More troubling news for the region today as the Islamist extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), supported by other Sunni militant groups and tribes, have continued advancing on the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The militants are now within about 80 miles of the capital after taking Iraq's second city of Mosul on Monday. Hundreds are reported killed and the militants are carrying out executions of civilians.
There are more territorial gains reported but not independently confirmed.
Iraq forces have finally responded by launching air strikes against Islamist militants advancing on the capital targeting fighters in control of the major cities, Mosul and Tikrit.
Over half a million refugees have fled those cities, many to the Kurdish countryside.
The Kurdish military has moved to protect the oil-rich province of Kirkuk after soldiers of the national army fled.
Some reports have indicated that the up to 30,000 Iraqi forces didn't even put up a serious fight to the hundreds of advancing ISIS forces, but rather fled Mosul.
This advance through the Northern region of Iraq is causing alarm not only in Baghdad but the Western world as well.
The Iraqi government says a plan is in place to defend the city.
Hundreds of young men joined up to serve as fighters in Bagdad as the country's most senior Shia cleric urged people to take up arms against ISIS.
There is an audio recording that has emerged of ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani thanking Allah for the victories so far and admonishing his fighters not to become proud of their actions in overrunning large areas of Iraq.
He urged the militants to fight on to Baghdad and not to give up the land that they have captured.
Join me in remembering that there are but a few Christians, mostly Chaldean, who are living in these areas and need our prayerful support for their most frightening and uncertain future.
Middle East Correspondent