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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Just Another Day in the Neighborhood

It's amazing to think of what is going on in the Middle East these days. 

1.  ISIS is attacking Christian villages in northeastern Syria.  These Christians are part of a community that has lived in Syria for nearly 2000 years.  In each village conquered by ISIS, the inhabitants are, in general, either forced to convert to Islam or forced out.  The number of refugees just continues to grow.

2.  While we are talking about ISIS, that group of Islamic crazies is destroying historical treasures in Iraq.  In the last week, ISIS has demolished the Assyrian city of Nimrud as well as a Greco-Roman city and other sites with remnants of antiquity.  Supposedly, the idea is to get rid of signs of idol worship, but it seems that ISIS is selling the smaller items to raise funds for the jihad.  When American forces occupied Baghdad a decade ago, the locals looted the Iraq museums and took many of the ancient items stored there.  There was an international outcry against the failure by the USA to guard these museums in the midst of the fighting.  Now, ISIS is destroying ancient cities and relics in an organized fashion.  There is very little outcry.  I guess it is hard to get too upset over ISIS destroying ancient history when ISIS is also busy killing innocent civilians.

3.  Sticking to ISIS, the terrorists are under attack in Tikrit in Iraq.  The strike to retake Tikrit is being led by Iranian officers and Shiite militiamen along with the Iraqi army.  American planes are helping.  We seem to be helping replace the Sunni terrorists of ISIS with the Iranian led Shiite thugs of the local Iraqi militias.  In the last village "liberated" by the Shiite militia in Iraq, the victors went through the village and attacked local Sunnis once ISIS was thrown out.  Hopefully, that will not be repeated once Tikrit falls.

4.  In Syria, the al Qaeda forces that had taken control of the area in that country that borders Israel and the Golan Heights are being ousted by a concerted attack by the Assad forces with significant help from Iranian troops and Hezbollah soldiers.  If the Iranian/Hezbollah attack succeeds, we will have to see how these new invaders deal with the Israelis.  An area of the Israeli border that has been quiet for 42 years may not be quiet that much longer.

5.  In the Sinai desert, Egyptian planes carried out strikes against terrorist targets.  Supposedly, nearly 40 terrorists were killed.  Meanwhile Egypt is opening its border with the Gaza Strip for two days to let people enter and leave that area.  The Egyptians have been working diligently to keep supplies away from Hamas and the other Gaza terrorists.  In fact, Egypt just formally designated Hamas a terrorist organization.  (The next time someone tells you how Israel has blockaded Gaza and imposed hardships on that territory, remind that person that Egypt has also blockaded Gaza in order to stop attacks against Egypt that come from Gaza.)

6.  In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, a large measure of unhappiness has bubbled up due to the proposed deal that president Obama offered to Iran with regard to Iran's program to develop nuclear weapons.  Right now, it seems that the Saudis are attempting to buy nuclear weapons from (fellow Sunni) Pakistan.

There's more, but these are the highlights (or lowlights).  And remember, while all this is happening, our president is hard at work.....on his golf swing.

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