The group’s forerunner was Tawhid Wal Jihad, founded in 1999 by Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
Fed up and fearful, Christians are leaving the Middle East
Far from spreading cheer this holiday season, Pope Francis has been in a Grinch-like mood. “There will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and Nativity scenes,” he said in late November. “It’s all a charade.” As the Vatican unveiled its own giant spruce, he sounded downright depressed: “We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognise the path to peace.”
IT might have been an occasion for collectors of omens to rejoice: For the first time in nearly five centuries, in 2015 the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday coincided with Jesus’ birthday. A cause for hope? Too little, it turns out.
Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
Iraqi forces’ victory over Islamic State militants in Ramadi is welcome news in a region where there have been too few U.S. successes the past several years. But one good headline is far from a trend line, and the forces driving the bad news in the Middle East haven’t been diminished. As 2016 approaches, it appears that three trends presage another unhappy year–and define the challenges for this U.S. administration and the next.
Coptic Solidarity 2015 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 11-13, 2015.