The West has a lot to answer for in terms of its colonial past, influence over the region and propping up of dictators. But this also means that it should have learned much over the years. So can it exercise some humility and apply those lessons intelligently? Ekklesia associate and MENA region expert Dr Harry Hagopian looks behind the horrific killing of Alan Hennings to ask what sustains IS/ISIL and what can be done to marginalise them.
The ever-productive Martin Marty Centre at the Divinity School in the University of Chicago has offered a powerful article in its 'Sightings' series on what can and cannot be known and understood about IS/ISIS at present.
Thinking about how to respond to ISIS/IS, and in view of the perilous realities of Iraq and Syria, have we tended to ignore the increasing tensions in Palestine and the relationship between all these? Regional commentator and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian argues that ISIS cannot be dealt with by brute force and must be countered by political solutions that re-enfranchise the peoples of the region.
In his latest podcast for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Ekklesia associate and regional adviser/expert Dr Harry Hagopian looks at the on-going fight to contain and repel IS/ISIS and the pressure on the borders of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. He also updates on moves to bring stability to Libya.
Joseph Stalin once asked an advisor rather perfunctorily, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Dr Harry Hagopian, Middle East commentator and Ekklesia associate reminds us. Christians are part of the Middle East and North Africa region and their strength need not lie in their physical might alone, he suggests, surveying the implications of some recent interventions.
‘It looks as if the end could be very near.’ This was the emotional response of Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad this morning, when asked about the prospects for Christianity in Iraq. He was at pains to stress that Christians and Muslims in Iraq have lived and worked together peacefully for centuries: it is terrorism, not Islam that is the problem.
Operation Protective Edge: here is a new military initiative that has fired up many Israelis, infuriated many Palestinians, left the Arab leaders once more in tatters of nonchalance or fragmentation and challenged the moral fibre of the West in terms of its support or opposition to this campaign. Middle East expert Dr Harry Hagopian looks behind the horror and the headlines from Gaza.
In both Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Pope Francis offered his home in the Vatican as a place for the encounter of prayer. It was a potentially transformative moment. Now that the event is over, and both presidents have re-iterated their desire for peace, what happens next to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - more so since President Peres completes his term as president of Israel at the end of July? Regional expert and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian explores the issues.
The Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land and the Justice and Peace Committee issued a statement about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. It is a highly significant document in the light of recent media attention to these issues, and repeated statements from Baroness Warsi and others. There are serious issues at stake here, but it is important that they are understood properly and in context so that the appropriate solidarity for all oppressed groups can be expressed.