ISIS – Their Resurgence & What It Means for Middle East Christians: Today we’re getting an update on what the Middle East is looking like for Christians. Are we suffering from ISIS fatigue? Why is it important for Christians in America to be up to date on this situation? Tune in now to find out more!
Air Date: 12/18/2018
Guest: Rudy Attalah
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
David Barton’s with us. He’s the founder of WallBuilders and America’s premier historian. Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.
Visit WallBuildersLive.com today to learn more about us and the program. In fact, be able to get archives of the program over the last few months. And WallBuilders.com for some great tools to equip and inspire you and your family to do more as great citizens preserving freedom for future generations.
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David, Tim, later in the program Rudy Attalah will be with us. We’re talking about the Middle East and some of the challenges over there certainly for Christians today. But there’s a lot about ISIS that we just don’t hear about any more, so we’re going to get an update from him later in the program. But why do you guys think our listeners and, frankly, all Christians in America should pay so much attention to what’s happening in the Middle East?
Well, Rick, let me first of all say I think it’s significant as we are looking at Christmas or the holiday season. And it’s easy for us in America to get very bubble focused and notice what’s happening in the world immediately around us, but not the globe, the big picture around us. And even with something, like you mentioned ISIS, I feel like probably a lot of Americans have ISIS fatigue, right. Where, those are guys we’ve heard about, and why does it matter, and oh my gosh, and it keeps going.
And because we live in this bubble where with the news everything is about President Trump, or everything is about the Supreme Court, or everything is about what Hollywood actor did this. And we’ve so isolated and made it a bubble that we don’t realize where the rest of the world is in so many issues. What’s happening in the Middle East, as we mentioned ISIS, or what’s happening with Israel, or what’s happening– literally things that are impacting our Christian brothers and sisters around the world that we’re just not really aware of. And it should be significant for us to notice what’s going on.
As Christians we’ve been challenged in the Bible to at least be praying for all our brothers and sisters around the world. And if we’re going to pray for them it might be helpful to know what they’re going through or dealing with. And there’s probably ways that we could help participate in their lives – whether we’re helping sponsor them, or we’re going to visit, or we’re sending money, or helping, in this case, with some of the rescue efforts that are going on to try to save Christians lives, literally saving their lives. Not a figurative sense. No – literally their physical lives – not just their eternal soul, their physical life is being saved from people that are actively pursuing and trying to kill them.
It Should Matter to Us
And so this is something that really it should matter to us and we have to be careful not to let this fatigue get to us that we’ve heard this, these issues, or these situations, or these ISIS word so much and it’s not that big a deal, and we’ve controlled it, and President Trump’s in charge, and our military is great, and therefore we don’t have any problems anymore. We need to be careful not to become callous and not be ready to learn and help when there is a need and situations arise. And there certainly still is a need. We just don’t know much about it.
Yeah, the media has a real problem with short term memory. They are kind of like in the movie “Up” that came out a few years ago from Disney. All those dogs, when they want to distract them, they’d yell “squirrel!” and all the dogs would turn and go after something else. And that’s the way the media is, “Oh, we’ve covered ISIS for several weeks, let’s move on to something else.”
Well, ISIS is still a very real force. Twenty one percent of the Middle East is still under the control of ISIS. And while President Trump did a great job of really decimating their ranks and taking them down, they’re still a sizeable force.
We’ve talked about the Nazarene Fund before, that organization, I’m the chairman on the board of the Nazarene Fund. We started it about five years ago to physically save Christians lives in the middle of what ISIS was doing – was killing thousands, and thousands, and thousands. They reduced the number of Christians in the Middle East down to just an infinitesimal percentage of what they had been. And so we stepped in and hired guys to go over and physically rescue those people from death.
So in doing that, even this last week, I was seeing a report of where we are this last week and we have now identified 4,000 more Christians sex slaves that we need to get out of the hands of ISIS. We’ve identified 19,000 Yazidis, they’re often sex slaves, that’s a religious minority in the Middle East, they’re often sex slaves of ISIS that we need to get out.
Kudos to Australia
And, actually, the Australian Government has asked us to send all 19,000 to them. Can we rescue those 19,000 and send them Australia. Kudos to Australia. They’re taking every single Yazidi sex slave we can send them for giving them a good place to live, and a great lifestyle, getting them out of that physical danger.
We’ve seen 3,500 Christian, Chaldean Christians, in Lebanon that are in dire straits. That’s just last week. So, this is still a very real story. And the guy that we have as the chief operating officer for Nazarene Fund is a guy named Rudy Attalah. Rudy is a really credentialed guy.
It’s hard to give all the description of what he does, but if you remember the movie Captain Phillips that dealt with Somali pirates, it came out a few years ago, Rudy was actually the guy who put all the intelligence together and got all that operation together to take down the Somali pirates and free the ship.
So, he operates at that level in the military. His intelligence clearance is through the roof. He regularly talks to the White House and with the Pentagon on intelligence in the Middle East and in Africa region, that is his expertise. But he’s also a passionate, passionate, Christian that is working on the ground to get these Christians moved to safety and to rebuild their areas.
So, he’s really great, he’s just the right guy to have on the Nazarene Fund. We thought it’d be great to get an update from him as we look at the Christmas season and we’re thinking about ourselves, it’d be good to look at what’s happening with Christians across the world who are not facing the same happy holidays that we are facing here in America.
Alright, quick break. Rudy Attalah will be our guest when we come back. Stay with us. You don’t want to miss this. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment, Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Rudy Attalah is back with us, CEO of White Mountain Research. Rudy, always good to have you, brother. Thanks for coming back on.
Thank you so much for inviting me.
Hey, man, there’s so much going on in the Middle East that doesn’t get reported here and let alone, when it does, we get half measures of truth. So, our WallBuilders Live listeners, we just really appreciate you coming on, knowing so much about what’s happening behind the scenes, and being so involved in actually saving lives and actually getting people out, Christians that are being persecuted. And there’s so many different areas I don’t know how you keep up with all of it, but we were just hoping you could give us a little bit of an update. What’s your view of the strength of ISIS right now? Where are some of the hotspots where we can make a difference in rescuing some Christians? And just tell us a little bit about what’s going on.
The Death Toll Goes Up Every Week
Sure. Absolutely. Well, ISIS is making the news a little bit more these days because there is– on September 10th, coalition forces, of course backed by the United States, have focused on an ISIS stronghold in eastern Syria located near * on the Euphrates River and there’s been ongoing battles. Week by week, over 270 SDF, or Syrian Democratic Forces, mostly Kurds supported by the United States, have been killed. Over 496 ISIS fighters have been killed. The death toll keeps going up every single week.
And some folks believe that this is the longest big stronghold for ISIS in Syria. Unfortunately, the ISIS fighters have atomized across the region. So, after this battle ISIS will no longer be fighting a conventional war the way we’ve seen it over the last year. But they are focused on a long term clandestine insurgencies which they’re doing right now in Iraq.
What do you mean itemized? What does that mean?
Atomized, atomized, as in spread out across the region.
They are no longer in large areas like when we saw the big push. When we bombed them in *, for example, it was a full city where we know it was controlled by ISIS. Now, what they’re doing is the fighters are blending into the local populations, they’re threatening various people, they’re killing, they’re kidnapping and killing, in some cases they’re ransoming off political leaders, security forces, and whatnot. We see still that ISIS still holds approximately 30,000 members between Syria and Iraq. And in areas like Kirkuk, Salahuddin, Diyala, *, there’s still a strong presence of ISIS.
Compounded With the Other Craziness
And local populations are too afraid to confront them because what happens is during the daytime, ISIS members go underground and at night they search and they go after key people, and execute them, or kidnap them, and ransom them off. So, it’s becoming a serious problem. And the thing is, as we’re out there rescuing Christians, and Yazidi, and doing our work, it’s making the job a bit more challenging and more dangerous in many different areas. You have ISIS sleeper cells in various areas. This is compounded, of course, with all the other craziness that goes on with the region.
For example, around Mosul with the work that we’re doing we still have over 4 million mines in and around Mosul that ISIS members have planted. Only 6 percent has been cleared, so it makes the area very dangerous. And we have, right now for 2019, we have earmarked another close to 19,000 people that are stuck in very challenging areas inside Syria in parts of Iraq that need our assistance and that’s who we’re going after to rescue. This year we’re closing down the year with 15,702 rescues.
So, we’re constantly pushing and we’re constantly going after those who are in need. Now, to make matters worse, regionally you also have in southern Syria, Hezbollah has been making advances in the southern part against Israel and bolstering its forces claiming that it’s inside Syria to fight more radical Sunni elements like ISIS and Al Qaeda. But in fact they are positioning themselves to try to to attack Israel.
Of course, for those of listeners who who watched Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at UNGA, and the UN, on the 25th of September. He pointed out where Hezbollah is strengthening itself and how it has missiles around Beirut airport putting innocent civilians in harm’s way and how Hezbollah is threatening Israel.
Where ISIS and Al-Qaeda Take Advantage
So, what– this compounds into everything that’s going on where now if Israel goes to war with Hezbollah it’s going to create more chaos in Syria, we’re going to see more internally displaced people, and of course, this is where ISIS and Al-Qaeda take advantage. And so all of this is happening and we at the Nazarene Fund are doing everything we can to rescue as many people as possible before the inevitable which is another round of war.
Last time we talked to you, Rudy, you were talking about being in a position to help ahead of time. Being able to see kind of the chessboard and see some of these movements taking place and having your team in different places. And it sounds like the tremendous number of rescues that you all have been able to do this year that you’ve been able to do that, you see that same kind of future for 2019 and 2020. You guys are already planning ahead on where to be positioned and continue with your missions.
Yes, absolutely. I actually see that 2000. I think the way the trajectory looks like by 2020 we may see a fairly sizable resurgence of ISIS and Al-Qaeda inside Syria and Iraq unfortunately. And then of course the Russians are making things more complicated by advancing S400 surface to air missiles that can travel several hundred kilometers if Israeli planes come into Syrian territory.
And, of course, you can see this whole almost an end time scenario playing out in this region. The absence of God’s presence is when darkness overtakes and this is where we have an absence of the Lord’s presence in many areas. This is why we need to continue to be diligent in our prayers for these people. We need to also make sure that we are doing what we can to preserve life.
That’s what God called us to do in Proverbs 24:11 that we need to protect those who are stumbling to death, that we step in and do what we can to help them. And so this is what the Nazarene Fund is all about, this is what we are all focused on.
Middle East Christian Rescues
Tell us a little bit about– on the Middle East Christian rescues, the Chaldean Christians in Lebanon, a tremendous number there that you guys are after right now to help. When you do get them out, where are you able to take them to right now?
Well, with the Chaldean Christians or Iraqi Christians that left Iraq and moved into Lebanon because they are looking for security. Currently the head of the Chaldean Church, Father *, is a good friend of mine. He’s got 3500 of them. Unfortunately, the church is doing what it can to feed them and we’ve been feeding those families. Many of them do not qualify to work in Lebanon because they’re considered refugees and Lebanon has well over 1.9 million refugees. This is in a population of– the Lebanese population is 4.5 million.
So, you can add to that almost 2 million refugees on top of that. Amongst them are 3500 Chaldeans. And refugees are not allowed to work. They don’t qualify for medical– any type of medical help. So, some of these Christian families, unfortunately, are so desperate for food to survive that some of them are prostituting their young daughters ages 12, 13, to make a dollar just so they can feed the family.
And so what we’re in there is we’re trying to work with Father * to make sure that a) he continues sharing the gospel with the people and that we are there to feed them and to help them. And because of the threat, the ongoing threat, that continues in Iraq and in and around Syria, we have– we are trying to figure out a way to help them potentially build housing complexes, and maybe build a small medical clinic to take care of these people. We’re in discussions and sometime in February I’m going back to sit down with Father * to have further discussions on where we can assist and what we can do.
A Place You Can Make a Difference
So when people give to the Nazarene Fund, there’s so much that you guys do. We couldn’t even cover it all in one program. But when they give, that is funding rescue efforts, it’s funding taking care of these refugees in these situations, it’s, you guys are really in the fight against ISIS to get some of their– some of the kids that they’ve kidnapped. The stories that you’ve told us are just amazing.
So, what I always tell people, when you give to Nazarene Fund, you’re not propping up some nonprofit management team. You’re literally putting money in the field that is saving lives. This is a place you can make a difference for our fellow Christians that are trapped in these horrific situations that we can’t even– I can’t even get my mind around being in a situation like that. So, Nazarene Fund continues to, like you said, 15,000 rescues. That is truly saving lives and making a difference when people give to Nazarene Fund.
Absolutely. And we will not stop. What we try to do is while– because the donors have been so good to us. We are very careful with every dollar that we spend. We maximize the dollars where we can to get as many people saved as possible, or help, or support it. So, whatever– so the donations are very well put to good use. And we keep our team very lean and we just work 24/7. We’re always– even on the weekends, we’re constantly talking and looking for ways to support people.
Martine, last time I jumped on, Martine was a 12 year old girl that was kidnapped by ISIS when she was eight and raped from age nine to 12. It’s a perfect example of a rescue where we reunited her with her father after years and years of being in the custody of ISIS. We’re in the process of trying to help her sister who is currently held by the second in command of ISIS inside Syria who is five months pregnant right now and has nowhere to go. So, we’re looking at that situation.
So, we have many different examples like that that we work on.
TheNazareneFund.org, I really encourage listeners, just go to the website, go to the gallery, read about the team that they have put together. Rudy, you guys are doing amazing, amazing, work.
We know there are a lot of things you could be doing today, and are doing today, so we really appreciate your time with us and updating our folks. I want to send people to TheNazareneFund.org. Check it out. Rudy, so much appreciate your time today, man.
Thank you so much. God bless you. Merry Christmas.
Thank you, sir. That’s Rudy Attalah, CEO of White Mountain Research. And also COO of the Nazarene Fund. Check out TheNazareneFund.org. We’ll be back with David and Tim in just a moment.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
We’re back on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us! Back with David and Tim Barton. Special thanks to Rudy Attalah for coming on. And I also want to encourage you – we talk a lot about end of year gifts, the Nazarene Fund would be a great organization for one of your end of year gifts. They are doing phenomenal work.
Of course, David, you get to see a lot of the private briefings and things that we can’t share on the air, but there’s a lot of amazing things happening through the Nazarene Fund and Rudy obviously right there in the heart of all that.
100 Percent of Donations
Well, I’ll tell you, there are some great guys associated too. The Kurds have been just unbelievably helpful. The Kurds hate ISIS, they want to save persecuted Christians. And so the Kurds actually partner with us and will go in and combat ISIS physically to take sex slaves out and get them to freedom. We’ve had a number of the Kurds literally killed in doing that for us. We had a guy shot recently. He’s recovering right now, was not killed. But it’s a dangerous thing that they’re doing. But that’s how much they hate ISIS and how much a difference they want to make.
So, it is a dangerous task, but Rudy is the right guy for it, has the right connections, the right knowledge, the right intelligence on how to do that. I’ll also point out that when you give to the Nazarene Fund, we’re a little different from other organizations in that when you give 100 percent of what you give actually goes to save persecuted Christians.
Back in November we had a big fundraiser where we raised the funds to pay for the staff, and the overhead, and the administration. So, when you give that money actually goes 100 percent to help those Christians. And at this point–
Because you’re saying, David, that fundraiser that you had, that already raised the money for oversight and everything. So, when people listening today–
That’s right. Raised all the oversight money.
Yeah. People listening today, if you go give now, that money now goes directly to saving those Christians because we already did the fundraising for all the overhead.
Making a Real Difference for Real People
That’s exactly right. And we’ve actually gotten this down to such a good thing over there with so many good partners on the ground that want to help is we’re now able to save a * for 48 bucks. We thought our projections a couple of years ago were going to be about 6500 dollars a person to save them out of there, rescue them, get them moved out, get them transported – it’s down to 48 dollars. Australia stepped up and said, We’ll take care of the planes, we’ll take care of moving the people here. You just get them out of there.”
So, your dollar really does go a long way in what’s happening there. As Rudy described the situation, those Chaldean Christians, it’s really a tough situation for them. But that’s where over there a dollar really does go a long way in that culture. The dollar is so strong internationally, but also the standard of living is so low over there the dollar really does make a difference. So, anything you can do to help and give to the Nazarene Fund, it makes a real difference, a real difference, in the lives of real people.
That can be done at TheNazareneFund.org. We’re going to have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com to make it easy for you to do that. And as we were talking with Rudy, this is one of those things where when you give that dollar, when you give that donation to Nazarene Fund, you’re literally saving lives. You’re literally rescuing these girls out of the sex trade of ISIS and getting them to safety and a renewed life.
So, just, there’s some great things to give to here at the end of the year, but this is one of those where we just really encourage you to check out the Nazarene Fund because it is literally saving lives, it makes a huge difference and we appreciate you as our listeners.
ISIS – Their Resurgence & What It Means for Middle East Christians
We have a very active audience. We don’t always share that with our entire audience, but we just know, people that come on this program they tell us, when they get done with an interview with WallBuilders Live their phone lights up and it’s because of you our listeners because you answer the call and we’re so thankful for that. And we know that the folks that we’ve been able to team up with are thankful for that as well.
So, today we want to encourage you – go to TheNazareneFund.org. Make that into your donation and help them save Christians in 2019. It will make a huge, huge, difference.
We appreciate you listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.