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

The Washington scandal you aren’t hearing about

International | Pakistani-American aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz bilked the U.S. government out of millions of dollars
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/04/17, 12:32 pm

PAKISTAN: Imran Awan, the Pakistani-American who worked for more than a decade for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, bilked the government out of millions of dollars while having access to classified data. He was arrested July 24 and charged by the FBI with bank fraud while trying to board a flight for Pakistan—all part of a Washington scandal you aren’t hearing about.

The New York Times first covered the arrest four days after it happened, explaining that “conservative news outlets,” not the FBI, had built a case against Awan. With less money at stake, former long-time congresswoman Corinne Brown faces life in prison for her recent fraud conviction.

Belatedly, members of the House Oversight Committee are moving to freeze funds transferred by Awan to Pakistan.

Former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and Awan’s boss, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said she “did the right thing and I would do it again,” to keep Awan on her payroll six months after other House colleagues terminated the information technology specialist. Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as DNC chair after leaked emails showed her favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, fired Awan only after his arrest.

NORTH KOREA: Defectors are running a steady campaign to thwart belligerent leader Kim Jong Un, using late-night broadcasts, balloon launches, and smuggled thumb drives—see Jamie Dean’s cover story in the just-released issue of WORLD Magazine.

IRAN: Authorities released Christian convert Maryam Nahgash Zargaran from prison Tuesday. She was imprisoned for four years for “violating national security” while suffering from a heart condition. Zargaran was arrested alongside Iranian-American Saeed Abadini, who was released last year as part of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Tehran.

IRAQ: Three years after genocide against Yazidis in Iraq began, more than 1,600 abducted women and girls and 1,700 men and boys remain unaccounted for. Despite areas liberated from ISIS, few Yazidis have been able to return, and Thursday marked the third anniversary of their mass expulsion, which was commemorated in Washington and other capitals around the world.

Iraqi and Syrian Christians could face vastly different futures, despite suffering similarly under ISIS and other jihadists. The backstory can be found in my book They Say We Are Infidels.

The Knights of Columbus plans to donate $2 million to help resettle Christians displaced by ISIS in Iraq and rebuild their homes there.

SYRIA: The largest repatriation of refugees since the war began in 2011 involved returning militants and their families to al-Qaeda-controlled areas of northern Syria. Hezbollah, which controls parts of the government in Lebanon and has fought alongside the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria, brokered the deal to return more than 7,000 people to Idlib province, including at least 1,000 gunmen.

JAPAN: Recalling the complicated life of one-time New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu.

ICELAND is, well, stunning.

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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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  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Fri, 08/04/2017 09:01 pm

    The outlook of Syrian Christians disturbs me.  The article to which Mindy pointed refers to another article titled, "The Ever-Growing Refugee Crisis," by Ewelina Ochab for Providence Magazine.  She states, "Assad is perceived as the defender of Christian minorities in Syria, as Saddam Hussein was similarly perceived in Iraq. Many Syrian Christians worry that once Assad is gone they will face the same fate as Iraqi Christians suffered after Saddam Hussein’s fall."

    Should not reliance on a butcher for protection be anathema to Christ-followers?

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