Is it now time for Christians to accept defeat in the face of the ISIS genocidal onslaught in Iraq, and admit that our faith has no viable future – in the short term, at least – in that country? Certainly – and sadly – that is the message that is increasingly being heard from many experts.
Nina Shea is an international human rights lawyer and director of the US-based Center for Religious Freedom. She has an impressive record of fighting on behalf of Mideast Christians.
But now she is bluntly calling for, in her words, “a new strategy.”
And what exactly is this new strategy?
In an article last week at National Review Online she writes: “The only achievable strategy under the current circumstances is to prepare for an orderly resettlement of these Christians (and Yazidis) in the West.”
Then she adds: “It is a bitter development for the Church and for them, being discarded after 2,000 years of history, through no fault of their own. But it is the most humane of the alternatives. Otherwise they face indigence and exile or, worse, slaughter at the hands of jihadists.”
Also last week, on the Defense One website, comes an article from Barry Posen, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program. Its title: “The Iraqi Army No Longer Exists.”
In other words, there is no remaining force that, realistically, is going to halt ISIS as it continues its drive to subjugate the region’s Christians. Certainly, as Shea notes, the US does not appear to have the will to do this.
Taking a similar theme, Stephen Walt, an international relations professor at Harvard University, concedes that ISIS increasingly looks like becoming a real and viable state. His article on the Foreign Affairs website has the telling sub-title: “Live with it.”
All this simply confirms what historian Walter Russell Mead told a Hudson Institute conference last month. Christians and other minorities in the region must either “fort up or flee.” Yet the time to “fort up” has long passed.
Christians might comfort ourselves – as I try to do – with thoughts of how our faith is blooming in many other parts of the world. But let us not delude ourselves. This is a tragedy of monumental proportions.