September 06, 2013

ACN News: Stop sending arms to Syria

Editor's note: US Secretary of State, John Kerry asserts that there are eleven war
extremist groups in Syria, fighting as opposition armies, creating murderous hav-
oc in the process.  He additionally claims that the U.S. screened other opposition
groups, and founded them reliable.  Thus far, there is no NATO nation known to
be prepared to intervene in Syria's terrain ... but only from a distance.
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While issuing an unequivocal condemnation of the “destructive” use of chemical
weapons,  Antioch's Melkite rite patriarch, Gregorios III, said that armed military
support, including intelligence, coming from outside the country remains the most
serious threat.

In a statement issued to Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Patri-
arch Gregorios said that his country’s death toll, along with its displacement crisis 
and infrastructure devastation, was the direct result of military hardware sent from
outside of Syria, dating as far back as March 2011, the start of the uprising against
Syrian head of state Bashar al Assad.

In Writing as president of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, Patriarch
Gregorios  stated, “  …  For the last 2½ years, Eastern and Western countries have
not stopped sending weapons, money, military experts, and secret service agents,
along with Salafist fundamentalist gangs of armed thugs and criminals  …  [who] 
have fallen on Syria like a destructive new flood, far more dangerous than even 
destructive chemical weapons, whose use on our Syrian soil we reject on any 
pretext whatever.”

He said that the weapons and their impact “have caused” 100,000 Syrian deaths, 
the displacement of millions of others, the destruction of thousands of villages, 
and harm to the futures of millions of young people.

In renewing his opposition to military intervention by the West, the patriarch stressed 
the need for peace talks, stating, “Contrary to the calls to arms, attacks, and military
interventions, we enjoy listening to appeals from around the world aimed at creat-
ing an atmosphere of reconciliation, dialogue, humanitarian solidarity, hope, for-
giveness, and finally peace.”

Patriarch Gregorios’ appeal for an end to all arms shipments to Syria from all inter-
national sources echoes a similar call made in January, by Beirut Cardinal Bechara 
Boulos Rai, (Maronite Patriarch of Antioch.)  Accusations of foreign military aid 
and intelligence entering Syria date back many months.

On Saturday, August 31st, Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faysal al-Mikdad, accused 
Saudi Arabia of being “the main player” in financing and arming the terrorist groups 
who operate in Syria.  It comes while other reports state that President Assad has been 
increasing the purchase of arms from Russia, with more sightings of ships traveling to 
Syria from a Ukrainian port used by Russia’s armed export monopoly.       

Last week, Patriarch Gregorios spoke-out against armed intervention by the West in 
Syria, stating that it would “fuel hatred, criminality and fundamentalism.”  In an 
interview with Catholic News Service, he said, “Surely [military engagement] will 
spread like a world war.”

In his statement, Patriarch Gregorios said that prayer campaigns were taking place 
across Syria in churches, homes, and youth movements.  He stated, “We join in the
calls for prayer that have been launched around the world for peace in Syria, as
that is the real movement for solidarity with Syria.”

Patriarch Gregorios praised Pope Francis’ appeal for peace and in particular for the
day of fasting and prayer for Syria on Saturday, September 7th, which is to be led by
the Pontiff. 
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Aid to the Church in Need was founded in the ruins of WWII, during the Christmas
of 1947.   It's chain of command literary begins with the Chair of Peter and it's the
Catholic Church's version of the historic Marshall Plan.   As the title indicates, its
clientele are those in need ... sometimes in immediate need.

If you wish to be part of the ACN mission, even in something as simple as donating
Mass stipends, feel free to contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org.
You're also welcomed to contact ACN via:

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                                           © Aid to the Church in Need.
                                      Edited by Patrick Anthony Pontillo        
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