Globe Trot
Iraqi women walk past a Shiite poster in the Jihad neighborhood of west Baghdad.
Associated Press/Photo by Karim Kadim
Iraqi women walk past a Shiite poster in the Jihad neighborhood of west Baghdad.

Globe Trot: Iraq worse off, Taliban attack, scary Kerry, and persecution trends


Iraq is worse off than it was 10 years agowrites John Bolton on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion, but overthrowing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do.

The UN is calling for an investigation of Arafat Jaradat’s death after autopsy results revealed that the Palestinian underwent torture while in Israeli custody. Jaradat died over the weekend while in Israeli custody, and daily protests in the West Bank are heightening predictions of a new Palestinian uprising. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Steven Cook argues that there is a “more effective way” for the Palestinian leadership to deal with their present circumstances: Declare the Palestinian Authority (PA) closed for business.

The Taliban killed 17 Afghans by shooting them to death and poisoning in an overnight attack at an Afghan government military post in the east. About the same time, a suicide bomber blew himself up beneath a bus, killing 10 Afghan soldiers in Kabul.

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Secretary of State John Kerry is trotting the globe—and it’s a little scary. Yesterday he defended free speech and religious tolerance in his own country, telling German students that in America “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.”

Kerry’s debut speech at the University of Virginia last week got little press, and with reason: He praised at one point the work of U.S. diplomats to secure “democratic institutions” in “Kyrzakhstan,” mangling Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan into a central Asian country that doesn’t exist. The State Department scrubbed the reference from its official transcript of the speech.

This good summary of ways to pray for those especially persecuted around the world includes a new trend: Persecution of Egyptians in Islamic countries is on the rise now that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government is unlikely to come to their aid.

Related to that trend is the good news: “Christian believers in sub-Saharan Africa and other ‘poor’ corners of the world are the ones currently sending missionaries into the hardest corners of the globe.”

To close, this report from a friend and source in Aleppo, Syria, this morning:

“With the cold weather of this year and last couple of months (getting very cold and freezing reaching minus 5-8 below zero) and due to all above mentioned points, the heating system, heating at houses and homes and offices, is hardly provided. For the first time, most of the chimneys (which usually function by fuel or diesel) nowadays are using the wood (which is brought from the inside city’s trees and cut off illegally). Those chimneys are using wood in unhealthy way unfortunately. Many patients [are] received at hospitals due to suffocation, bronchial asthma, intoxication with CO2, and on. Death rate due to this has increased.”

He also reports that “hundreds of young Christian families” are seeking to escape Syria via illegal routes, looking to be smuggled to Greece or Turkey, “paying thousands of dollars … with lots of risks to their lives.”


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