President Obama again called on Iran to release U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been in a jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, as the Middle Eastern nation celebrates the Nowruz holiday, a festival of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar.
"Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran," Obama said in a statement.
"Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father," he added. more >>
Former Army Gen. David Petraeus, who was recently in Iraq for the first time in more than three years, told a newspaper that Iranian-backed Shia militias are a bigger threat than the Islamic State terror group to long-term stability in Iraq and the region.
Petraeus, who served as Commanding General of Multi-National Force in Iraq during the 2007-2008 surge, told The Washington that he is not too worried about the Sunni terror group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as Iraq and the coalition forces are making considerable progress.
"I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq's long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State; rather, it is Shiite militias, many backed by — and some guided by — Iran," he was quoted as saying. more >>
President Barack Obama indirectly blamed the foreign policy of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, for the rise of the barbaric and brutal Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq.
In an interview with Vice News founder Shane Smith released on Tuesday, Obama was asked how the ISIS terrorist group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, which has seized large chunks of Syria and Iraq, was able to become "so popular so fast."
Obama responded saying that the group's rise was aided by the U.S. invasion of Iraq that began in 2003 during Bush's presidency. more >>
Associate Counsel Matthew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice has said that he hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will take up the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.
"The Human Rights Council Working Group looked at the facts, they looked at the evidence and they came to the independent conclusion, as we have, that his detention is arbitrary, that it is in violation of international law and that he should be freed," Clark said, according to One News Now, commenting on the oral intervention last week by its international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"So the U.N. is taking steps to put out there exactly what is happening and what action needs to be taken by the Iranian government to free him." more >>
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election on Wednesday with his ruling Likud Party, and promised to promptly form a new government to address the challenges facing his nation.
"Our country's everyday reality doesn't give us the luxury for delay," Netanyahu said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
"The citizens of Israel rightfully expect that we will act quickly and responsibly to establish a leadership that will work for them in areas of defense, the economy and society just as we promised in this campaign — and just like we will now set ourselves toward doing," he added. more >>
Evangelical author and former vice president of Liberty University, Johnnie Moore, asserted in a book to be published in April, that Western Christians don't care enough about the threat posed by the Islamic State, which is attempting to wipe out Christianity in the Middle East.
"I am convinced that one of the reasons why Christians in the West haven't been more supportive of Christians in the East is not that they don't care about the situation, they just chose not to care for it," Moore asserted in a Monday interview with The Christian Post. "It is just not relevant to their lives. Everybody has their own lives, and their own problems, and their own jobs, and kids and all these things."
Moore traveled to the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq last October to hear first-hand accounts from refugees on how barbarically ISIS treated Christians when it took over much of its territory in Syria and Iraq last summer. Afterwards he was inspired to write his new book, Defying ISIS, so that westerners can fully grasp the magnitude of what ISIS' rise to power means for the future of Christianity in the region. more >>