As you may know, our All Things Possible team just completed another trip to Iraq and the Middle East. Because of you and your generosity, we were able to accomplish a great amount.
In the coming days, I’d like to report on the results of our time there and share how you can help be a part of this important work.
New Housing for ATP
It’s always great to reconnect with our team in Iraq. On this trip, we focused on outreach to refugees, displaced persons and underserved populations. We also encouraged US military forces there and worked on building relationships for future operations.
It’s hard to isolate the highlight of the trip, but most of us agree the marriage seminar in Erbil was one of them. Another highlight would be that right before the trip, our team moved into a new house that’s better equipped to house our expanding programs.
This new house in Iraq is in a gated community with a small yard, a classroom that seats 20+ students, and plenty of bedrooms and baths for our team to stay for extended periods. We’re currently holding English courses there for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from nearby IDP camps and hope to offer more courses soon.
But the community where the house is located appears to be one of the spots where people recently recorded the barrage of missiles fired from Iran targeting U.S. troops in Erbil. This brings me to our next topic — the continued attacks going on in the Middle East.
While the mainstream media continues to point our attention elsewhere, there is a great deal of violence and tension happening in this area.
It boggles my mind that the U.S. continues to sit idly by as Iran attacks U.S. forces, diplomats, and our allies in Iraq and Syria.
As we prepared the risk assessment for the trip, we noted a few things:
- There have been multiple rocket and missile attacks in Iraq and Syria launched from inside Iran over the past year.
- ISIS is trying to rebound and make a comeback in Syria and even western Iraq. Russia, Iran and Turkey are supporting this and if not for U.S. and Kurdish forces in Syria, ISIS would be headline news again.
- Iranian militias continue gaining influence and threaten stability in eastern and southern Iraq. This is also happening in Kurdistan and they’re getting bolder as they watch the U.S. administration flounder and kowtow to bullies around the globe.
These facts forced us to amend some of our travel plans. We postponed our trip to Al Hol camp and canceled our visit to the orphanage we support called Mercy House. This was because ISIS threats and the Shiite Militia threats on our routes were higher than we wanted to risk. We still make those visits a priority before the year ends.
The U.S. administration’s avoidance of mounting violence from Iran
During our trip, we had the honor of visiting with troops in both Erbil and Baghdad, Iraq to encourage them and thank them for their mostly forgotten sacrifices.
We got picked up from our hotel across the Tigris River and the Green Zone by the Personal Security Detachment (PSD) of the CJTF- OIR commander MG John Brennan.
When we got to the base, I couldn’t help but notice the freshly sandbagged bunkers that lined the street and were in front of every building entrance. I half-jokingly remarked about them, thinking of my days as a private on sandbag-filling details.
The NCO escorting us told us the bunkers were newly reinforced due to the continued harassment fires from rocket and missile attacks. I filed this information away with the impression that the attacks were local and likely consisted of Katusha rockets and other similar munitions fired from Iranian-backed militias in the area.
Seated in MG Brennan’s office, he casually remarked how things are getting a little precarious again as intercepting rockets inbound to the U.S. base was becoming routine. After talking with him for a few minutes, I finally realized that we were not talking about small rockets, we were talking about ballistic missiles coming out of Iran.
I was shocked and asked him to clarify, “Are you telling me Iran is launching ballistic missiles from inside Iran at U.S. citizens and soldiers in Iraq?” I felt kind of stupid. He confirmed that yes, Iran is launching missiles from inside Iran into Erbil, Baghdad, and even all the way across Iraq at U.S. troops in Syria.
I was shocked.
Time to take action
Question: What are we doing about it?
In fact, I would argue that we are doing less than nothing. The mainstream media is barely reporting on it and when they do, they are flimsily excusing it or obfuscating its true danger.
In Part 2 of this report, I’ll share more details on the problems that we’re facing, what next steps look like and how YOU can be a part of helping us identify, interrupt and restore those who have encountered immense trauma specifically in this region of the world.
For now, I want to thank you for your continued support and prayers for our team. I’m so grateful for your generosity that helps us continue in this work. If you want to be part of our continued work in the Middle East, you can partner with us anytime right here.
Keep an eye out. I’ll be back very soon to share more important updates and information you need to know from our trip.