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What You Need to Know About Syria

Syria

Syria

Since the U.S. Congress is currently debating whether or not to authorize President Barack Obama to strike Syria, it is important to take stock of what really is at stake here.  Many people simply do not understand or are aware of the plight of Christians in Syria, where Christianity is extremely ancient (think the Book of Acts).  So what should we make of the news?  Here is the first article you should read:

How the West is Helping to Destroy Christianity in Syria

Here are a couple of highlights from the article:

“There is a sad irony here. The intervention of American and Britain in Iraq resulted in a hard-line Islamic takeover and the eviction or extermination of the native Christians living in Iraq. Many Iraqi Christians died, while countless others fled to Syria where they thought they would be safe. And now Western powers are seeking to empower the very forces that are persecuting the Christian population in Syria.

Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, lamented that “in those places where the authorities are replaced by the rebel groups, Christianity is being exterminated to the last man: Christians are expelled, or physically destroyed…”

“A problem with American and Britain involving itself in Syria’s conflict, apart from the fact that it is none of their business, is the simple fact the Western powers have chosen to support the wrong side. No one is claiming that al-Assad’s authoritarian government has been godly; however, the prospect of what might emerge if his government is overthrown is almost unthinkable. Yonadam Kanna, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and Secretary General for the Assyrian Democratic Movement warned that the collapse of the Syrian state would be a jihadist triumph and endanger Christians throughout the entire Middle East. We must pray that this does not happen and that the Lord would grant special protection to Christians living in Syria.”

Entrance of the Theokotos Church, Hama Syria

Entrance of the Theokotos Church, Hama Syria

One would think that this alone would cause Western leaders (or at least those in American and France to pause).  The whole article is a must-read, I cannot stress this enough.

However, if this doesn’t convince you, you should take a look at a commentary by Srdja Trikovic of Chronicles Magazine.  While a bit over the top and abrasive in its title, it is a good read on how striking Syria is simply bad policy, both pragmatically and culturally.  While I may quibble here and there with Mr. Trikovic’s analysis, the overall article strikes at the heart of the bad policy coming out of the U.S. government, regardless of political affiliation as seen in this quote:

“The Obama administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserted that the task of the U.S. was to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.”

This is not a strategy, let alone a grand strategy, but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the urge to “confront and defeat”… not only “aggression” but also bloodshed and violations of human rights resulting from internal conflicts (Egypt, Syria) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran). It does not accept any limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. It is inflexible and fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. It rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline.”

Full Article Can Be Found Here: Syria: Idiocy Meets Mendacity

Like it or not, Christians cannot afford to be “apolitical” on an issue such as this.  If you care about the fate of the ancient Christian communities that have existed in Syria many centuries before Islam, including some which still speak Aramaic (the language Christ Himself spoke in His earthly ministry), then do something about it! This could be as simple as posting articles such as these, or writing and calling leaders.  I will close with comments by Metropolitan Philip, who is the leader of the Antiochian Orthodox in America, and as such is in direct contact with the Orthodox faithful in Syria:

Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy and Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:

Greetings to you and your families as we begin a new ecclesiastical year. I pray you had a pleasant summer. I write to you today as our president and United States Congress contemplate military action against Syria. As those of us with deep roots in that land already know, more bombs and destabilization of the country will only lead to further bloodshed and devastation. In my opinion, based on a lifetime of knowledge in that area of the world, it serves neither the interest of the United States, nor the Syrian people (or the people of the Middle East at large for that matter) to bomb and further destabilize the country. Extremists groups such as Al-Kaeda are waiting in the wings to prey on any weakness in the Syrian government and infrastructure. The results of such a bombing would be yet another step in the extermination of our Christian presence in the Middle East, a presence that dates to the dawn of Christianity. Our Church has already suffered greatly and has new martyrs waiting to be glorified –we do not need any more!

Therefore, I urge all of you during the next few days to contact your respective senators and congress people to urge them to vote NO to any unilateral military action by the United States. Time is of the essence so please distribute this email to everyone you know as quickly as possible and share this message on your Facebook and other mass media sites.

Wishing you all a peaceful new Church year, I remain, Your Father in Christ,

Metropolitan Philip

Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America

For Further Reading from all across the spectrum, left, right, and middle (In case you still aren’t convinced):

Senator Rand Paul, “Why I’m voting no on Syria”

Dennis Kucinich, “Top 10 Unproven Claims For War Against Syria” (Kucinich isn’t exactly friendly to the Christian worldview, but he asks good questions).

U.S. Rep Kerry Bentivolio: Why This Veteran Opposes War with Syria

Syria’s Christians Risk Eradication

 

Franciscan Missionary Monastery, Aleppo, Syria

Franciscan Missionary Monastery, Aleppo, Syria

The Obama administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserted that the task of the U.S. was to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.”

This is not a strategy, let alone a grand strategy, but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the urge to “confront and defeat”… not only “aggression” but also bloodshed and violations of human rights resulting from internal conflicts (Egypt, Syria) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran). It does not accept any limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. It is inflexible and fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. It rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline.

– See more at: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2013/09/03/syria-idiocy-meets-mendacity/#sthash.8OgJZlAV.dpuf

The Obama administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserted that the task of the U.S. was to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.”

This is not a strategy, let alone a grand strategy, but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the urge to “confront and defeat”… not only “aggression” but also bloodshed and violations of human rights resulting from internal conflicts (Egypt, Syria) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran). It does not accept any limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. It is inflexible and fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. It rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline.

– See more at: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2013/09/03/syria-idiocy-meets-mendacity/#sthash.8OgJZlAV.dpuf

The Obama administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserted that the task of the U.S. was to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.”

This is not a strategy, let alone a grand strategy, but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the urge to “confront and defeat”… not only “aggression” but also bloodshed and violations of human rights resulting from internal conflicts (Egypt, Syria) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran). It does not accept any limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. It is inflexible and fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. It rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline.

– See more at: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2013/09/03/syria-idiocy-meets-mendacity/#sthash.8OgJZlAV.dpuf

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