Tag Archives: Syria

IRAQ-SYRIA: Sisters of Mercy call for nonviolent alternatives to address ISIS

The following statement was issued by the Sisters of Mercy on September 15.

iraq-syria-buttonThe Sisters of Mercy are committed to nonviolence and peace-making and therefore want to elevate concerns regarding the strategy that President Obama outlined in his national address on September 10, 2014 to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Despite much criticism, we appreciate that the President took time to cautiously and carefully craft an approach to the unique and very serious threat that ISIS poses to the region and to the world. However we believe that extensive reliance on a U.S. military strategy could worsen the situation. Our commitment to nonviolence does not mean we believe in passivity in the face of barbaric aggression. Instead, we support giving serious attention and engagement with proven and effective non-military approaches to interrupt the spiral of violence in the region and to protect communities from harm.

Like President Obama, we recognize the importance of bringing this threat to world security to the United Nations General Assembly. Women religious in the region who have witnessed and experienced many atrocities committed by ISIS have called for, among other things, the international community’s involvement led by the United Nations. But the President’s engagement at the U.N. should not become a platform for a further justification of U.S. military escalation in the Middle East, and instead call for a true multilateral partnership to develop humane, nonviolent and effective responses to this serious threat. Relying solely on a U.S.-led coalition for military action could lead to longer-term U.S. military engagement and an ongoing war in the region, as well as fuel greater anti-U.S. sentiment….

Click here to read the entire statement.

VIDEO: How military “experts” that hawk for war are on payroll of defense contractors

from Brave New Films

Talking heads like former General Jack Keane are all over the news media fanning fears of IS. Shouldn’t the public know about their links to Pentagon contractors?

IRAQ-SYRIA: The case against intervention

by Adrian Bonenberger, Commonweal

IraqCrisis-smallOn September 10, President Barack Obama delivered a widely anticipated speech addressing the alarming growth in the scope and power of the militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The president announced that in order to defeat ISIS, the United States would ramp up military intervention in the Middle East, arming insurgent groups in Syria and Iraq and using airstrikes to support allies in the region. The speech was important. For the first time since he announced a surge in Afghanistan at the beginning of his presidency—a surge in which I played a small role, as a company commander deployed to Kunduz Province—the president is publicly and deliberately committing the U.S. military to ongoing actions in that area. Tuesday, he made good on that promise, hitting Islamic State and Al Qaeda targets in Syria and Iraq with airstrikes and cruise missiles.

The civil wars in Syria and Iraq have provoked widespread outrage: anger at the unscrupulous and repressive leaders, Assad and al-Maliki, who have governed the countries so ruthlessly; horror at the brutal sectarian violence; grief for the shattered families, the refugees—over 2 million and counting—and the nearly two-hundred-thousand lives lost so far. The natural human response to such suffering is to try to end it as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. In this case, however, acting on that desire is the worst thing America could do. Recent historical evidence suggests that if we intervene, we are less likely to end the suffering than to compound it, stretching the killing out over decades instead of years…

Click here to read the entire article.

VIDEO: “How does this end?” questions military intervention

from Brave New Films

Since 1980, we have militarily intervened at least 35 times in more than 27 countries. We keep bombing, we continue spending trillions of dollars, but we’re no safer as a result…

VIDEO: The Church and war, a look at the “humanitarian intervention” norm

The following video is from Rome Reports.

IRAQ-SYRIA: The U.S. and ISIS

by Stephen Zunes
in The Huffington Post

n-US-AIRSTRIKE-large570

At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government. At the beginning of this semester, exactly one year later, I’m having to explain to my students why the United States may be on the verge of going to war against Syrian rebels.

It is not surprising, therefore, that while the horrors unleashed by forces of the so-called Islamic State are all-too-real, there is skepticism regarding the use of military force.

Already U.S. planes and missiles have been attacking ISIS forces in northern Iraq. Given the real threat of a heightened genocidal campaign against Yazidis and other minorities and the risks of ISIS control expanding into the Kurdish region, even some of those normally averse to unilateral U.S. military intervention abroad were willing to acknowledge it may have been the least bad option.

Within days, however, there were already indications of “mission creep,” as what had been officially declared an exclusively defensive mission turned offensive when the United States provided air support for Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which seized the Mosul Dam from ISIS forces.

Even if one can make a convincing strategic case for such a military operation, the failure of President Obama to go before Congress for authorization of this renewed military intervention in Iraq is extremely disturbing…

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

9/11: A call to prayer and peacemaking

Jim Hugby Jim Hug S.J.

A flurry of conflicting realities converged on me this morning in a way I found challenging:

 

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  • The Gospel at liturgy happened to be Luke 6:27-38: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… Turn the other cheek…. Then you will be children of the Most High, for God is kind even to the ungrateful and the wicked.”
  • President Obama addressed our Christian nation last evening promising to “degrade and destroy” ISIS in Iraq and Syria and anywhere they go.
  • This military effort is in part to protect the vulnerable Iraqis that we pray for every day here at Mass since the Adrian Dominican community where I worship has Iraqi sisters who have had to flee Mosul and are with their families among the displaced and desperate. They wrote to us just a few days ago complaining that “our cries are ignored, and the world turns a blind eye to our sufferings.”
  • Some argue that bombing ISIS and other such groups only helps their recruitment. Others insist Obama has shown weakness and lack of leadership by not acting militarily sooner and more forcefully – thereby encouraging terrorism.  Still others remind us of our responsibility to protect the vulnerable.
  • On this 13th anniversary of 9-11-2001, NPR aired two short segments from Story Corps in which individuals who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers in NY remembered their loved ones with heartrending words.
  • On this day, 9-11, in 1941, ground was broken in Northern Virginia for the building of the Pentagon.
  • Someone left me a quotation in the Missal today that leapt off the page: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
  • Pax Christi regions across the U.S. are launching a campaign soon with an ad in NCR declaring that “it’s time for the Catholic Church to reject ‘just war’ as inconsistent with the teaching and example of Jesus and to become a Just Peace Church.”
  • A committed intentional Eucharistic community that I have been associated with for decades has had a long debate about whether it could sign on to that ad – and could not reach consensus.

We as a Church community and as a national community are deeply divided over how to respond to violence and injustice and how best to work for peace. Respectful and probing public discussion could certainly help us move forward a little.  The path will inevitably be long and difficult.

I hope, though – and believe – that at this time we should all be able to agree on the importance of investing more of our resources and energies in new and creative approaches to large-scale peacemaking.  And join in prayer for peace for all peoples, bringing resurrection from our global cross of iron.