CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 16, 2014 — Pick a day — any day — and there will be more stories of Christians dying in the Middle East
It was only a week ago that reports out of Mosul, Iraq said that life was almost back to normal under the authority of the Islamic State which had captured it. In fact, things were so good there that indications were that residents were happier under extremist control than when the Iraqi government was in charge.
But a week in the Middle East can change attitudes quickly.
According to the Assyerian International News Agency (AINA), the Islamic State is now rationing basic needs such as food, water and power, excluding Christians and Shiite Muslims. AINA’s report states that government workers were given specific orders not to provide rations to the enemy or they would risk severe punishment for making supplies available.
By denying rations, the Islamic State is virtually starving their enemies to death.
As a result, thousands of Christians have fled toward Kurdish territory in the hope of being accepted. Others are attempting to pass through the borders to relative safety.
Under the Islamic regime, Christian religious sites are being taken over as Muslim properties. According to AINA the cross has been removed from St. Ephrem Cathedral, and the tomb of the prophet Jonah was attacked and destroyed.
Many refugees who left Mosul are returning because they have been unable to find sanctuary.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram gunmen attacked a Christian farming village, killing at least 38 people. The village was burned to the ground, including three churches.
The raids took place late Sunday and Monday, at the same time Boko Haram released a video mocking Michelle Obama’s #bringbackourgirls photo-op on Twitter.
Many of the locals were slaughtered by hillside machine-guns while attempting to return to their homes on Monday after fleeing to safety Sunday night.
Two military fighter jets deployed to counter the Boko Haram attack mistakenly fired three explosives at a bus station where civilians were trying to escape.
In the end, nearly 40 people died.
Such incidents are commonplace these days throughout the region, so common, in fact, that Westerners have become almost immune to any report. That numbness has long been a major aspect of jihadist strategy because it allows them to operate with far less resistance than an all-out confrontation.
Muslim extremists have three primary methods of accomplishing their goals, used separately or in combination, all designed to instill maximum fear and havoc upon their enemies.
Attacks like the 9/11/01 assault grab massive worldwide attention with an extremely high body count. Because of the planning and logistics, such events are rare, but they have significant impact both on lives and moral, and even more important, economically.
Continuous small raids on non-Muslims and other unbelievers are designed mostly for the purposes of killing, maiming and destroying helpless innocents who have little or no power to defend themselves.
This tactic works because the scale is small and the number of attacks is large. Western observers cannot absorb the cumulative magnitude of the incidents and the press is ill equipped to report them all. The result is that a form of ambivalence takes over in Western societies.
The final strategy is more subtle. It is economic in nature, far less visible to the masses but, over time, perhaps the most effective means of waging jihad.
In the final analysis, the primary factor that makes all of these operations work is staying power. Islamic extremism has been at it a long time. They are able to wait. When the West grows weary, the extremists can taste it like a shark senses blood.
Western vulnerability and apathy are the keys to Islamic success, and for the moment at least, there seems to be nothing we can to do to stop it.
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Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod