On 22-26 FEB 2016, NEC-SE was invited to take part in various panel discussions at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention in Tennessee. In my capacity as CEO of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement, I also engaged in private discussions addressing the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. The NEC-SE team spoke candidly to the various Christian and Jewish religious attendees present.
Since we were at a Christian conference, I challenged the attendees using biblical verses. I posited the hypothetical scenario of a messianic return in ten years. In this scenario, I described Christ as returning to earth to speak to these same religious leaders and attendees. The hypothetical went as follows:
Christ asked the NRB attendees what they have achieved in the two millennia since Christianity was established. Their hypothetical reply was that they had built magnificent houses of religious worship, decorated with various displays of religious art.
Christ nodded and said, “I see.” He then asked them what else they have done to bring peace on earth.
Their reply was that they had established Christian television and radio programs in the U.S. and around the globe, with a combined total audience that numbered in the millions.
Christ said, “Very well.” He then asked them what else they have done to further the effort of achieving global peace.
Their reply was that they had spread Judeo-Christian values to nations such as the U.S., thereby establishing the cultural underpinnings for liberty, free trade, and democratic elections.
Christ nodded and said, “Very well.” He then asked them, “What about the Assyrians? What have you done to help these people from cradle of civilization–who created the first nation to have officially accepted me?”
Twenty five percent of them did not understand who He was referring to. Another 25 percent thought he was talking about the Syrians. And the remaining 50 percent said that they had prayed for the Assyrians to be saved.
Christ asked, “What have you done to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 19:23-25?”
To this, the leaders and attendees had no reply.
Christ asked, “Where is Nineveh?” And they replied that Nineveh had been partially destroyed in 2015 and again completely on 15 SEP 2018, along with other major ancient and modern Assyrian cities by ISIS and others. “What about Jonah‟s tomb?” Christ asked. They replied that it, too, had been destroyed in 2014. He asked, “What happened to Assyria?” They replied, “We divided it in 2016-2018 and replaced it with Kurdistan, Iraq, and Sunnistan.” And Christ asked, “Why did you divide Assyria?”
They protested: “We didn’t divide Assyria! It was ISIS that caused this to happen!”
Christ said, “And where did Kurdistan, Iraq, and Sunnistan get their support and legitimacy?”
They avoided the question entirely by replying, “Well, we prayed and told our representatives to give support to the Christians. As a result, we were able to bring some of them to the United States, while dispersing the rest to other countries as refugees and immigrants. The rest we forced to chose or to become citizens of Kurdistan, Iraq or Sunnistan.”
Upon hearing this, Christ appeared to become angry. “I was not referring to all Christians,” He said. “I asked about the Assyrians who are Christians.”
They replied, “As we said, we removed as many of the Syriacs, Chaldeans, Orthodox and other religious denominations from the region as we could through our immigration process and dispersed them throughout the world as either immigrants or refugees to save them.”
Christ inquired, “Who gave you the right to label the Assyrians anything but Assyrian, and who gave you the authority to replace them and to do so at the expense of my designs and in my name?” They replied, “Sir, their and our religious leaders did. We prayed, but you don’t understand the enormous religious, political, economic, and security constraints we had to deal with, so we prayed for them to be saved, and did our best to remove them from the land.”
Christ asked, “So your combined prayers were answered when the Assyrians name was removed from the landscape and replaced by other names and they were dispersed throughout the world as refugees; when their women and children were raped or killed; when their artifacts were looted; when their ancient cities and monuments were destroyed and reduced to rubble; and when their modern cities stolen with the whole of their territorial land given to others? Is that how I answered your prayers? Were you praying for them to be saved, or destroyed?”
They replied, “Perhaps … our prayers were not answered in the way we had wanted or anticipated and our actions made it difficult.”
Christ became furious at this point. He said, “I did answer your prayers when I gave you the most powerful military and the greatest economic engine in the world along with giving you the lead among nations. What did you do with all of that force and capability? and who did you listen to except for me? You took the first Christian nation in the world, made its people refugees; took the land of the Assyrians and gave it to the Kurds; and what ever other name you labeled them, you created a Shiastan and Sunnistan; and replaced my nation–and Israel’s only true relative and enduring ally–with your nations and allies. You took the money of this great economic engine and gave it to whom? To their enemies? Should I bother to ask what happened to Israel?”
Everyone was silent for a moment. Then, one young Christian said, “We resolved the matter with a two-state solution. In order to bring peace to the region, we took some of the lands of the Israelis and gave them to the Palestinians. We placed economic sanctions against Israel through what is called a BDS, the “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” movement, which President Obama endorsed in Europe and which even the Jews in the United States supported. This destroyed Israel’s economy within two years and forced the Israelis to accept the two-state solution.
Christ said, “How did that bring peace to the region?” Someone else chimed in, “There is still no peace in the region because the Palestinians refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist!” And Christ said, “You ignored what I had written in the Torah and the Bible to benefit … whom?”
One attendee responded, “Sir, we converted many people! Some Kurds became Jews, many Persians became Christians, many Arabs accepted you as their savior, many souls were saved, besides many American born Jews supported this effort.”
Christ angrily responded, “You do not know what you are saying; you do not understand what you have done. You are as the blind leading the blind, and you have, through your actions, crushed Christianity and undermined the Jewish State in the Middle East. You wonder why there is chaos in that region? You wonder why no one understands Christianity? You have allied yourself with powers that don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and you sell them weapons and strike economic deals with them. You have taken land from Israel and you have torn Assyria asunder.” Christ paused for a moment to let this all sink in, and then said, “Should I even bother to ask about Egypt?”
To this someone also had an answer. “Well, sir, Egypt is still under a military dictatorship. We supported the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring democratic reforms to Egypt but the situation just spun out of control.”
Christ shook His head. “Enough!” he said. “Has it occurred to you to ask yourselves why I removed you from leadership position among the nations of the world? Obviously, you did not understand that the ultimate mission was to bring peace to the Middle East by ensuring Israel’s existence, securing Assyria’s survival, and strengthening Egypt’s role in a powerful triumvirate. That is the only way that peace could have been brought to this region.”
One of the attendees then said, “Sir, when the prophecy in Isaiah was written, there were no modern nation-states throughout the world as we have today. We were concentrating on saving souls in heaven and were not concentrating on countries, lands, and material issues on this earth. As you said yourself “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Christ said, “But did I not also say that the Men of Nineveh will rise to condemn this generation? Did I not send my only son to become man on earth? Did I not say that I will return to establish my kingdom on this earth? Did I not strike covenant with Israel which manifested itself in a physical contract? Did I not give the ten commandments in physical writing to Moses? Did I not physically describe the boarders of Assyria in the Torah and the Bible and did I not physically describe the location of where the final battle on this earth will take place?
Is there any wonder why my Father inspired these words to be physically written on this earth? He then recited the passage from Zechariah 12:9: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
And Christ then asked, “Have any of these nations that you have created recognized Israel’s right to officially exist?” And they said, “No sir.” A long silence followed. Finally, someone said, “Sir, no nations in the Middle East have recognized the right of Israel to exist officially, except for Egypt and Jordan. And the only people who had officially recognized the Shoa-the genocide of the Jews- the Assyrians, were directly and indirectly removed by the global powers and replaced by others as allies to Israel and the West.”
After I presented this hypothetical scenario to the attendees, the reality quickly sunk in that while the world’s various religious, economic, and political leaders and speakers had achieved great financial success, had built large congregations, and/or had contributed much to the discourse of religion in the United States to save souls in heaven and on men on earth, they had also done little to nothing to help the people that God, speaking through scripture, had described as “the work of My hands.” These attendees, many of them well-versed in the Bible, seemed to forget that the first nation-state mentioned in the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible is Assyria. Indeed, as early as Genesis 2:14 the Bible sets forth a description of Assyria’s borders: “And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”
The Torah and the Bible also mention the city of Nineveh as the capital of Assyria. Signficantly in this regard, we are told in 2 Kings 15:29 that “in the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.”
Thus God accomplished his purpose of ensuring that Jews and Assyrians would be intermixed as a people.
When Israel had re-established itself and learned from its mistakes, God then sent a reluctant Jonah to Nineveh to preach to the Assyrians to thereby to save them and Assyria, “the work of his hands,” from destruction. “Arise,” he commands in the Book of Jonah, “go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. . . . preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee”:
And so Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.
To solidify this relationship God brought forth Jesus his only son who was born a Jew. Jesus practiced the Assyrian culture, Preached in the Assyrian language (Aramaic), and said his last words in the Assyrian language on the cross. He did so to ensure that Assyrians can never deny the Jewish State and that the Jews can never replace the Assyrians with others given one of their greatest profits practiced the Assyrian culture and preached in the Assyrian language.
NEC-SE team then educated the attendees that the recent changes and retractions in House Concurrent Resolution 75 were going to put an end to the Assyrian Christians in their ancient homeland, the Assyrian Nineveh Plain–a place mentioned several times in the Bible, if the physical verbiage of the language of the HCR 75 was not changed.
Thus, with this current version of the House Resolution, not only would allow the Assyrian Christians be annihilated, but the U.S .Congress would be in effect contradicting the Bible and accomplish the destruction of the work of God’s hands.
Is this the legacy the United States Current Congress wants to leave behind? And will these religious leaders and speakers, attendees of the NRB, sit around and allow that to happen?
What is the word of God concerning the future of Assyria? The answer to this question can be found in the following passages from both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
“The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” – Matthew 12:41
“In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.” – Isaiah 19:23-25
Have our religious leaders and speakers forgotten these key verses? If not, why are they allowing Congress to take actions that will destroy a nation that God made very clear would play a key role in the Middle East peace process?
Christ’s reference to the men of Nineveh–i.e., the Assyrians–“rising in judgment” shows that the Assyrians will be present to witness the return of Christ. What’s more, the prophecy in the Book of Isaiah appears to suggest that the three key players of the Middle East peace process would be Egypt, Israel, and Assyria. Today, we see both Egypt and Israel in turmoil and there is no official “Assyria” in order for the peace process to go forward. And the current HR 75 language looks to be the final nail in the coffin for the work of God’s hands. If this turns out to be the case, the Middle East in general and Egypt and Israel in particular will both never see a lasting peace.
Presidential contender Donald Trump recently told Fox News commentator Sean Hannity that he would “100 percent come to the defense of Israel should it be attacked,” adding that the deal between Israel and Palestine would be “the ultimate deal.” What is important for Mr. Trump, or any other presidential contender, to understand is that this deal–and all other related deals–can be made only with the help and participation of a regional partner like Assyria. Egypt’s efforts several decades ago in seeking peace with Israel brought forward real progress in the region. However, that progress was short lived as the region has again spiraled into chaos. The only way to achieve lasting peace is through the establishment of a thriving Assyria in the midst of these nations. The future of the Middle East depends on the existence of an Assyrian nation. Yet HR 75 will certainly kill any hope in the regard given the resolution will directly and indirectly solidify a deal for the U.S. to give Russia control over the lands west of the Khabour River Valley in Syria and their Kurdish YPG allies and will give the lands east of the Khabour River Valley to the United States who as it stands now will replace the Assyrians with the Kurds or the Sunnis of Iraq.
Source: http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/02/23/trump-israel-is-victim-in-conflict-with-palestine-if-attacked- 100-id-come-to-their-defense/
NEC-SE recommendation efforts behind HR 75
On 26 OCT 15, NEC-SE team had been asked to provide their recommended input on the HR75 draft. Below are the three simple language changes which we proposed and the reason why our team recommended the changes:
1. We recommended the word Assyrians to be added to the Preamble and Paragraph 1 & 2 on the bill. The reason why Assyrians are in the Preamble and Paragraphs 1 & 2 is because the ethnicity needs to be referenced like others. All Christians in the Middle East are not Assyrian. The Assyria Nineveh Plain has been the heartland of the Assyrian nation for the past 7,000 years.
2. We recommended the word Assyrian Christian to be added to Page Six line number 9. The reason Assyrian Christian is added on page six line number 9 is because the HR is speaking about both ethnicities and religious groups.
3. We recommended added the following paragraph to the bill.
“Whereas the Assyrians and the Yezidis have been documented as having undergone violent persecutions at 50 year intervals for the past 2,000 years, and the Assyrians and the Yezidis have over the past century suffered mass killings, persecutions, and forced deportation from their historical lands in 1915 1918, 1922, 1933, 1940-1945, 2010, and as recently as 2014 in the Khabour River Valley, the Assyria Nineveh Plain, and Mount Sinjar. The Assyrians and Yezidis continue to experience the silent cultural genocide to eradicate the Assyrian nation and the Yezidi people;”
The Paragraph was recommended as an add to the bill to show the duration and years of the genocides against the Assyrian nation and the Yezidi people. We also noticed that the language for the 1933 Simele massacre was removed from a previous version of the bill. The historical dates in the proposed new paragraph include all the years in the past and current century.
Problem with the Current HR 75 Bill Language
Last year House Concurrent Resolution 75 was tabled to get violence against the Assyrians and others designated as genocide. [https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/75/text]
Obviously, Assyrians world wide support genocide recognition. Unfortunately, there are deep problems with the Current Resolution which is now ready to go up for mark up as of 24 FEB 16. As it stands now, if the current bill language is not amended, it does nothing more than advance a Kurdish ethno-nationalist push to establish a larger Kurdistan which will mean the seizure of the Heart of the Assyrian Christian homeland (Assyria Nineveh Plain). The language also indirectly forgives the historical atrocities which the Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Turks, and other non-Christian groups have conducted against this minority since WWI.
This resolution must be amended if the Assyrian Christians are going to survive in the region.
Bad legislation has harmed the Assyrian Christians in the past and will do so again if this bill is passed.
What follows are specific amendments that should be made to the resolution. Unfortunately, given Lobby money they probably will not be accepted as were our previous recommendations in OCT.
As it stands now the Bill seem to be advancing a Kurdish ethno-nationalist and Shia led govenement agendas at the expense of the Assyrian people in the Middle East.
Currently, if this is what Congress intends to do because they have not heard the whole truth of the Assyrian Christians’ victimization.
Section 5(b) requires elaboration: to specify the measures to prevent further war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Simply, these measures include providing aid and relief directly to the vulnerable minorities through legitimate and independent local partners without using governmental intermediaries. This will help eliminate a pattern of disempowerment used by governing authorities by reinforcing Assyrian dependency and vulnerability in order to facilitate the persecution of Assyrians and Yezidis, and achieve political gains at the expense of their suffering. Measures to help meaningfully must also explicitly state the need to directly support independent and legitimate local forces drawn from the Assyrians, Yezidis and other persecuted minorities.
Section 6 is unacceptable on several grounds. First, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is praised for sheltering and protecting those IDPs arriving in the KRI. Such praise falls on deaf ears for those inhabitants of the Assyria Nineveh Plain who were systematically, programmatically disarmed by the KRI‟s Peshmerga exactly 2 weeks before the ISIS assault on the Assyria Nineveh Plain, 2 days prior to the ISIS clearing operations of the approximately 70,000 Assyrians of the city of Qaraqoush, who witnessed the Peshmerga‟s instantaneous retreat from the Assyria Nineveh Plain with their seized weapons as ISIS advanced. This also falls short given every single Assyrian and Yezidi captives-among them raped women and children-were all abducted from either KRG or Kurdish administered areas in both Syria and Iraq while at the same time no Kurdish women were taken captive.
Contrary to the depiction of the KRI as a source of protection, empirical evidence from the Assyria Nineveh Plain in August of 2014 strongly suggests Peshmerga facilitation of the cleansing of the region‟s indigenous, Christian Assyrian inhabitants. Second, the statement „until they can safely return to their homes in Iraq‟ suggests that those IDPs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are somehow not in Iraq. They are in Iraq as the KRI is part of Iraq. The third concern flows from the two preceding issues, which is that the entire Resolution as framed appears to exploit the Christian Assyrian crisis as a means to promote „Kurdistan‟ and to place the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on the level of nation states. This is a grave concern for Assyrian Christians because it is in the pursuit of this policy that Kurdistan nationalists of the Kurdistan Regional Government have marginalized, victimized and all but destroyed our independent, legitimate and venerable political, security and humanitarian organizations.
The resolution should acknowledge these realities as a means of identifying truly efficacious solutions that will safeguard the existence and dignity of the Assyrian Christians and Yezidi people and will prevent further demographic and territorial disfigurations across northern Iraq and into Syria Khabour River Valley. It is essential for these solutions to take into account the long-established need for Assyrian and Yezidi local security and administration. The consequences of the failure to provide for these needs were made graphically clear by the collapse of central government commanded forces as well as the Peshmerga withdrawal which abandoned these indigenous peoples to the genocide described in this resolution.
Constant reference to Kurds as sharing in the suffering and victimhood of the Assyrian people ignores two stark realities: i) hundreds of ethnic Kurds are members of ISIS, a fact that is widely reported in mainstream Kurdish news/media and attested to by numerous reports of KRG arrests; ii) What distinguishes the targeting of Assyrians, Yezidis, Shabaks and other „vulnerable‟ minorities from that of Kurds and Arabs (who are also victims of ISIS violence) is that the former are at risk of complete annihilation from their ancestral land whereas, thankfully, there is no conversation today about the imminent risk of a Middle East without Kurds or Arabs residing there.
The resolution makes repeated reference to other ethnic groups, namely Turkmen, Kaka‟e and Kurds but Assyrians are limited only to a religious designation, as Christian. The Assyrians have been a largely Christian people since the time of the Apostles but they have been Assyrians for no less than four millennia of history before Christ. When ISIS was destroying the ancient archaeological heritage sites in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul (where the ancient capital Nineveh exists), they were not destroying Christian heritage sites, but ancient Assyrian architecture, sculpture, texts, and related contributions to human civilization. Media reports did not say ancient Christian archaeological sites were being destroyed, but accurately identified these as „Assyrian‟, a name which not only defines ethnic identity but links the Assyrian Christians to the land that they have continuously inhabited for thousands of years.
NEC-SE goal in writing this long article is to empower our readers with the whole truth and complete picture so that your intention of helping the Assyrian Christian community can be realized and that American lawmakers do not unwittingly harm the Assyrians of the Bible and give their lands to non-Christians in an effort to win hearts and minds for only self-promotion, despite the U.S. Congress‟ best intentions.