Will the Trump Administration support Christians in the Middle East?
By Ian Speir
Washington D.C., 06.01.2017 (Providence) – When Donald Trump takes office on January 20, he will inherit a raft of foreign policy problems from his predecessor. Russia is again an ascendant power, with geopolitical ambitions that reach deep into Asia and ever more westward into Europe. New footholds in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria will allow Iran, the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism, to continue “exporting” the Islamic Revolution to its neighbors. Meanwhile, its revolutionary proxy, Hezbollah, sits at Israel’s northern border and remains a serious conventional threat to Israel, especially now with Bashar al-Assad consolidating power and returning stability to Syria.
There’s also Israel itself. Under President Obama, U.S. relations with the Middle East’s only democracy reached a historic nadir. Obama’s shameful decision to secretly orchestrate and then abstain from vetoing a one-sided UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements will only embolden Israel’s enemies and further derail peace efforts in the region. The incoming Trump administration now confronts a double hurdle with Israel: repairing a key strategic partnership that fractured deeply under Obama, and returning both Israel and the Palestinians to meaningful negotiations over the two-state solution. The first hurdle is surmountable in the short term. The second is not. The damage has been done, and it will take the next four years (at least) to undo it.
Then there’s Syria, a place where the United States drew phantom red lines and stood by as the region’s two ascendant powers—Russia and Iran—made successful power plays, slaughtering thousands of Syrian civilians, including women and children, in the process. The civil war in Syria has triggered the worst global migration crisis since World War II, and its destabilizing effects will be felt across the world for years. Meanwhile, Iran has been relocating Iraqi Shiite families to Damascus neighborhoods abandoned by Sunnis during the fighting—a resettlement project that really is illegal but doesn’t even register on the UN’s radar.
Finally, the problem of radical Islam and the terrorism it spawns remain. Islamic State (ISIS) is perhaps the most visible and salient threat. Even as its short-lived, self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria shrinks, its terrorist tentacles are reaching across the world, as the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Christmas market in Berlin, and a nightclub in Istanbul soberly remind us. (…)
Here are three things President Trump can do to help Christians and other persecuted peoples in the Middle East.
- First, appoint a Special Adviser for International Religious Freedom to the National Security Council. (…)
- Second, urge Congress to pass, then sign, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act. (…)
- Finally, demand that the UN include Christians in any genocide declaration. (…)
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