Arming Syrian Rebels a Recipe for Disaster to Christians

When the Arab Spring came to the Middle East, hope rose in the West that this marked a new, positive, democratic and free Middle East in the making.  Events since then have dashed that hope on the rocks of reality. 
Image obtained at:  http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/university-front-line-arab-spring
Nearly parallel to this development were the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation-building efforts there, American withdrawal and the subsequent state of persecution, in Iraq particularly.  Check out how U.S. foreign policy has impacted Christians in the region:

Afghanistan:
Despite the U.S. invasion, expulsion of the Taliban from power, its efforts to install a more pro-American government there and rebuild the country, persecution of Christians is still a huge threat.  


Iraq: 
The U.S. invasion of Iraq and the subsequent fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the Baath party there has resulted in a chilling unintended consequence: “In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.”


Egypt:  
The U.S. pressured Mubarak to step down and backed free elections there and into power came the Muslim Brotherhood.  While life under Mubarak wasn't all peaches and cream for the Christian populace, persecution has increased considerably since the long-time Egyptian leader stepped down due to increased pressure inside and outside of Egypt.  In this article, Raymond Ibrahim catalogs various incidents of persecution, all except one have happened post-Mubarak.  Nearly 100,000 Christian Copts have fled Egypt since March 2011. Mubarak stepped down in February of 2011.

Libya:
An already bad situation for Christians as a restricted nation makes it difficult to say whether things have gotten worse post-Qaddafi.  Here is a Voice of the Martyrs summary.

Syria:
A pro-Assad source claims that rebels massacred a whole Christian village.  Authenticating reports from more reliable sources have been difficult to find.  If you do find such, please let me know. 

Here is a Voice of the Martyrs summary of the state of things in Syria which includes the following quote:

"In 2012, militants engaged in Syria’s civil war displaced whole Christian neighborhoods in some regions, taking over homes and confiscating personal property. Prior to the war, traditional Christian minority groups had relative freedom within the larger Islamic society, but discrimination is rising, and our partners report that acts of violence during the war have specifically targeted Christians and Christian communities."

Although not a Christian attack, the report of the execution of a teen boy for blasphemy in front of his parents by foreign fighters there demonstrates the danger posed to the Christian population.

Various sources across the internet report the presence of Islamists in the Syrian opposition but also in the pro-Syrian forces as militants from both sides have poured in from Lebanon (pro-Syrian Shiites with Hezbollah and pro-rebel Sunnis), Iraq, Iran and across the Islamic world as well as some Western nations. 

Reports out of Syria show that problems abound with identifying pro-Western rebels and how to keep the weapons from going into other hands.  This article shows how well-funded Islamists who are also well disciplined contrast sharply with the underfunded "pro-Western" rebels, even in their interactions with the Syrian populace.  It also speaks to the trading or buying of weapons, if not outright fighting between Islamists and more moderate forces, which would be a huge concern for the transfer of Western weapons from the moderate groups to the radical ones. 

Syrian Christians have found themselves between a rock and a hard place since they enjoyed relative freedom under Assad and fear the losing of that under a post-Assad government.  It does appear that things will get worse for Christians post-Assad but this hasn't stopped the U.S. , Britain and France from getting increasingly involved on the side of the rebels. 

The problem is huge and many don't realize that the likelihood of a Sunni-Shiite regional war is just as great, if not greater than a war/strikes against Israel or Iran by each other.  The U.S. appears to realize the risk and is siding with the Sunnis (think Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey) against the Shiite majority countries/groups (Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria [not majority Shiite but the Alawites, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam, are in power]) with countries like Lebanon (a mix of Christian, Sunni and Shiite) caught in the middle.

http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/photos/2012/hi/121118-N-YF306-112%20.jpg
Iraq and Bahrain are problematic as they are Shiite-majority and supposedly allied with Washington.  Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy over a Shiite majority nation that acts as the base of the U.S. Navy's Fifth fleet and has dealt with its own Arab Spring problems.  As for Iraq, U.S. efforts there have led to an Iranian-friendly Shiite majority government, emboldening and perhaps strengthening Iran as the U.S. has unintentionally taken out the biggest threat to Iran and virtually handed the country over as an ally.  This development in Iraq was recognized as early as 2005

I think that our track record in the region should make us very cautious in taking sides in these conflicts surrounding the so-called Arab Spring.  The facts show that there is plenty of meddling by outside powers already and the proof is there that the U.S. has unintentionally helped those who have hurt Christians and our interests in the region. While having my differences with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), I would say that he is right when he states that “It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end,” Perhaps it is time to sit back, watch and pray and act only when it is in our interest to do so with clear lines and clear allies and enemies. 

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