IRAQ: President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meet this afternoon at the White House. Maliki will be asking for “a deeper security relationship” with the United States to combat terrorism and an escalating insurgency—which sounds like another security agreement like the one Obama and Maliki scotched in 2010. Didn’t everyone say a revived insurgency would result?
SYRIA: Israeli warplanes struck the vital port city of Latakia in Syria, targeting a store of missiles Israel feared would be transferred to Hezbollah. Interestingly, no Israeli leaders announced in advance they planned to launch the strikes or commented afterward on whether they did or did not.
Separately, the United Nations organization monitoring chemical weapons says that Syria has destroyed its declared chemical weapons facilities.
IRAN: Four converts from Islam were flogged on Wednesday for drinking wine during a communion service. All were convicted of drinking alcohol and owning a satellite antenna on Oct. 20 and told they would receive 80 lashes. (Christians are permitted to drink communion wine in Iran, but converts are considered Muslims.)
PRAYER: In Eritrea, a woman jailed for a year for her Christian beliefs, has died from pneumonia brought on by harsh conditions. She was refused medical treatment because she would not renounce her faith. About 3,000 Christians are incarcerated in Eritrea, many in shipping containers in desert prison camps. Remember them, and others who suffer around the world, heading into this Sunday’s Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs have helpful information and guides for churches that participate. Other organizations will mark the event next Sunday, Nov. 10. I say, why not honor the persecuted on both Sundays!