Locust populations continue to explode in size: Some areas expecting a 400x increase in the coming months representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

New swarms forming in Somalia and starting in Kenya. 

The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.

EASTERN AFRICA Kenya. Widespread swarm breeding continues in northern and central counties where an increasing number of hopper bands are forming and, in the past few days, the new generation of immature swarms have started to form. This may be supplemented by new-generation immature swarms arriving from Somalia. Further concentration is expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

Ethiopia. Swarms continue to mature and breed over a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. Cross-border movements continued to be reported from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya. Somalia. In the northwest, late instar hopper bands and immature adult groups are forming between Berbera and Burao. In the northeast, new immature swarms are forming near Garowe. Some swarms may be moving south towards NE Kenya. South Sudan. The mature swarm was seen on 23 February near Laboni and the Uganda border dispersed into many small swarms.

Uganda. No new reports of swarms since 24 February. DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo). No new reports of Desert Locust in the northeast near the Uganda border.

OTHER HOTSPOTS Sudan. Scattered adults are maturing on the central coast of the Red Sea. No locusts reported elsewhere.

Eritrea. Breeding continued on the central and northern Red Sea coast where groups of hoppers and immature adults formed. A mature swarm appeared on the coast near Massawa and laid eggs.

Saudi Arabia. Ground control operations against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast near Qunfidah finished on 26 February but continued against immature groups in the interior between Wadi Dawasir and the Persian Gulf.

Yemen. Another generation of breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast where hatching and early instar hopper bands continue to form. An immature swarm was seen in Sana’a on 29 February. New breeding was seen on the southern coast near Aden where early and late instar hopper bands were present, the latter forming immature adult groups. Control could not be carried out.

Oman. Breeding continues on the north and east coasts where hopper groups and bands have formed. Swarms were reported recently on the north coast.

Iraq. Swarms were reportedly flying in the southeast between Basrah and Nasiriyah.

Iran. 22 immature swarms spread out along the southwest coast between Bushehr and Bander-e-Lengheh in Fars, Khozestan, Bushehr and Hormozgan provinces where they quickly matured within four days to lay eggs. Local breeding continued in the southeast. Control operations are in progress.

Pakistan. Mature adult groups and swarms were seen copulating in Okara district of Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan and Lucky Marwat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Spring breeding is in progress in the interior of Baluchistan between Khuzdar and Dalbandin, and on the southwest coast near Turbat where adult groups are laying eggs and early instar hopper groups are already forming. New generation immature groups and swarms could start forming in Baluchistan by the end of March.

Afghanistan. Three swarms reportedly arrived in Khost province from adjacent areas of NW Pakistan on about 21 February. Locust watch

Behold A Pale Horse! February 2020: The 2nd month of the most important decade in the history of the human race was like a roaring lion: Death, Disease and Disaster Dominate. (Click to Source)

 

Tree of Life Bible

 

 

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United Nations refugee camps put Christians last for food, shelter, baby items

Posted by  on December 20, 2019

Christians often languish in the United Nations refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I discovered this when I was in Iraq last month documenting the good work the Nazarene Fund has been doing with our Save the Christians fundraising money.

The shortcomings in relief efforts are because the United Nations is completely inept but also because the bigotry against Christians doesn’t stop at the fence that wraps around the enormous camps.

Christians refugees inside the UN camps can be the last to get food, shelter, diapers for their babies, and clean clothing and bedding. And their refugee paperwork can mysteriously get “lost”, leaving them no way out.

The Nazarene Fund, and their in-country partners at White Mountain Research, fill in the gaps in resources given to Christian refugees in the region by going into the UN camps to deliver food aid to Christian families.

All the money and power in the world and the United Nations is failing the Christians of Iraq and Syria. (Click to Source)


New King James Bible Large Print

Please visit SaveTheChristians.com for more information, more videos, and to donate to help!

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Iraqi Christian survives being burned alive by ISIS 3 times: ‘[Jesus] spoke to me’

By Caleb Parke | Fox News

An Iraqi Christian who said Jesus appeared to him twice in his dreams recounts being imprisoned by ISIS, tortured and burned three times by the terrorist group.

The man, a Yazidi, recounts his harrowing story in a documentary by Sean Feucht and Bethel Music.

“The Yazidis… were really targeted by ISIS for genocide…they were raped, they were beaten, they were executed,” Feucht told Fox News. “ISIS didn’t even want to imprison them, they just wanted to kill them, wipe them off the map.”

Feucht interviewed the man, who was not named, through his non-profit, Light A Candle Project, which goes into all parts of the world but primarily Iraq, where the Islamic State was at the height of its brutality, to help people who’ve experienced some of the world’s worst suffering.

Sean Feucht, the founder of The Light A Candle Project, told an Iraqi Christian who was tortured by ISIS that Jesus appeared to him in his dreams because he loves him. His story was their first supernatural encounter documented in an upcoming documentary with Bethel Music called "Heart and Hands: Iraq."

Sean Feucht, the founder of The Light A Candle Project, told an Iraqi Christian who was tortured by ISIS that Jesus appeared to him in his dreams because he loves him. His story was their first supernatural encounter documented in an upcoming documentary with Bethel Music called “Heart and Hands: Iraq.” (Bethel Music)

 

The Yazidi man says he was burned alive three times by ISIS after they found out he was a follower of Christ. He said his body “didn’t burn” a single time when he was imprisoned and tortured by the radical Islamic terrorists for two months.

“He spoke to me,” the persecuted Christian shared, referencing Jesus in his dreams.

Feucht told him: “Jesus appeared twice to you in a dream because He loves you.”

The man said he was stoned and ISIS members drenched him in 20 gallons of gasoline. But even though he was burned alive, he said he inexplicably survived unharmed. He credited Jesus for surviving.

“And they burned me, but I didn’t burn,” he said.

 

 

The Iraqi Christian’s story is one account from the upcoming documentary film “Hearts and Hands: Iraq” that is expected to be released later this year. A preview was shown at the “Heaven Come” conference in Los Angeles.

Feucht said it shows what persecuted Christians go through overseas.

His group recently raised over $100,000 to distribute food, blankets, mattresses, and other materials, as well as offering trauma therapy counseling and kids programs, teaching music, and praying with persecuted Christians in the region where Christianity once flourished but is now near extinction, according to faith leaders.

“I feel like we’re really called to the most persecuted, closed, dark, marginalized places,” he said. Over the past 15 years, the Bethel Music worship leader has gone into North Korea, India, Afghanistan…”some of the topmost closed countries and places where it’s illegal to be a Christian,” he said. But they said they’ve seen and heard stories of incredible miracles.

Bethel Music worship leaders Bethany Wohrle and Sean Feucht play music with refugees as part of the "Light A Candle Project."

Bethel Music worship leaders Bethany Wohrle and Sean Feucht play music with refugees as part of the “Light A Candle Project.” (Rachel Soh)

 

Feucht said he is encouraged by the growth of the church in Iraq, China, and India, places where it is most persecuted.

“Our team’s in Iraq right now, and the U.S. State Department just sent out this notification that said ‘All US personnel leave Iraq’ and all the NGOs left but our guys are still there. We were there through ISIS. We’ve been there through the worst of the worst,” Feucht said. “Everyone thought we were crazy. Right as everyone was leaving, we came in, and because of it, we have a thriving, flourishing project there.”

For Feucht, mission work is in his family’s DNA, as the son of medical missionaries who took him on trips to unreached people and remote places, he has seen what most Americans Christians, who make up just 5 percent of the global Christian population, don’t get to see.

“We want to re-define missions for a generation to where we’re actually the first ones to respond,” Feucht concluded. “That’s the essence of the gospel to go into places where no one else is willing to go.” (Click to Source)

Plague of black beetles infest Anbar, Iraq and Saudi Arabia after severe flooding

Heavy storms continually recurred throughout Iraq during the period from 24-March to 2-April when severe weather finally eased, damaging buildings, homes, businesses and leaving thousands of people homeless. Similarly, tons of rain have flooded desertic Saudi Arabia over the two last weeks. While several villages and cities have been almost completely evacuated, some disgusting black beetles are infesting flooded regions, mostly in Anbar province, Iraq and Arar, Saudi Arabia.

Irak

The insect plague was triggered by heavy rains. This is apocalyptic!

They are all over!

Saudi Arabia

Black beetle plagues have also been recorded around Arar and Hafar al-Batin in Saudi Arabia:

After natural disasters follow insect plagues. This is biblical! (Click to Source)

Report: “11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith”

by Raymond Ibrahim

  • One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women…. In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman.”
  • Another trend that should send an alarm is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution.”

Last year, Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era — and this year is expected to be worse: “4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons,” according to Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 (WWL) of the top 50 nations where Christians are persecuted. “On average, that’s 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.” Additionally, “2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned” in 2018, and “1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.”

Whereas 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018, 245 million will suffer in 2019, according to Open Doors — a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith. This means that “1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide” (note: all quotations in this article are from the WWL 2019).

One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women.”

“In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman. Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.”

Last year’s WWL provided more specific numbers: “At least six women every day are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim man under the threat of death for their Christian faith…”

Another trend, one that should send an alarm, is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution”:

“Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more each year. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith — including Christianity — is viewed as non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.”

The most obvious trend remains unchanged:

“Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians. In seven out of the top 10 World Watch List countries, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression. This means, for millions of Christians — particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families — openly following Jesus can have painful consequences. They can be treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against for jobs or even violently attacked.”

Not only is that responsible for the persecution Christians face in seven of the ten worst nations; 38 of the 50 nations making the list are Muslim-majority.

Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Sharia. In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist” because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward adherents of any other religion.” Similarly, in Somalia, (#3), “The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence.” In Iran (#9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.”

While the forms persecution and actors behind them vary, many seem connected to Islam. For example, “Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians continue to live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy — which can carry a penalty of death.” In Libya (#4), Yemen (#8), Syria (#11), Iraq (#13) war has given rise to Islamic militancy and general lawlessness, both of which prey on Christian minorities.

In Muslim nations where Christians make up a minority, a significant quantity of churches might be needed to meet their numbers — the visibility of which may offend Muslim sensibilities. Thus in Egypt (#16), where Christians number at least 10% of the population (possibly even double that):

“Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”

“The spread of radical Islam across sub-Saharan Africa” is another growing and troubling trend. For example,

“Nigeria’s score for violence [99.9%] has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens.”

Some WWL’s findings are surprising. Although Orthodox Christians are the majority of its population, the Russian Federation is #41, and the “source of persecution” is, again, “Islamic oppression”: “Christians in parts of Russia dominated by Islam report the highest level of persecution.”

Despite the role of religion, North Korea (#1) remains the worst nation, where “never-ending pressure and violence” is directed against Christians:

“The primary driver of persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the Kim family. Christians are seen as hostiles to be eradicated.”

As difficult as it is for Christians identified by the Kim regime, there may be some eventual relief for them and those in other communist nations (such as China, #27): cults of personalities might last so long, but in the Arab and Muslim world, where, sadly, there seems to be little or no education to respect religious differences, the weight of the dominant religion continues to permeate all of society. (Click to Source)

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Iraq’s Christians: Eighty Percent Have “Disappeared”

by Giulio Meotti

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12076/iraq-christians-disappeared

  • Tragically, Christians living in lands formerly under the control of the “Caliphate” have been betrayed by many in the West. Governments ignored their tragic fate. Bishops were often too aloof to denounce their persecution. The media acted as if they considered these Christians to be agents of colonialism who deserved to be purged from the Middle East. And the so-called “human rights” organizations abandoned them.
  • The West was not willing to give sanctuary to these Christians when ISIS murdered 1,131 of them and destroyed or damaged 125 of their churches.
  • We must now help Christians rebuild in the lands where their people were martyred.

Persecution of Christians is worse today “than at any time in history”, a recent report by the organization Aid to the Church in Need revealed. Iraq happens to be “ground zero” for the “elimination” of Christians from the pages of history.

Iraqi Christian clergymen recently wore a black sign as a symbol of national mourning for the last victims of the anti-Christian violence: a young worker and a whole family of three. “This means that there is no place for Christians,” saidFather Biyos Qasha of the Church of Maryos in Baghdad. “We are seen as a lamb to be killed at any time”.

A few days earlier, Shiite militiamen discovered a mass grave with the bodies of 40 Christians near Mosul, the former stronghold of the Islamic State and the capital of Iraqi Christianity. The bodies, including those of women and children, seemed to belong to Christians kidnapped and killed by ISIS. Many had crosses with them in the mass grave. Not a single article in the Western mainstream media wrote about this ethnic cleansing.

French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia made an urgent plea to Europe and the West to defend non-Muslims in the Middle East, whom he likened to Holocaust victims. “As our parents wore the yellow star, Christians are made to wear the scarlet letter of nun” Korsia said. The Hebrew letter “nun” is the same sound as the beginning of Nazareen, an Arabic term signifying people from Nazareth, or Christians, and used by the Islamic State to mark the Christian houses in Mosul.

Now a new report by the Iraqi Human Rights Society also just revealed that Iraqi minorities, such as Christians, Yazidis and Shabaks, are now victims of a “slow genocide”, which is shattering those ancient communities to the point of their disappearance. The numbers are significant.

According to the report, 81% of Iraq’s Christians have disappeared from Iraq. The remaining number of Sabeans, an ancient community devoted to St. John the Baptist, is even smaller: 94% have disappeared from Iraq. Even 18% of Yazidis have left the country or been killed. Another human rights organization, Hammurabi, said that Baghdad had 600,000 Christians in the recent past; today there are only 150,000.

These numbers may be the reason Charles de Meyer, president of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, has just spoken of the “extinction of Christians”. Father Salar Kajo of the Churches’ Nineveh Reconstruction Committee just spoke of the real possibility that “Christianity will disappear from Iraq”.

Many ancient Christian churches and sites have been destroyed by Islamic extremists, such as Saint George Church in Mosul; the Virgin Mary Chaldean Church, attacked by car bomb, and the burned Armenian Church in Mosul. Hundreds of Christian homes have been razed in Mosul, where jihadists also toppled bell towers and crosses. The Iraqi clergy recently warned, “The churches are in danger”.

A fighter from the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU) walks through a destroyed church on November 8, 2016 in Qaraqosh, Iraq. The NPU is a militia made up of Assyrian Christians that was formed in late 2014 to defend against ISIS. Qaraqosh is a mostly Assyrian city near of Mosul that was captured by ISIS in August 2014, and liberated in November 2016. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Tragically, Christians living in lands formerly under the control of the “Caliphate” have been betrayed by many actors in the West. Governments ignored their tragic fate. Bishops were often too aloof to denounce their persecution. The media acted as if they considered these Christians to be agents of colonialism who deserved to be purged from the Middle East. And the so-called “human rights” organizations abandoned them.

European public opinion, supposedly always ready to rally against the discrimination of minorities, did not say a word about what Ayaan Hirsi Ali called “a war against Christians”.

Some communities, such as the small Christian enclaves of Mosul, are now lost forever. Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said there is a “real danger” Christianity could just become a “museum” in the Middle East. He noted that Iraq has lost 80-90% of its Christian population.

A few Christian villages have begun a slow and painful process of reconstruction with funds donated mainly by international relief organizations such as the US Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need. US Vice President Mike Pence recently promised to help these Christians. Action now must follow words. Christians who escaped and survived ISIS cannot depend today only on aid from churches and private groups.

Among European governments, only Hungary took a principled position and openly committed itself to save Iraqi Christianity from genocide. Recently, the Hungarian government opened a school for displaced Christians in Erbil; Hungary’s Minister of Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, attended the event.

Imagine if all the other European countries, such as France and Germany, had done the same. The suffering of Christians in Iraq would today be much less and their numbers much higher.

The West was not willing to give sanctuary to these Christians when ISIS murdered 1,131 of them and destroyed or damaged 125 of their churches. We must now stand by their side before it is too late. After the mass displacements and the mass graves, we must help Christians rebuild in the lands where their people were martyred. Otherwise, even the smallest hope of hearing the sound of Christian church bells in the ancient lands of the Bible will be forever lost. (Click to Source)

 
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Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Why Christians Need Self Rule in Iraq

  • “These murders are giving us yet another signal that there is no place for Assyrian Christians in Iraq.” — Ashur Sargon Eskrya, President of the Assyrian Aid Society-Iraq.
  • “The only way for us to have a bright future is to establish a local administration in the Nineveh Plain lands, which will be a safe haven for all persecuted communities, including Yazidis… [It] should be protected internationally. This would also include forming a no-fly zone, and having the province monitored by international powers for a temporary period until we strengthen our military force and reconstruct our areas.” — Athra Kado, the head of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, Alqosh, Iraq.

On March 8, three members of an Assyrian Christian family — Dr. Hisham Maskoni, his wife, Dr. Shadha Malik Dano, and her elderly mother — were stabbed to death in their home in Baghdad. The two doctors, who had left Iraq, the country of their birth, in 2003, returned five years ago to work at St. Raphael Hospital in the capital.

The victims, who lived in a neighborhood controlled by a Shiite militia, had been tortured, according to Ashur Sargon Eskrya, president of the Assyrian Aid Society-Iraq, in an interview with Gatestone.

Eskrya also said that the motive behind the killings — as in the case of an innocent Christian killed in Baghdad in February — had not been established, and that so far, no suspects have been arrested. “These murders,” he added, “are giving us yet another signal that there is no place for Assyrian Christians in Iraq.”

An indigenous people of the Middle East, Assyrians have been targeted and murdered over the centuries for their religion and ethnicity. Yet they were once the rulers of the ancient Assyrian Empire. The traditional Assyrian homeland contains parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

The Assyrian legacy to civilization is significant. Ancient Assyrians were pioneers in science, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, literature, art and technology. They were also exceptional builders, as shown by archaeological sites, including those at Ashur, Nimrud and Nineveh in Iraq. With the rise of Islam and the Arabian conquests of the 7th century, however, Assyrians and other eastern Christian peoples fell to a subordinate status — “dhimmitude” — which forced them to pay a tax, the jizya, in exchange for “protection.” Since then, they have been persecuted repeatedly. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, every fifty years, an Assyrian massacre took place, but the 1914-1923 Christian genocide in Ottoman Turkey dwarfed previous massacres and resulted in the systematic exterminationof around 750,000 Assyrians – nearly three-quarters of their prewar population.

After the end of World War I and with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Assyrians were excluded from the new forging of nation-states in the region. In spite of their having been severely persecuted and displaced by Muslims, Assyrians were not granted independence or autonomy in their ancient lands. Instead, they were left to the “tender mercies” of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and the Kurds.

Devoid of a government or security force, Assyrians in Turkey, Iran and Syria have been largely erased from their indigenous homeland. In Iraq’s Nineveh Plain, however, Assyrians still form the majority and wish to establish a sustainable and democratic form of self-governance. Assyrians currently have a security force in the region: The Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU).

Pictured: Soldiers of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), an Assyrian security force, in a training exercise. (Image source: NPU)

In an interview with Gatestone, Athra Kado, the head of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in the town of Alqosh in Iraq and Director of the NPU media center, said:

“Our nation has suffered for centuries. The latest genocide by ISIS, as well as recent murders, such as those in Baghdad, are deeply affecting our people physically and psychologically. The only way for us to have a bright future is to establish a local administration in the Nineveh Plain lands, which will be a safe haven for all persecuted communities, including Yazidis.

“The new administration that needs to be established in the Nineveh plain should be protected internationally. This would also include forming a no-fly zone, and having the province monitored by international powers for a temporary period until we strengthen our military force and reconstruct our areas. In order to make this a reality, our Nineveh Plain Protection Units should be supported in both military and logistical terms.”

Eskrya concurred, recounting for Gatestone:

“Throughout the bloody history of the region — including the 1914-1923 Christian genocide, the 1933 massacre in Simele, the 1963 Iraqi-Kurdish War, the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the 2014 ISIS genocide — Assyrians have lost their trust in governments that rule them, and they have even lost their trust in their own neighbors who engaged in kidnapping or even killing Assyrian Christians and raping women.

“Even today, Assyrian Christians still face genocide and discrimination in Iraq and the Middle East in general. During the ISIS invasion of the Nineveh plain, for example, terrorists grabbed our lands and destroyed our churches and historical sites. The result of all this persecution has been forced demographic change against Assyrian Christians.

“But through a local administration in Nineveh, economic and infrastructural developments can take place. The region is suffering from inadequate resources, so the new province should get a higher budget from the central government in Baghdad and should possess the right to self-rule.”

Juliana Taimoorazy, founding president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and a senior fellow at the Philos Project, has been advocating serious security measures, economic development and the rebuilding of homes for Assyrians. In an interview with Gatestone, she said:

“We fear crimes such as the murder of the Assyrian family in Baghdad will chip away at the hope that has returned to the hearts and minds of those who have decided to return to their towns in the Nineveh plain. However, our resolve is steadfast, and we will not be shaken. I liken our Assyrian nation to a tree that is standing tall amidst terrible winds. Although our branches may break, our roots will always remain solid in the earth of Nineveh.” (Click to Source)

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Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey. She is presently based in Washington D.C.

“Oh You Cross-Worshippers, We’ll Kill You All”

Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2017

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Sweden recently decided to deport Aideen Strandsson, a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When Strandsson pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” (Image source: Facebook/Aideen Strandsson)

  • A popular Arabic-language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” — Morocco.
  • Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison, and called for a public lynching of Stephen.” — Pakistan.
  • Sweden decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden continues accepting Muslim refugees.
  • In the name of “fighting terrorism,” Bangladesh made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down.

    A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum, held in Moscow, detailed how over the past ten years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80% and warned that unless current trends are reversed, Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today there are only 100,000 — roughly a 93% percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”

    Other experts offered similarly dismal statistics. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, had predicted that by 2025, the percentage of Christians in the Middle East — which in 1910 was 13.6% — could go down to around 3%.

    Christians seeking to return to areas in Iraq and Syria liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS) continue to face discrimination from local Muslim and Kurdish communities. Andrew White, also known as the “vicar of Baghdad,” had said that, “the time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited.”

    Others, such as Former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), are more optimistic: “Now is the time. We have an administration that’s open to doing something,” he said, indicating the US Trump administration.

    Meanwhile, ISIS continued to harbor high hopes. In a video released by the terrorist organization in August, an extremist tore up a photo of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, while saying, “Remember this, you kuffar[infidels] — we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome, inshallah [Allah willing].” The narrator of the video also vowed that, “After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken. The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth.” When asked about this, the pope’s top aide said, “Pope Francis hasn’t changed a thing in his agenda, nor is he going to. Furthermore, he’ll continue to foment dialogue, creating bridges, defending peace. With Muslims and Christians.”

    August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    Muslim Slaughter of Christians

    Kenya: Islamic terrorists hacked four Christian men to death for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. On Friday, August 28, jihadis from the Somali-based group, Al Shabaab, rounded up three men (two in their forties, the other 17) and held them at one of the Christians’ homes. They ordered them to recite the shahada — that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” — and thereby renounce the Trinity and become Muslim. When the men refused, the Muslims hacked them to pieces with machetes. They then went and slaughtered the mentally handicapped older brother of one of the slain. According to the “severely traumatized” wife of one of the men, “Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph [her slain husband] as a church elder.”

    Nigeria: Gunmen massacred as many as 50 Christian worshippers inside ‎St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Amambra State during a Sunday morning service. Initial reports claimed that “the gunmen were hunting for a drug baron, traced him to his house but were told he had gone to church.” When they found he was not in the church, “out of anger, probably, they rained bullets on worshippers in the church.” However, not only does the attack closely follow the pattern of other jihadi terror attacks on churches in Nigeria, but at least one group, Act for Biafra, a Biafran independence organization, issued a statement referring to the attack as a “jihadist slaughter” of Christian churchgoers.

    Separately, during an attack on a Christian community in a Muslim majority region that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), Muslim terrorists slaughtered a Christian father and his son, and abducted three women and a baby. Aside from habitual attacks on Christians “in northern Nigeria, [which is Muslim majority] Christians who have already been displaced by Boko Haram extremists are being forced out of their refugee camps and denied access to vital aid,” according to human rights activists.

    Pakistan: Javid Masih, a Christian man who sold himself into slavery to a Muslim family for two years to buy his family a home, was regularly abused, kept from going to church, and finally murdered in August. When the two-year contract was nearly up and Javid told one of the family that he looked forward to getting married, he was told, “There is no way you will ever be free from us and leave this place.” When his term was up and he asked for his freedom, he was severely chided by the family’s sons: “You filthy Chura [“worthless thing”], how dare you ask for your freedom. Your life is ours. You will clean our excrement every day of your life from now on or you and your family will die.” Afterwards, “he was grabbed by the brothers, tied up, beaten and spat upon for a whole day. He had never told his family about this because he was both embarrassed and fearful of the repercussions on his family if they got involved. Other employees were made to see the brutal torture of Javed to instill a sense of fear amongst them.” He continued as a slave but his productivity dropped, and the Muslim family decided to do away with him. They poisoned him and then dumped him in front of his family’s home. When his widowed mother begged them to drive him to a hospital, they spat on her. He died; the police reported the death a “suicide.” Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

    “Despite anti-slavery laws in Pakistan bonded labour proliferates and is destroying the lives of many Christians. The Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1992 is not worth the paper it is written on and the Government’s clear apathy to enforce the law illustrates the low value placed on Christians and other minorities… There is a very small suicide rate in Pakistan of around 300 victims over two years—Pakistanis are hardy. It is inconceivable that Javed committed suicide when he expressed no such desire to anyone he knew and remained stoic for two years despite the pain inflicted on him.”

    Another Christian man, a prisoner who was offered but rejected Islam, was found dead “under mysterious circumstances in police custody,” according to a report. Indaryas Ghulam, 38, was among 42 Christians arrested for the lynching of two Muslims associated with a 2015 church attack that killed nearly 20 Christians and wounded 70. Indaryas had denied involvement in the lynching and was one of the prisoners promised “release in exchange of reneging Christ.”

    “He could have saved his life, but decided to bear witness to his faith onto death…. The prison administration attributed his death to poor health; he had tuberculosis. But his wife Shabana and daughter Shumir, who saw the body, said that he had burns and cuts everywhere, clear signs of torture and of the brutality to which he had been subjected. What is more, they add that although he was severely ill, he never received adequate medical care behind the bars.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom

    Iran: Approximately five hundred Muslim converts to Christianity have faced persecution in Iran, and fled to Turkey in search of asylum, notes an August report. One young convert who said he could not be who he wanted to be if he remained Muslim, added that he is now feeling “comfortable” as a Christian. Another said:

    “I changed my religion because I did not see anything in Islam. Whatever I saw was wrong. It is a fact that the government of Iran is an Islamic one, yet our youth are getting executed. In Iraq the same…. There is ISIS and [they] are killing people in the name of Islam, and there are vulnerable people who are being beheaded there. They have fled to Turkey, and we came to Turkey. That is why I did not see any good from Islam.”

    Open Doors USA, which monitors Christian persecution around the world, confirms that “Converts to Christianity from Islam make up the largest group of Christians and experience the most persecution.”

    Morocco: An August report reveals that earlier in 2017, a popular Arabic language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and, considering that virtually all Christians in Morocco are converts from Islam, ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” “Morocco is home to several thousand Christians who live across the nation, many of whom are new converts and forced to worship in secret churches,” the report adds. “Christians are regularly harassed by authorities, and societal pressure to renounce their faith is commonplace throughout the country.”

    Pakistan: Another Christian minor was beaten and charged with “blaspheming” against Islam. After a Muslim man, Muhammed Nawaz, accused Asif Stephen, 16, of stealing at a local bazaar, he beat the boy, then told the local imam, who, according to the report, “has a history of preaching hatred towards minority Christians,” that the youth had also burned a Koran. Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison and called for a public lynching of Stephen.”

    “As the mob overwhelmed local police, Stephen was removed from his cell and handed over to the mob, who consequently beat him until reinforcement officers stepped in to calm the situation. Police then moved Stephen to a higher security district jail where he plead guilty to blasphemy in what his family believed was a coerced confession.”

    Uganda: On August 7, Sophia Nakisaala, 35, a Muslim woman, embraced Christianity after her daughter was healed by a street preacher:

    “My child got healed instantly from high fever, which had caused several convulsions. The evangelist shared with me about Issa [Jesus], whom he said to be the healer and Savior. I then decided to accept Him as my Lord and Savior and then returned back home.”

    When she returned home and began telling Muhammad Lubaale, her husband, what had happened, “He got angry and slapped me. I kept quiet and did not respond to his interrogation about my new faith in Jesus.” Three days later, word of his daughter’s healing and confirmation that his wife had indeed embraced Christ reached Muhammad. “My husband arrived home on Aug. 10 and started beating me and injuring me with bruises on my head and right hand, using a stick,” Sophia explained. “Neighbors came to my rescue and housed me that very night.” The following morning, while her husband was away, she gathered her four children—aged 3, 5, 8 and 11—and went to an area pastor, who helped her find refuge.

    Sweden: The Western nation most renowned for taking in — and suffering from — Muslim migrants, Sweden, decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden, which is reputed as “the world’s humanitarian conscience and a safe haven for refugees,” continues accepting Muslim refugees, some of whom have helped make it known as the “rape capital of Europe.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

    Egypt: Authorities closed down the 1,300-member Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in the Minya governorate. The closure came in response to local Muslim opposition groups who protested the existence of the church, which had served Christians from three separate villages. The Coptic Bishop of Minya, Anba Makarios, issued a public statement chiding officials for siding with the aggressors against the victims:

    “The security apparatus has prevented Copts from practicing their rites in Kedwan, Minya, claiming that it was because of objections of some opposing factions in the village, and that it was necessary to be considerate of their feelings. However, this means that there is no consideration for the feelings of the Copts and those who do not ask for anything but to pray, as if the decision belonged to the opposing factions and not to a great state such as Egypt, which should have authority and law.”

    The Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan is just one of at least 15 Christian churches that have been closed in Minya province alone. “We have more than 15 places [of worship] closed on the order of the security apparatus, despite the existence of formal requests that are imprisoned in [desk] drawers,” Makarios added in his statement. “Also, there are 70 villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers.”

    Separately in August, security officials prevented Christians from meeting and worshiping in a private home in the village of Forn, in Minya. They said the home lacked a permit for worship. In a letter entitled, “We were prevented from prayer like criminals,” frustrated Christians wrote to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi:

    “We were surprised to find police forces surrounding and entering the village to prevent the Egyptian Copts from prayer and were prevented from going out of our homes. We were attacked with inappropriate words … As if we are criminals or outlaws and wanted for justice, accused of performing religious rituals. And is performing religious rituals a crime?”

    Iraq: Christians returning to the Nineveh Plain continued to encounter the remains of the Islamic State’s handiwork, including graffiti all around and inside their desecrated churches, such as “There is no place for the Cross in Islamic lands” and “The Cross is under our foot.” The following German writing was found in one church:

    “Oh you Cross worshippers, we’ll kill you all. Germany is an Islamic land. You are weak and don’t belong here…. Oh you Cross worshippers, you have no place in Islamic lands. Either you leave or we’ll kill you.”

    “They’d [ISIS] used the statutes of Jesus and Mary for target practice,” said one man of another church. “The altar was also destroyed. Daesh [ISIS] knew that the West would be reluctant to bomb a church, so [it] stored food and ammunition here.” Much of the graffiti has since been removed and altars are being restored. “To see our Christian symbols again is almost as important as food for us,” commented one Christian man.

    Somaliland: After agreeing to the reopening of a Catholic Church, which had been closed for nearly 30 years, the government of the Muslim nation reversed its decision. Spokesmen cited public anger, fomented by Islamic religious leaders who claimed the church reopening was part of the government’s conspiratorial plan to Christianize Somaliland. Explaining their decision during a press conference, Religious Affairs Minister, Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed, said, “The Government of the Republic of Somaliland has decided to respect the wishes of its people and religious leaders and keep the church closed, as it has been for the past 30 years.” The Catholic church was one of many churches built 70 years ago when Somaliland was a British Protectorate.

    Sudan: The day after the Khartoum Parliament rejected the Ministry of Education’s call for Church Schools to operate on Sundays and follow only the Muslim week—a decision “viewed by Christians in Sudan and around the world as another means of harassment and discrimination against the minority group” — on August 2, the Sudanese government demolished yet another church in Omdurman, just west of Khartoum, from their list of 27 churches to be demolished.

    Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

    Iraq: More reports indicating that Christian suffering is hardly limited to ISISappeared in August. According to one, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou said “that the remaining Christian families in Iraq fear that a new ISIS could come to power. He accused Baghdad of failing to foster religious tolerance amid the years of sectarian war and said a lot of people have been brainwashed by the terror group.” He also pointed out that the education ministry should begin to acknowledge Iraq’s Christian heritage and roots instead of falsely claiming that it was always Islamic and that Christians are essentially foreigners and agents of the West.

    Pakistan: The Islamic nation’s senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the compulsory teaching of the Koran to all primary and secondary school students, including non-Muslim ones. In part, the bill is meant to help the state discharge article 31(2) of the Pakistani constitution, which states that the “State shall endeavour to make the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Islamiyat [all things Islamic] compulsory.” However, according to Nasir Saeed, the director of a Christian human rights organization, the bill “will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students… It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”

    Bangladesh: In the name of “fighting terrorism,” the Muslim nation made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down. The Foreign Donations Regulation Bill, which is meant to be a check on terrorist cells receiving funds outside of Bangladesh, has especially created economic problems for Christian NGOs “geared specifically for the Christian community” explained one missionary. Because a majority of Christian organizations in overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh are economically supported from outside sources, 200 were no longer able to secure external funding and to close permanently.

    Sudan: The Islamist government arrested seven church leaders for refusing to comply with a court order to turn over leadership of their congregation to a government appointment committee in an effort to dissolve the church. They were interrogated for several hours and then released on bail. “Police said that in arresting them they were implementing orders from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments to impose its committee as new SCOC leadership, presumably to sell off the church property in Sudan’s bid to rid the country of Christianity,” notes the report, adding that “the arrests were seen as part of a recent upsurge in harassment of Christians.”

    Separately, in order to help a wealthy Muslim businessman take over church property, police evicted two more pastors and their families from their homes and onto the streets. The pastors “were terrorized when police pounded on the doors shouting threats,” “They came and knocked on the door strongly, they said, ‘Should you not open, we will have to break it by force to get in,” Pastor Nalu, 47-year-old father of a one-year-old boy, said. “The situation is very difficult, and we are living on the street.”

    Nigeria: Fulani terrorists, some allied with the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, have been known to invade Christian farms and settlements and slaughter Christians. In August, when few such attacks were recorded, and (mostly Muslim) politicians portrayed the problem as settled, a Christian leader explained that, when not directly slaughtering Christians, Muslim Fulani herdsmen resort to “economic terrorism”: “As we gleefully wallow in the false sense of peace on the Plateau,” he said, “know it today that a deliberate economic terrorism and land-grabbing strategy is being launched on Christians of Riyom and Barkin Ladi on a daily basis with the sole aim of making them poor, weak and destitute in their own land.”

    About this Series

    While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. (Click to Source)

Massive Earthquake Strikes Iraq As Star Of Bethlehem Rises Over Israel

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A massive 7.3 magnitude earthquake has just struck Halabjah, Iraq, just miles from the Iraqi/Iranian border as the long-expected Jupiter-Venus conjunction is rising over Israel and the Middle East.  Details are coming out slowly, but at this time we can report that at least 400 have been killed and over 6,500 injured in the devastating earthquake.  It was the most powerful earthquake in the entire Middle East in five years, and the most powerful earthquake in Iraq in recorded history.

This is happening while a very close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus is rising over the Middle East early Monday morning.  The conjunction follows a number of amazing astronomical occurrences that led up to what many have come to call the Revelation 12 Sign.  This conjunction on Monday is reminiscent of a similar conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2 BC that many scholars contend was the single best candidate for the Star of Bethlehem at the birth of Christ.

Perhaps even bigger news is afoot in Israel as news is breaking that a soon-to-be-revealed Middle East peace plan designed by the Trump Administration has won the backing of Saudi Arabia and the Saudis are demanding that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas either agree to the peace plan once revealed or resign.  The Palestinians are sending signals that they may be caving to Saudi demands.

UPDATE: 4 hours and 5 minutes after the earthquake in Iraq, a large 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Japan, which was followed 4 hours and 4 minutes later by an even larger 6.5 magnitude quake in Jaco, Costa Rica (source).   (Click to Source)

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THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S STRANGE OBSESSION

The decision to follow through with sending Iraqi Jewish archives back to Iraq is part of a disturbing pattern.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

The law of Occam’s Razor, refined to common parlance, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

If we apply Occam’s Razor to recently reported positions of the US State Department, then we can conclude that the people making decisions at Foggy Bottom have “issues” with Jews and with Israel.

Last Friday, JTA reported that the State Department intends to abide by an agreement it reached in 2014 with the Iraqi government and return the Iraqi Jewish archives to Iraq next year.

The Iraqi Jewish archives were rescued in Baghdad by US forces in 2003 from a flooded basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters. The tens of thousands of documents include everything from sacred texts from as early as the 16th century to Jewish school records.

The books and documents were looted from the Iraqi Jewish community by successive Iraqi regimes. They were restored by the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the oldest exilic Jewish communities.

It began with the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem 2,600 years ago. Until the early 20th century, it was one of the most accomplished Jewish communities in the world. Some of the most important yeshivas in Jewish history were in present-day Iraq. The Babylonian Talmud was written in Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq predated the current people of Iraq by nearly a thousand years.

It was a huge community. In 1948, Jews were the largest minority in Baghdad.

Jews comprised a third of the population of Basra. The status of the community was imperiled during World War II, when the pro-Nazi junta of generals that seized control of the government in 1940 instigated the Farhud, a weeklong pogrom. 900 Jews were murdered.

Thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses were burned to the ground.

With Israel’s establishment, and later with the Baathist seizure of power in Iraq in the 1960s, the once great Jewish community was systematically destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1951, 130,000 Iraqi Jews, three quarters of the community, were forced to flee the country. Those who remained faced massive persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and expulsion in the succeeding decades.

When US forces overthrew the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, only a dozen or so remained in the country.

Today, there are none left.

As for the current Iraqi government that the State Department wishes to support by implementing its 2014 agreement, it is an Iranian satrapy. Its leadership and military receive operational orders from Iran.

The Iraqi Jewish archive was not created by the Iraqi government. It is comprised of property looted from persecuted and fleeing Jews. In light of this, it ought to be clear to the State Department that the Iraqi government’s claim to ownership is no stronger than the German government’s claim to ownership of looted Jewish property seized by the Nazis would be.

On the other hand, members of the former Jewish community and their descendants have an incontrovertible claim to them. And they have made this claim, repeatedly.

To no avail. As far as the State Department is concerned, they have no claim to sacred books and documents illegally seized from them.

When asked how the US could guarantee that the archive would be properly cared for in Iraq, all State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said was, “When the IJA [Iraqi Jewish archive] is returned, the State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive, and make it available to members of the public to enjoy.”

It is hard not to be taken aback by the callousness of Rodriguez’s statement.

Again, the “members of the public” who wish to “enjoy” the archive are not living in Iraq. They are not living in Iraq because they were forced to run for their lives – after surrendering their communal archives to their persecutors. And still today, as Jews, they will be unable to visit the archives in Iraq without risking their lives because today, at a minimum, the Iraqi regime kowtows to forces that openly seek the annihilation of the Jewish People.

And the State Department knows this.

Then there is the second story that came out this week, whose implications are no less dismal.

Friday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is leading an effort by State Department officials to convince President Donald Trump to force Israel to return $75 million in congressionally authorized supplementary aid.

On the face of it, the demand is part of a turf war that the State Department has long fought with Congress regarding the scope of Congress’s power to engage in foreign policy. In the final year of the Obama administration, Obama forced Israel to agree not to accept supplementary appropriations in defense aid from Congress beyond what was agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding he concluded. Obama’s position was rightly viewed as a means to undermine Israel’s relations with members of Congress.

But it was equally a means to undermine Congress’s ability to assert its constitutional power to appropriate funding.

As negotiations between Israel and the Obama administration progressed last year, Senator Lindsay Graham implored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to accede to Obama’s demand.

But in the empty hope of averting a last-minute move by the Obama administration to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass at the UN Security Council, and concerned that a Hillary Clinton administration would offer Israel less assistance than Obama had offered, Netanyahu signed the deal.

Graham reacted to the MOU’s conclusion by stating that it is unconstitutional and therefore Congress would disregard it.

After Trump was elected, his advisers assured Israel that they would not enforce the MOU’s restrictions on supplementary funding. And yet, now, the State Department is seeking to do just that.

While in many ways this is an internal American fight, the unmistakable fact is that the State Department always seems to fight its turf war with Congress over issues relating to Israel. Moreover, the fight always involves bearing down on some of the dumbest aspects of traditional US Middle East policy.

Over the past 20 years, the State Department has fought and won two major battles against Congress relating to Israel. First, the State Department has continuously blocked the 1996 Embassy Act that requires the State Department to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Second, the State Department fought and won a Supreme Court battle to block implementation of the law requiring it to permit US citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their country of birth on their passports.

In both cases, the State Department’s actions reflected a longstanding policy of mollycoddling antisemitic Arab regimes and terrorist groups at Israel’s expense. No US interest has been advanced by these efforts. To the contrary, as Senator Tom Cotton argues in relation to the State Department’s current efforts to force Israel to return the $75m. supplemental appropriation for missile defense projects, the US harms itself by undermining its key ally in fighting the enemies it shares with Israel.

Moreover, the $75m. supplemental assistance for development of missile defense technologies is not a gift to Israel. As the current standoff between the US and North Korea makes clear, the US itself is in dire need of just the sort of anti-missile technologies that Israel is developing. Indeed, the US stands to lose if Israel cuts back its missile defense programs due to lack of funding.

So again, we return to Occam’s Razor.

The State Department’s determination to return the purloined Iraqi Jewish archive to the Iraqi government, like its efforts to convince Trump to demand that Israel return the supplemental aid, doesn’t appear to be guided by any underlying concern for US interests.

Why would Egypt or Saudi Arabia object to Israel developing new means to intercept Hamas, Hezbollah or Iranian missiles? So like its fights against congressional efforts to recognize Israel’s capital city, and indeed like the State Department’s insistence that the US has no option other than recertifying Iranian compliance with Obama’s nuclear deal with the ayatollahs despite overwhelming evidence of Iranian noncompliance, there is an undercurrent of obsessive vindictiveness to the State Department’s current efforts.

In issue after issue, the same officials engage in behavior that appears to reflect a compulsive habit of always demanding that the US adopt positions that weaken US-Israel ties and undermine Jewish rights in Israel, and throughout the Middle East.

Perhaps there is another explanation for this consistent pattern of behavior.

But the simplest explanation is that the State Department suffers from an unhealthy obsession with regard to Jewish rights and the Jewish state. (Click to Site)