September 30, 2015 |
Brett Brown and Jay Wright were sitting in the front seat of the bus as it crossed back from the West Bank and into Israeli territory in late July. They had just given a basketball clinic in Ramallah and were returning to do the same in Jerusalem as part of an outreach program sponsored by a group called PeacePlayers International. At the checkpoint, two young Israeli soldiers boarded the bus and this part was not about games. "People come through and they're checking passports and there's two 18-year-olds with AK-47's.
August 6, 2015 |
Asserting that Christians are more persecuted today than at "any time since their early history," the Knights of Columbus announced here Tuesday a major expansion of its humanitarian aid efforts for Christian refugees in the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq. "Christians in the Middle East are facing a dire situation - even extinction," Carl Anderson, chief executive of the Catholic fraternal organization, told a news conference at the Convention Center. "In Syria, 700,000 Christians have been internally displaced" since ISIS began a brutal campaign last year to establish military and political control of the region, he said.
April 20, 2015 |
Trudy Rubin: Next steps in the war against Islamic State. Dispatches from the Mideast, C1.
April 12, 2015 |
The visit of Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar Abadi to Washington this week will test whether the White House has any Mideast strategy beyond a nuclear deal with Iran. Even administration optimists have revised naive hopes that an accord would stabilize the region. "We can do two things at the same time," Secretary of State John Kerry told the PBS Newshour , meaning negotiate while standing up to Iranian interference in Yemen. The bigger question is whether the White House has a strategy to offset Iran's drive to dominate its neighbors, a drive that is fueling sectarian war throughout the region.
April 5, 2015 |
A purported firebrand on Twitter, Keonna Thomas - a Philadelphia woman charged with attempting to join ISIS - remained a cipher in court Friday. FBI agents allege that she openly dreamed online of dying for the Islamic State, had raised funds to support jihadists in Syria, and had booked a plane ticket in the hope of joining them there. But as Thomas, 30, made her initial appearance in federal court, dressed in the head-to-toe black burka in which she was arrested, she said little.
December 22, 2014 |
Readers often ask how they can help address some of the humanitarian tragedies I write about, including the impact of the Syrian civil war and the savagery of ISIS, which have produced floods of traumatized refugees. So, at the holiday season, when we try to help the less fortunate, here are some organizations that are assisting victims of this Mideast catastrophe. I'm also including some groups that do fine work fighting Ebola in West Africa and helping to educate Afghan girls. One of the most horrifying stories of 2014 was ISIS's genocidal campaign against Iraq's ancient, non-Muslim Yazidi sect, including the kidnapping and sale of thousands of women as sex slaves.
September 13, 2014 |
Now that President Obama has finally laid out a strategy to "degrade and destroy" ISIS, there are only two (very big) questions that matter: Is this strategy really necessary? And can it succeed? My answer to the first question is a firm "yes," but to the second a very shaky "maybe. " Yet I believe Obama has no option but to try. Until the Islamic State in Syria beheaded two American journalists, the president himself didn't believe the ISIS threat merited a comprehensive strategy.
August 1, 2014 |
* THE HONORABLE WOMAN. 10 tonight, SundanceTV. IF IT'S POSSIBLE for a TV show to be too timely, then "The Honorable Woman," which makes its U.S. debut tonight on SundanceTV, arrives at the worst of times. An eight-episode limited series already underway on Britain's BBC2 (where they spell it "Honourable"), it stars Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Hysteria") as newly named Baroness Nessa Stein, whose late father helped arm Israel and who's now trying to use his company to help forge peace between the Israelis and Palestinians by less lethal means.
July 25, 2014 |
Standing in the roiling thick of Wednesday's pro-Israel rally in Center City, Nancy Manno held a sign she thought said it all. Hand-drawn, it depicted a missile about to strike the Liberty Bell. "Most Americans don't put themselves in the shoes of most Israelis," said the Linwood, N.J., resident. "There's not one American who would tolerate the [Hamas] missiles that Israel has had to endure. " Another poster said it writ small: "More hummus, less Hamas. " Two weeks into the latest surge of Palestinian missile fire on Israel, and Israel's bombardment and military invasion of the Gaza Strip, more than 650 Palestinians and almost three dozen Israelis are dead.
July 24, 2014 |
US Airways canceled Tuesday's daily nonstop flights between Tel Aviv, Israel, and Philadelphia because of the conflict between the Israeli military and Hamas fighters in Gaza. Other U.S., European, and Canadian airlines suspended flights amid heightened concerns after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down last week over Ukraine, killing all 298 on board. The Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S. airlines Tuesday from flying to and from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport for at least 24 hours, citing a rocket fired from Gaza that landed near the airport in Tel Aviv.