Obama: Assad “protected” Christians in Syria

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

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US President Barack Obama speaks during Laborfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 1, 2014. (Photo: AFP- Jim Watson)

Published Friday, September 12, 2014

US President Barack Obama surprised his visitors, the delegation of Eastern Christians patriarchs, on Thursday when he told them that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “protected the Christians in Syria.” Obama met with the delegation in the White House for 35 minutes, during which the patriarchs presented a paper in which they exposed the situation of Christians in the Middle East and the threats and challenges they are facing, due in part to the expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

Sources told Al-Akhbar that the highlight of the meeting was when Obama said the following phrase: “We know that President Bashar al-Assad protected Christians in Syria.”

Obama then used the term “the Syrian government” instead of “regime,” which is usually used by the US to describe the government in Syria.

The confused attendees could not believe what they heard. However, one of the guests addressed Obama and said: “Then you should stop talking about a moderate Syrian opposition.”

Obama spoke about the planned US airstrikes in Syria, claiming that they will help “facilitate the (Syrian) political process.”

The US president then reiterated his country’s “support for the Lebanese army,” explaining that the “weaponry the US gave to the Lebanese army is the best response to ISIS in Lebanon.”

Republican senator booed offstage at Middle East Christians gala

Meanwhile, Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz was booed off stage Wednesday night in Washington when he defended Israel at a gala sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a group whose objective is to focus public attention on the plight of persecuted Middle East Christian groups.

“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Cruz said, drawing a sharp response from the audience who started booing.

“Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians,” he continued. At that point, the booing got louder.

"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you and God bless you," Cruz said before walking off stage.

Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai asked the attendees “not to to respond to Cruz and to focus on the conference and its objectives instead of individual statements.”

The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Gregory III Lahham, and Lebanon's ambassador to Washington Antoine Shadid both withdrew from the dinner after Cruz attacked Hezbollah.

Lahham also refused to participate in a session about the situation of Christians in the Middle East because of its dubious objectives and problematic speakers.

Lahham found out that US state representative Chris Smith, who was scheduled to give a speech in the session, was planning on condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, something that Lahham regarded as a departure from the conference’s objectives.

(Al-Akhbar)

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

ISIS only became strong because of Obama inactions on his red lines, Assad killed thousands of people with chemical weapons, Its time Assad should be killed.

Reminder, it's 2014 now. All of the Arab Spring so-called uprisings have failed everywhere. The civil society uprising in Syria has gone every bit as sour as the one in Egypt and Libya and has been every bit as replaced by depraved terrorists who represent no-one but themselves and plan to eliminate ninety-nine per cent of the people for belonging to a different school of thought.

Props to our Christian Arab brothers and sisters. We tend to forget they were the original champions of pan-Arabism.

Thank you for translating from the Arabic language

We heard none of this in the mainstream media in the US.
Aloha from Hawaii.
@KontikiDave

The Jews hate Christians. Their holy books, the Talmud, the Torah and the Kabbalah teach the Jews that Jesus is a bastard and his holy mother is a whore, they also make jokes and insolent insults about Jesus and Christians. Israel might be an ally to the US government but does that mean that alliance benefit the American people?. Israel is sucking hundreds of billions of dollars from the US taxpayers and all the officials in Washington are nothing but a bunch of puppets who only work for Israel

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