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After Saturday Comes Sunday Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East We sat down with author, ELIZABETH KENDAL to find out about her new book ‘After Saturday Comes Sunday’ and her thoughts on the crisis in the Middle East... What motivated you to write this book? Most media coverage of the Syrian conflict is thin on context, thick with propaganda, and driven by interests. Every night the newsreader tells us that the heavily armed, bushy-beared, black flag waving, Allahu Akbar (Allah is greater) shouting, “moderate rebels” on our screens are fighting for democracy, liberty and human rights. But as news of Islamic atrocities leaked out, Christians around the world grew increasingly concerned about the fate of their co-religionists. Cognizant of a growing demand for information, I committed to writing a book that would not merely expose the suffering but explain the Christian crisis in the Middle East. We need to understand what is happening, for not only do the Christians of the Middle East need all the help they can get, but Mesopotamia, long known as the cradle of civilization, is merely ground zero in the increasingly global battle for civilization. We’ve been told the Syrian conflict is about advancing democracy and human rights; that it’s about ridding the world of a repressive, evil dictator named Bashar al-Assad. Are you suggesting that is not quite the case? Leaders in the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia insist that “Assad must go” be-

cause he is a brutal dictator who abuses human rights and has used force to put down popular protests. The very fact that the West’s partners in this supposedly honorable and humanitarian, pro-democracy and pro-human rights venture are Turkey and Saudi Arabia—leading human rights abusers and oppressors who also use force to quell protest—should indicate that democracy and human rights are not the issue. The conflict in Syria is about a lot of things, but human rights is definitely not one of them, despite what the would-be regimechangers might say. So why do the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia insist that “Assad must go”? If the Syrian conflict is not about democracy and human rights, then what is it all about? The rise of the Shia Crescent, and the ascent of Axis of Resistance leader Iran, has alarmed Israel and the US-allied Sunni Arab dictators, for an ascendant Iran is a threaten their security and to the Sunni Arabs’ economic interests. It was in this high-stakes context that the US and her Sunni Arab allies, along with neo-Ottoman Turkey, sought to exploit Syria’s 2011 Arab Spring protests as a cover for illegal regime change in Damascus. The plan was to re-orient Syria by replac-

ing the Alawite-led, Shia Axis-aligned, Syrian government with a Sunni Axis-aligned, Sunni regime more amenable to US and Sunni interests. How has the conflict impacted the Christians? The impact on Christians has been phenomenal, especially as transnational jihadists have flooded the theatre. In Iraq, the indigenous Assyrian nation has been decimated—from a population of 1.4 million (1987 census) to some 200,000 today, virtually all of whom are displaced and destitute. Driven from their homes and from their historic heartland in the Nineveh Plains, they now survive under the protection of the Kurds, shielded by Kurdish peshmerger and Assyrian militias, although tensions exist, especially as Kurds lay claim to Assyrian lands. In Syria, Christians are surviving in the west of the country under the protection of the Assad government, shielded by the Syrian Arab Army. Hundreds of thousands are displaced. Like their co-religionists in Iraq, most have lost absolutely everything.

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14 | The Christian Pulse, August/September 2016

The Christian Pulse August/September 2016  

Welcome to the latest issue of The Christian Pulse, the magazine for This issue we feature 'How Not to Sacrifice Y...

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