03/28/2015EGYPT – MIDDLE EAST Arab military force to fight Shias and (perhaps) the Islamic state Arab League members agree to a military coalition to address conflicts in the Arab world. The "historic" deal shelves past Western-led coalitions. The anti-Islamist fight and even the Israeli-Palestinian problem are overshadowed by the main goal: containing Iranian influence. However, the confessional divide is giving the Islamic State group greater leeway and is undermining the social and political demands of the Arab Spring. Cairo (AsiaNews) – Egypt is hosting a weekend Arab League summit to discuss plans to form a joint military force against terrorism with, in the backdrop, Saudi-led coalition strikes...
03/27/2015YEMEN-MIDDLE EAST Saudis continue raids against Shiite rebels. A religious war, but also a question of power by Paul Dakiki The military operation "Firmness Storm " has already caused 39 civilian deaths. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) along with Sudan, Turkey and Pakistan against Iranian influence in the Middle East. Objectives include: to ensure Bab-el-Mandel Strait; undermine the agreement on the Iranian nuclear question. Inter-Arabian military force launched to fight Islamic State terrorists.
03/27/2015IRAQ Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, has died He was responsible for the rebuilding of his Church and overcoming old divisions. Fond of ecumenical dialogue, on 11 November 1994, he signed a Joint Declaration on Christology with John Paul II, which recognized that the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church confess the same faith in Christ.
03/27/2015UNITED NATIONS – MIDDLE EAST Patriarch of Baghdad addresses UN, calling for new laws against states or individuals who support terrorists by Louis Raphael I Sako* The Security Council is meeting in a French-sponsored session dedicated to Christians and persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako hopes to see the international community provide its full support to Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. He also calls for strict laws against terrorism, as well as actions in favour education reform and exegeses of sacred texts that oppose extremism.
03/26/2015ISLAM IS a violent response to the emptiness young Muslims feel in the West Jihadists have focused their recruitment efforts among young people. In the past three months, IS has recruited some 400 minors. Alienated in and by their societies, many young Western Muslims seek to even the score. For PIME Islam expert, young people want an inclusive identity and references. Muslim scholar believes that the violent response stems from the Western world’s “emptiness”.
03/25/2015VATICAN Pope: we must all pray for the Synod on the family, "the womb of human life." "The bond between the Church and the family is sacred and inviolable. The Church, as a mother, never abandons the family, even when it is disheartened, wounded, and mortified in so many ways. Not even when it falls into sin or grows distant". Twenty years since Evangelium Vitae. "When you do not earn a wage you lose your dignity! This is the drama of our time. "
03/25/2015IRAN – ASIA As the prospects for a nuclear deal improve, Asians line up for Iranian oil Some of Asia’s biggest refiners are betting on a positive outcome to negotiations. Once international sanctions are lifted, Tehran could boost crude oil production by one million barrels per day to pre-sanctions levels and more. China, South Korea, India and Japan are vying for a slice of the pie.
03/25/2015LEBANON – FRANCE The feast of the Annunciation for Islamic-Christian friendship in Beirut and in France Today’s solemnity became a national holiday in 2010 to boost Christian-Muslim friendship through devotion to Mary. An interfaith ceremony is held at Notre Dame de Jamhour in the presence of the Card Philippe Barbarin and the rector of the Mosque of Lyon, Kamel Kabtane. The goal is to “go beyond the clash of civilisations and indifference towards the brotherhood of hearts."
03/24/2015IRAN Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group by Bernardo Cervellera
A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”
03/24/2015VATICAN Pope: "May Holy Week will help us leave behind the temptation to be ‘Yes, but Christians...'" "Do not accept the gift of God on your own terms: That is a sin, that is a poison. It poisons the soul, takes away our joy, never lets go of you". "This lukewarm soul, this being halfway Christians, ‘Yes, but Christians...'. This enthusiasm at the outset on the journey with the Lord and then becoming disgruntled, only heals gazing at the Cross, gazing at God who takes on our sins: my sin is there".
03/24/2015SAUDI ARABIA Saudi women will check men’s passports at airport The unprecedented decision will apply to Madinah airport. Until now, women were only allowed to check the passports of women wearing a niqab who did not want to show their face to male officers.
03/23/2015YEMEN As Houthi militias move south, UN warns of possible civil war After seizing Taez, Houthis move south, towards Aden President Hadi's refuge. IS claims responsibility for the attacks against two mosques in Sana's, killing 142. With Saudi-Iranian confrontation playing itself out, UN calls for renewed political dialogue.
03/23/2015ISRAEL After Netanyahu's victory, Israel's left has to start with new leaders by Uri Avnery The Israeli peace activist looks at the results of Israel's recent elections, which accurately reflect the country's demographic make-up. The left must be able to make inroads among Mizrahi (oriental) Jews and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Jewish and Arab communities must be reconciled. The absence of the words "peace" and "Palestine" during the campaign was there for everyone to see.