Assad Slaughtering Syrian Christians
"The Syrian authorities have been trying to force our [Christian] leaders to support Assad in public."
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's security forces last week killed Husam al Murra, a Syrian Christian who had joined the Syrian Free Army, which is fighting to topple the regime in Damascus.
Assad is angry with the Christians in his country because most of them have refused to support his atrocities against the Syrian people.
He is also angry with them because many Christians have played a major role in relief work to help the victims of Assad's bloody crackdown on his opponents.
At the beginning of the uprising, Assad's government forced leaders of the Christian community in Syria to hold public events in support of the regime. The leaders were instructed to pledge their loyalty to Assad and condemn the opposition as a "bunch of terrorists backed by the Zionists and the US."
But as Assad's forces stepped up their massacres and repression of the people, most Christians began speaking out against the regime, especially on Facebook and other social media networking.
The killing of al Murra highlights the growing plight of Syria's Christian minority, who make up less than 10% of the population.
This is a minority that seems to be caught between the hammer and anvil: Assad is persecuting and killing Christians, and Christians fear that if Muslim extremists come to power, they anyhow will be forced to relocate to the US and Europe.
The killing of the young man shows that Assad does not distinguish between one opponent and another in Syria -- Muslims or Christians.
Al Murra is not the first Syrian Christian to be killed by Assad's security forces since the beginning of the popular uprising nearly a year ago.
In recent weeks, several other Christian men have been shot and killed in different parts of the country. One of the victims was a priest from the city of Hama, who was killed while trying to provide humanitarian and medical aid to people injured by Syrian army gunfire.
According to a Christian lawyer in Damascus, Assad's security forces have also begun targeting churches, monasteries and schools under the pretext that they were being used as hideouts for "armed gangs."
Many Christians have stopped going to Church on Sundays, and some Christian schools have been forced to shut down out of fear of being targeted by Assad loyalists.
According to Open Doors, an international ministry supporting persecuted Christians around the world, more than 80% of Christians have fled the city of Homs, where fighting is the worst.
An Italian priest who had been living in Syria for the past two decades was asked to leave the country after he voiced public support for the Syrian people's struggle for reform and democracy.
"Most Christians in Syria are against this murderous regime," said George Saba, a Christian teacher from Damascus who fled to Jordan three months ago. "The Syrian authorities have been trying to force our leaders to support Assad in public. No Christian could ever support such heinous crimes against women and children."
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz