U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down if things for the war-torn country are to get better. Meanwhile, Russia is stepping up its help for Assad by providing his government with military supplies, including armored vehicles and bombs.
"I believe as we begin to ... get into this process, that it will become clear there is no political solution whatsoever if Assad is not discussing a transition and if he thinks he is going to be part of that future. It is not going to happen," Kerry said at a news conference on Friday, Reuters reported.
"We are also not out of options with respect to what we may be able to do to increase the pressure and further change the calculus," he added. more >>
Arabic language websites reported earlier this week that the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-which, throughout the course of the war against the Assad government has committed any number of atrocities, from decapitating "infidels" to burning churches-has successfully "forced" two Armenian Christian families to convert to Islam.
A video accompanies some of these reports. In it, what appears to be an elderly Armenian man stands alongside an Islamic cleric who announces the Christian man's conversion to Islam-to thunderous cries of "Allahu Akbar!" In his exultation, the cleric makes exuberant statements like "You see, we have no honor without Islam-without proclaiming aloud that "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet!" (Without the religious jargon, this is simply another way of saying, "Only by joining our team can you ever escape dishonor," the lot of all non-Muslim, subhuman "infidels.")
The cleric also adds that, because the man is the head of his household, his Christian wife and children are all now Muslim as well-"all praise to Allah!" Naturally, if they reject their new Islamic identity, they become "apostates," a crime punishable by death. more >>
The United Nations is urgently calling on the nations of the world to donate $6.5 billion this year to combat the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, noting that this aid is the difference between life and death for millions.
"Humanitarian aid is the difference between life and death, hope and despair. It has already assisted millions of people affected by this crisis," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference on Syria in Kuwait on Wednesday. "I count on you to show the Syrian people that the world is here to help."
A veterans organization has called for a congressional hearing on certain activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging that the government entity is violating religious freedom.
The Louisiana-based group Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. sent a letter last week to Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who chairs the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Written by retired Navy Commander and Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy J. B. Wells, the letter says that "the curtailment of religious freedom is widespread within the Department." more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has reported of "shocking" conditions at the vast refugee camps in the Central African Republic, where people fleeing the widespread violence are living "like animals" and pastors are victimized.
"People live like real animals. There is no latrine. People are living in over-crowded conditions," said an Open Doors co-worker who witnessed the conditions in two camps around Bangui, the capital, where around the airport alone there are at least 100,000 people. The co-worker, who remained anonymous for security reasons, shared that the Christians at the camps are gathering together in worship despite the hardships they face, but many are in serious need of help.
"I have met many pastors who have been victimized who are in dire need of assistance. Our discreet assistance to others previously has made a big difference and I hope that we can make the same difference for these pastors I recently met," the Open Doors co-worker said. more >>
The takeover of Fallujah by al-Qaida wipes out our costly 2004 victory in which we captured the Iraqi city at the cost of 100 Marines and soldiers killed in action, and hundreds more wounded. Fallujah isn't just an Obama mistake; it's the exemplar of Obama's disastrous foreign and military policies designed to reduce the power and prestige of America on the world stage.
Obama's military policies are not merely based on his incompetence. They are part of his personal philosophy to redistribute power in the world, which is the other side of his Saul Alinsky ideology to reduce our standard of living by drastically limiting our energy use to the level of poorer nations.
When Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wants to "spread the wealth around," this was only a part of his plan. He also wants to spread power around to achieve his "we-are-all-equal" worldview. more >>