January 24, 2019
WASHINGTON DC: On November 26th, 2018, advisor to the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy, Dr. Walid Phares met with a Polish delegation led by Minister Beata Kempa and Ambassador Piotr Wilczek. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss US and European policies that support and protect persecuted Christians and other minorities in the Greater Middle East. During their visit to the United States, the Polish delegation met with several US officials including Ambassador Sam Brownback, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
Phares, a former advisor to Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Mitt Romney on foreign affairs, shared his assessment of the situation of Christian and minority communities in the region who have been subject to oppression and persecution, including those in Iraq and Syria. He explained that Christians in the Middle East are divided into two communities: those living in geographic enclaves, like the Nineveh Valley in Iraq and Khabur plain in Syria, and those living as minorities within large cities or Muslim-majority areas. Phares suggested, and Minister Kempa agreed, that Western support for these endangered groups of Christians should adapt to their geopolitical realities. Countries providing aid to these communities should work with the national governments to protect the status of minority communities within their cities and villages and enable the groups to protect themselves when they live in geographical areas threatened by terror attacks.
The Minister agreed with Phares’ assessment and offered her assessment based on her experience working to provide aid to Christians in the Middle East. Minister Kempa committed to muster support in Poland and throughout Europe for the protection of human rights of minority communities in coordination with the United States.
Phares stated, “There are minority communities with different geopolitical and legal statuses. While there are certainly challenges faced by most Christian groups in the region, the Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq and Syria have been the most threatened with mass killing and ethnic cleansing. I am glad that the UN and later the United States designated ISIS’ actions as ‘genocide’ as I have recommended since 2014.”
He added, “Poland, and other European countries, are instrumental in helping, not only by raising the issue internationally, but also by assisting ground missions alongside the United States to provide direct protection to these persecuted groups.”