Sunday Snapshots

Activist: Inaction Had Deadly Consequences In Ukraine
Garry Kasparov, former chess champion and chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, says focusing blame for the downing of Malaysian Flight 71 would be “like blaming the proverbial scorpion for stinging the frog” because it is “his nature.”

Instead, he says in Time magazine, the world should focus on how “the civilized world can contain the dangerous creature” before more civilians are killed. And that means taking strong action where inaction has been the global modus operandi.

“Is the West to blame? Did they push the button? No. They pretended that Ukraine was far away and would not affect them. They hoped that they could safely ignore Ukraine instead of defending the territorial integrity of a European nation under attack. They were paralyzed by fear and internal squabbles. They resisted strong sanctions on Russia because they were worried about the impact on their own economies. They protected jobs but lost lives,” he writes acknowledging that no one will ever know if tougher sanctions would have constrained Putin.

In Mosul, Christians Given Few Choices
For Christians in Mosul, Iraq, the choices are simple: either pay a protection tax, convert to Islam, or die.

“We offer [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment… if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” read an announcement read over loudspeakers throughout the city.

What has resulted is that Christians fled the city ahead of the deadline leaving Mosul absent any Christians.

Mosul’s Christian community, one of the oldest in the world, has shrunk rapidly in the years since US-led forces pushed Saddam Hussein from power. Before 2003 the city’s Christians numbered some 60,000 people, but that dropped to some 35,000 by June this year.

“For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” Patriarch Louis Sako told London’s Telegraph.

The persecution of Christians was on the mind of Pope Francis, who used his traditional Angelus blessing on Sunday to offer prayers for Iraqi Christians who “are persecuted, chased away, forced to leave their houses without out the possibility of taking anything” with them.

Iran’s Role In The Middle East
Council on Foreign Relations Ray Takayeh testified before Congress last week about the destabilizing role of Iran in the Middle East

For more testimony from the hearing, visit the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Crisis In Gaza
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Security and International Cooperation argues that in Gaza both Hamas and Israel are responsible for escalating violence and leading the Middle East down a road to nowhere.

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