Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Baghdad to send Kirkuk oil through Iran

International | The move is a sign that Tehran is colonizing Iraq and squeezing Iraq’s Christian communities
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/20/17, 05:35 pm

IRAQ: Baghdad is looking to send its Kirkuk oil to export markets via Iran instead of Turkey—one of the clearest signs Tehran is colonizing Iraq in the wake of liberation from ISIS. That colonialism is “also squeezing Iraq’s Christian communities today,” wrote Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn. That the Journal’s editorial board sat down with Iraq’s Chaldean archbishop, Bashar Matti Warda, should say something to the Trump administration, which has continued thus far the foot-dragging of its predecessor.

  • Vice President Mike Pence has postponed and may curtail his visit to the Middle East. Pick your version—either due to the tax reform vote or over disagreements with Israel, where a Jewish rabbi has said a Pence visit to the Western Wall, given U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, will endanger Israelis and others at the site.
  • New tallies suggest between 9,000 and 11,000 civilian residents were killed in the nine-month battle to liberate Mosul—one-third of them by coalition airstrikes.

PAKISTAN: Parents of 30-year-old Madeeha bought their only daughter a new dress for Christmas, but she was buried in it on Monday—one of many grim scenes from Sunday’s terror attack at Quetta’s Bethel Memorial Methodist Church. Two gunmen stormed the worship service with explosives as it was filled to its capacity of 400, killing nine and wounding 57. The attack is curtailing Christmas services, even as it was condemned by Muslim leaders, including the son of Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated in 2011 for condemning Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

BRAZIL: Any U.S.-Russiagate collusion stories have nothing on Brazil—where the current president, four former presidents, and more than 100 federally elected politicians are either in jail or under investigation. President Michel Temer’s approval rating is even lower than U.S. President Donald Trump’s, but it’s now improving as Lava Jato, or “Car Wash,” perps go to jail and the economy rebounds once again.

CANADA: It is rare for a sailboat to be intercepted near Quebec in mid-December—but this one had 750 kilos of cocaine onboard, or nearly one ton. (Aside: The seizure took place in Maine, but given U.S. news deserts, there’s Montreal news coverage but apparently no U.S. media coverage.) 

GHANA: An impromptu speech by 73-year-old President Nana Akufo-Addo has gone viral for his condemnation of African aid dependence (see video clip below).

“It is not right for a country like Ghana, 60 years after independence, to have its health and education budgets being financed on the generosity and charity of European taxpayers,” he said. “By now we should be able to finance our basic needs ourselves.”

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Mindy Belz

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.

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