Mr. Norm Nelson of Compassion Radio, http://compassionradio.com, interviewed the CEO of NEC-SE at the 2016 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention, http://nrb.org.
Compassion Radio is a radio ministry designed to help people think and act Biblically in relation to their own lives. The interview was centered on issues and topics from the Middle East region which are affecting the Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Syria.
The one hour interview which has been broken down into two 20 plus minute segments was conducted on 24 FEB 16.
During the discussion LTC Sangari covered the following points:
The civil war in Syria is both an economic and a religious/political fight.
It is being fought over who controls the oil and natural gas pipelines that transit the region.
On a larger scale, however, it is a fight for the leadership of Islam. This is an issue internal to Islam. There is no one person or group that can speak authoritatively for all Muslims.
In a sense the civil war in Syria is a microcosm of the civil war in Islam. In simple terms (too simple, actually) this civil war pits the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam against each other.
The involvement of larger powers in the civil war has ensured that the conflict will not be confined to Syria but will expand will beyond its borders, embroiling all the nations in the Middle East.
One of the outside powers whose involvement is fueling the flames of conflict is Russia. Russian president Vladimir Putin in merely the latest in a long line of Russian leaders who made breaking out of the Black Sea a primary strategic and foreign policy objective. Putin has achieved this goal in Syria with his support of the Assad regime, which has provided him with a seaport (Latakia) on the Mediterranean and bases for Russian combat troops and aircraft. Putin cannot let the Assad regime fall because of its economic and political importance to Russia. The Russians cannot afford not to meddle in the region. For that same reason they have long supported the Kurds in their ongoing struggle for statehood.
The civil war in Syria and in Islam is being fought to decide who will be the leader of Islam. Minorities in the Middle East, especially Christians and particularly Christian Assyrians, are caught in the crossfire.
Christian Assyrians are the root of Christianity and if their destruction will have grave consequences for Christians worldwide. If the root of Christianity dies the branches and leaves will die too.
Assyrian Christians need U.S. support but the U.S. has proved time and again that it does not know or understand how to with the Middle East. That’s because we look at the Middle East from a political rather than a security standpoint. There is no long-term cohesiveness or coherence to our foreign policy. This is a systemic flaw characteristic of democracies.