A dangerous missile arsenal
International | Iran asserts its power in Iraq and throughout the Middle East
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/05/19, 06:51 pm
IRAN is building up an arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to assert power across the Middle East that comes as protests drive media coverage from the region and the United States is occupied by impeachment proceedings and pullouts from that part of the world.
NATO: President Donald Trump and French President Emanuel Macron sparred in front of reporters over the role of Turkey in NATO, given its aggressive play for Syria, and ISIS foreign fighters. Less than 48 hours into the historic summit marking the alliance’s 70th anniversary, Trump abruptly left the gathering before a scheduled news conference after key Western leaders were caught on a video talking about him.
SUDAN last week repealed a restrictive law enacting Islamic codes on dress and other forms of free expression and religion. This week, a delegation from the transitional government, which has replaced the deposed government of President Omar al-Bashir, is in Washington, meeting with members of Congress, religious leaders, and U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. A joint council of military leaders and the opposition alliance formed a new government following an uprising that deposed Bashir, who ruled Sudan as an Islamic republic for 30 years.
SWITZERLAND: A school in the Canton of St. Gallen has removed three Christmas songs from its year-end program out of “respect for other cultures and religions.” Teachers were reportedly “astonished” by the decision, and the head of an Islamic organization encouraged schools not to change their traditions: “From our point of view, it is very regrettable when Christian songs are no longer sung in a Christian country.”
SYRIA: Members of a local aid committee issued a written complaint against U.S. aid group Preemptive Love Coalition, saying it published “fake numbers” in social media posts to “trade” on the humanitarian crisis brought by Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria. The organization on Wednesday posted a response to my article, and I have posted my own comments about the reporting, in response to their call for WORLD to retract the story.
UNITED STATES: A provocative report from the Middle East Forum says Islamism in America is flourishing under the Trump administration, despite pledges and assertions to the contrary. Sam Westrop writes:
“Not only have Islamist groups carefully placed themselves at the forefront of the progressivist legal and political fight against the Trump administration’s policies, but these same Islamist groups conversely continue to enjoy federal support.”
HONG KONG: Good recap of the surprising results of local elections and what they mean.
GLOBAL: More than 1 billion people live without electricity in the world, 16 percent of the global population, and most of them live in Africa.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.