Orthodox Christians worship at a church in Damascus (photo credit: michael_swan via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)
Jeb Bush’s August 11th speech at the Reagan Presidential Library laid out a six-point blueprint for driving the remaining Christians out of Syria — unintentionally, perhaps, but effectively nonetheless. Each element of his plan for Syria was contrary to the interests of those beleaguered Christians. A point-by-point discussion of the plan and its defects is published here. Scott Walker gave a decidedly less substantive speech on the same subject at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., on August 28th, which also embraced policies contrary to the interests of Syria’s Christians.
By way of background, the Christian population of Syria was roughly two million before the civil war began in 2011 and is today under one million. Most of the Christians in Syria live in areas controlled by the government of Bashir al-Assad, with some living in areas along the border with Turkey governed by a de facto Kurdish government.
Firstly, both Bush and Walker are calling for the violent overthrow of Assad before the defeat of the Islamic State. This will plunge Syria into an even more violent competition for control between the extremist al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra and the more extremist Islamic State in which there will be literally no place for Christians to hide and which conflict will certainly spill over into Lebanon.
The greater monster in the Syrian conflict is the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL), not the Assad regime. Continue Reading