THE TACKY TASTE OF TYRANTS: Inside the fortified base of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad near Latakia, his ancestral home.
“Like Assad’s Instagram account, it is bleached of any nuance or identity, all as soulless as any corporate office lobby. As one American journalist put it, ‘it’s like entering the Emerald City of Oz, as remodelled by the North Koreans … a cold and intimidating fortress, empty except for scurrying aides.’”
SYRIA: Who stands with Syria’s Christians? Beyond the pathos in the current decimation of Christianity in the land of Jesus’ birth, here’s why the destruction of the church in the Middle East should mobilize us:
- God calls Christians to be everywhere.
- The long-suffering in His church have much to teach the rest of us.
- It should be in the strategic interest of the United States to stand with groups in the Middle East that have refused, with cost, to embrace terrorism.
- Muslims need Christians to be their neighbors.
And now the country’s rebel groups are turning on each other.
“‘There is a huge expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,’ said Col. Malik al-Kurdi, a senior commander in the Free Syrian Army, who said the extremists had also recently seized the town of Kafarnaje. With Islamic State well-financed and armed, ‘the FSA power is in reversal,’ he said.
… The escalation of conflict between mainstream rebel groups and Islamic State is likely to further bolster Assad’s position as his government steps up its operations.
‘Now the conflict is internal, and it’s the regime that is benefiting,’ Kurdi said.”
GERMANY: Federal elections on Sunday are likely to be the closest—and most crucial—yet for long-serving Chancellor Angela Merkel and the largest economy in Europe.
SUDAN: Satellite imagery shows Sudan’s Air Force bombed earlier this month a border town in a supposedly demilitarized area between Sudan and South Sudan. A soldier and his wife were killed in the blast, while another six people, including a four-year-old girl, were reportedly injured.
An Anglican bishop in Sudan’s South Kordofan province is pleading with President Barack Obama not to ignore mass victims of other conflicts: “Our people feel as though the world has forgotten them.”
WE’RE FOLLOWING: Parents of two Navy SEALs killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack say the Obama administration has ignored, rebuffed, and lied to them. A House oversight committee also found that the administration’s Accountability Review Board, which investigated the attack, gave a heads-ups to witnesses to be called before the committee and did not keep transcripts of proceedings.
WEEKEND READ: Sagrada Familia, one of the most beautiful churches in the world—and since 1882, the longest under construction—is, like Christians everywhere, in a state of becoming.