems that the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish region, they need help," said His Beatitude, Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. "What you call military intervention with Air Force it will be much needed [but] those militias of the ISIS, they have plenty of weaponry and they already robbed a lot of money and they have been assisted and financed by those radicals of the gulf countries. They have the offense they need. So the Peshmerga of Kurdistan and also the Iraqi central army need military assistance." more >>
As ISIS continues to pose a menace to religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, Christians from the region have spoken with horror about what the terrorist group is doing to their communities.
Auday P. Arabo, lay spokesman for the St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese, told The New York Times that Iraqi Christians are calling it "a slow-motion genocide."
The U.S. military's first series of airstrikes in Western Iraq targeting ISIS early Sunday to protect a major dam points to the expansion of the Obama administration's strategy in Iraq, which until recently was limited to protecting U.S. offices and humanitarian responses.
"If that dam would fall into ISIL's hands or if that dam would be destroyed, the damage that that would cause would be very significant and it would put an additional and big risk into the mix in Iraq," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters during a trip to Georgia's capital Tbilisi, according to Reuters.
Hagel, who was referring to the Haditha Dam in Iraq's Anbar Province, added that the airstrikes were launched at the request of the Iraqi government. more >>