PAKISTAN is bracing itself for huge protest movements taking to the streets on Thursday, the country’s Independence Day. It may be Cairo’s Tahrir Square all over again, as a volatile youth movement wants to replace head of state Nawaz Sharif with Imran Khan. Pakistani Christians are concerned, reports Open Doors, about the Islamic-led effort as they also fear fallout from attacks on Christians in the Middle East and copycat ISIS-type attacks.
UKRAINE: A convoy of 280 Russian military vehicles is en route to eastern Ukraine from Moscow—all bearing the Red Cross symbol for humanitarian aid and due to arrive on Thursday. But the International Committee of the Red Cross says it has no idea what’s inside the trucks. At Russia’s border with Ukraine abundant evidence, including unmarked military camps, suggests Moscow is leading the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
IRAQ: Iran has joined the United States in endorsing Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister, further isolating Nouri al-Maliki even as he clings to power. Some gripping video clips have emerged as Yazidis find a way out of Mount Sinjar, and reports yesterday suggested U.S. air strikes are opening a corridor for Yazidis (and about 50 Christian families) trapped there to escape into safer Kurdistan.
Here’s our list of aid groups working directly with the displaced in Iraq.
ISIS: With ISIS now controlling an area about the size of New England, Islamic expert Mark Durie writes ,“The West is in the grip of theological illiteracy. It has stubbornly refused to grasp the implications of a global Islamic revival which has been gaining steam for the best part of a century.” Case in point: At a joint press conference with Australian officials in Sydney on Aug. 12, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the best thing for stability in Iraq “is for an inclusive government to bring the disaffected parties to the table and work with them in order to make sure there is the kind of sharing of power and decision-making that people feel confident the government represents all of their interests.” The word “Islam” or related terminology was never used by any U.S. or Australian official to describe ISIS fighters and their threat.
ECUADOR: A magnitude 5.1 earthquake shook Quito, Ecuador’s capital, and surrounding areas, killing at least two and injuring perhaps eight—with so far no reports of widespread damage.