War

Living with brutal realities

Iran | Soleimani’s death raises new tension for Iraq’s Christians
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/16/20, 03:38 pm

As the United States and Iran traded airstrikes in Iraq this month, Behnam Benoka made middle-of-the-night pastoral visits. “It’s important I am available to meet with them in their homes at this hour,” the Syriac Catholic priest said of parishioners when I reached him by phone on Jan. 7. “We wake in the night due to the situation, and people are worried.”

Read more

Saeid Zareian/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Fault lines and fissures

News analysis | A series of earthquakes—both real and symbolic—shook the ground and exposed divides during the first weeks of 2020
by Jamie Dean
Posted 1/16/20, 07:38 am

An earthquake comes with little warning, but it’s possible to notice the effects of a tremor before feeling the earth move. A few days after Haiti’s massive earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, I noticed pieces of loose stone falling from a wall moments before I realized the earth was rumbling in an aftershock. 

On Jan. 2, 2020, a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, but the dramatic moment followed signs that the ground was shifting. U.S. Gen. David Petraeus once called Soleimani “a truly evil figure.” 

Read more

Fay Abuelgasim/AP

Hour of need

Iran | Christians face multiple threats in the midst of U.S.-Iran crisis over Iraq
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/09/20, 12:19 pm

It’s nearing midnight in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain when Behnam Benoka sets off on pastoral visits to families living in Bartella. 

“It’s important I am available to meet with them in their homes at this hour,” the Syriac Catholic priest said when I reached him by phone. “We wake in the night due to the situation, and people are worried.”

Read more