Map of the Middle East
Fox News reports.
Iraqi militants seized control Thursday of the country’s largest Christian city — reportedly telling its residents to leave, convert or die — while members of another religious minority remained trapped on a mountain without enough food or water, circumstances that fueled calls for the U.S. and U.N. to get more involved.
[...]The takeover in Qaraqoush is the latest in a basket of foreign policy crises testing the Obama administration. Secretary of State John Kerry dropped into Afghanistan unannounced Thursday to meet with feuding presidential candidates, on the heels of a U.S. general’s murder at an army training post — while the White House plots its next move in a tense chess match over Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, one U.S. lawmaker is warning that the latest developments in Iraq could become a “genocide,” as the Islamic State (IS) — the militant group formerly known as ISIS — continues its march through the north, imposing its brand of Islam on Christians and other minorities.
“Genocide is taking place before our eyes — and on your watch — in Iraq,” Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., wrote in a letter earlier this week to Obama.
[...]In the latest development, IS militants overran a cluster of predominantly Christian villages alongside the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, sending tens of thousands of civilians and Kurdish fighters fleeing from the area, according to several priests in northern Iraq.
The capture of Qaraqoush, Iraq’s biggest Christian city, and at least four other nearby hamlets, brings the group to the very edge of the Iraqi Kurdish territory and its regional capital, Irbil.
The Islamic State has already seized large chunks of northern and western Iraq in a blitz offensive in June, including Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul. The onslaught has pushed Iraq into its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Last week, the Islamic State also seized the northwestern town of Sinjar, forcing tens of thousands of people from the ancient Yazidi minority to flee into the mountains and the Kurdish region.
According to the U.N., between 35,000 and 50,000 fled to nearby Mount Sinjar and other areas, “reportedly surrounded by ISIS armed elements” and lacking water and other aid.
The Washington Post detailed dire circumstances, reporting Thursday that thousands of families hiding on Mount Sinjar are desperate for help and that Iraqi government airdrops of aid are not sufficient.
CNN had some of the details of what ISIS is doing to Christians. (H/T WGB)
If you’re following the news about ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, you might think you’ve mistakenly clicked on a historical story about barbarians from millennia ago.
In a matter of months, the group seized territory in both Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic caliphate, celebrating its own shocking slaughter along the way.
“I don’t see any attention from the rest of the world,” a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq told the New Yorker. “In one day, they killed more than two thousand Yazidi in Sinjar, and the whole world says, ‘Save Gaza, save Gaza.'”
In Syria, the group hoisted some of its victims severed heads on poles. One of the latest videos of the savagery shows a Christian man forced to his knees, surrounded by masked militants, identified in the video as members of ISIS. They force the man at gunpoint to “convert” to Islam. Then, the group beheads him.
The solution is, of course, to immediately provide the Kurds with relief supplies and to begin air strikes against ISIS.
And CNN says as much:
“The world now faces two urgent challenges: to prevent the genocide of the Yazidis and to stop ISIS from continuing to conquer swaths of the Middle East,” global affairs columnist Frida Ghitis wrote on CNN.com. “Bombing ISIS positions would help save the Yazidis, but supporting the Kurds is key to success on both counts.”
The Iraqi Kurdish army, known as the Peshmerga, has fought ISIS but is “outgunned,” partly because the Iraqi army dropped its weapons “and fled when ISIS rolled in from Syria and captured Mosul,” Ghitis says.
Ghitis wants the United States to help arm the Kurds against ISIS.
[...]Filkins notes that Iraq has begun air strikes aimed at helping the Kurds — but, he says, “the Iraqi Army has proved itself utterly ineffectual in combating ISIS.”
The New Yorker has a very good story about a pro-US Iraqi who had to flee Sinjar, a city seized by ISIS.
I remember during the war, which I supported wholeheartedly, the anti-war/isolationist left kept crying for us to have an “exit strategy”. And this is exactly what they meant. They wanted this to happen. They voted for this to happen. You cannot influence the world for good when you pull out of a war, and back away from evils, evils like radical Islam. We caused this, by refusing to stay the course in Afghanistan and Iraq – this is the “exit strategy” of the anti-war left: genocide against minorities by Muslim terrorists. We needed to stay and finish the job.
One other thing. In a situation like this, it’s not Code Pink or some other anti-war group that you call on to solve the problem. Air drops of food and water will be performed by the military. And that’s why we research weapons and fund a defense budget. A lot of people like to talk about problems in the world – especially on the left. But when it comes time to solve them, it often requires the work of brave men, armed and ready for battle.
I would recommend checking out The Weekly Standard podcast to get the real story on this, it’s my favorite political podcast and they have had wall-to-wall foreign policy for the last little while. You won’t have to wait long for them to post an episode, but it’s not up yet as of now (Thursday night).
Filed under: News, Iraq, ISIL, Isis, Persecution