Around 200,000 Iraqi Christians have literally ran to the hills seeking the camouflage provided by trees and bushes while IS runs amok in Iraq.
IRAQ – About 200,000 people, mostly Christians, have fled from their homes in northern Iraq, before the arrival of the jihadist militia of the Islamic State (IS), which has taken the city of Sinjar, near the border with Syria, the home of the Yazidi minority.
“IS has killed and kidnapped 500 Yazidi women in Sinjar,” said Thursday in the Iraqi parliament deputy Feyyan Dahil, who is a member of this minority. “They are slaughtering, are destroying our religion,” said Dahil, who broke into tears after explaining what IS has done to his community.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 Yazidi people who fled at first took refuge in the mountains of the area, with little food or water in a place where heat and thirst have killed dozens of children and elderly. According to Iraqi media, in the last 24 hours, some of the people trapped in the mountain have been rescued, but the great majority of the 200,000 are still there. This version has been corroborated by a spokeswoman for the UN humanitarian agency.
The Yazidi community considered part ethnically Kurdish, follows a religion that has about 600,000 members. They are concentrated in the region forming the border between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
According to the Yazidi religion, the world is protected by God and seven angels, although one of these was expelled from heaven for refusing to bow to Adam. Muslim fundamentalists identify with the idea of ??the devil and fallen accuse Yazidis worship the devil angel.
On the other hand, jihadists follow a very strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and other Islamic currents, so the Yazidi people are considered heretics, and members of other religions are seen as infidels. In recent months, they have forced Christians to convert to Islam and have come to behead and crucify dozens of people in the territory they control in Syria and Iraq, while declaring their own caliphate.
Since taking Mosul, Iraq‘s second largest city, and due to its rapid spread in northwestern Iraq in the second week of June, the jihadists have now occupied much more territory in this country. Now it has taken control of the main dam in the region of Mosul.
At first, it seemed that the jihadists did not want to openly confront the Peshmerga, the Kurdish armed forces, considered capable and efficient in protecting their region. However, during the past weekend the Peshmerga withdrew from Sinjar, allowing the jihadists to take this Yazidi city. The Kurds have complained that they can not cope with the artillery captured by IS from the Iraqi army and the weapons left there by the US army. Now the Kurds are asking the United States for support.
The offensive led by IS, which has arrived as close as 40 miles from Erbil, the Kurdish capital, has caused Popular Protection Units and militia members of the Workers Party of Kurdistan to join the Peshmerga. This has led to an unusual international front against Kurdish jihadists, in another example of how the boundaries of this area, drawn by Western powers after the end of World War I, have become increasingly irrelevant to the various armed groups in the field.
Obama‘s ‘duty’ to wage war again: The ghosts of wars past come back home
While the situation in Iraq goes from bad to worse, President Barack Obama authorized air attacks in Iraq, but only to protect American personnel in the country, and eventually prevent a genocide of religious minorities persecuted by the jihadists of the Islamic State.
The decision, announced in a solemn declaration from the White House, is the return of the armed forces of the United States to a war that Obama said he opposed when it started in 2003 and that he himself ended ‘officially’ in 2011 with the partial withdrawal of ground troops.
In addition to authorizing the intervention, which would be the first since the US and NATO attacked Libya in 2011, Obama said he has approved the ‘delivery of aid’ to the minority Yazidi besieged by jihadists.
The first flight, which ended without incident, included three transport aircraft -a C-17 and a C-130- escorted by two F / A-18 fighter jets, according to a Pentagon statement. The cargo planes reportedly dropped 72 large packages with water and food.
The aim of the military intervention, according to Obama is to stop the advance of Sunni insurgents who threaten the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil, and have displaced tens of thousands of Yazidi people. The president said the attacks would be “limited” and implemented as needed.
The mission, which excludes sending ground troops, is, per Obama’s speech a twofold effort. On the one hand, it is intended to protecting American personnel in Erbil. On the other, it aims to prevent genocide against the Yazidis. “When we have unique capabilities to prevent a massacre, I believe that the United States of America can not look away. We can act carefully and responsibly to prevent potential acts of genocide,” Obama said.
“Earlier this week, an Iraqi in the region to the world: ‘No one comes to help,'” he added later. “Well, today America comes to help.” Clearly Obama is using the Iraqi situation to initiate a PR campaign, because if he really thought the way he says he does, America would have bombed Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza. Of course that did not happen an consequently, almost 2,000 Palestinians were murdered by the Israeli IDF.
A source in the Obama Administration said in a conference call that the intervention complies with international law because if it takes, it will be at the request of the Iraqi government. Again, the same standard was not applied in the case of Gaza, where hospitals, shelters and schools that served as hiding places for innocent men, women and children were bombed despite clear warnings that they were not hideouts for Hamas militants. In the case of Gaza, it was simply not convenient for the US to paint itself as the helper Obama boated about when talking about Iraq.
For the protection of American citizens, the president can invoke his constitutional powers, as he did on Thursday. The same source said the White House would inform Congress when the attacks were set to be launched. This practice of ‘informing’ Congress as supposed to Congress telling the President when to act, is business as usual in Washington; a place where the Executive now reserves the right to respect its constitutional powers.
Publicly, Obama had so far resisted intervening in Iraq, but privately, himself and his cabinet must have been seen it coming. In recent months, the US managed to smuggle weapons into Syria to arm the very same people who are now raping women, killing men and persecuting Christians in Iraq. Previous to offering to bomb IS, Obama had sent hundreds of soldiers to advise Iraqi forces, locating potential targets for air attacks and protect the American Embassy and other American facilities in the country.
As the psychopath Obama is, he had previously conditioned the airstrikes to a change in policy within the Iraqi government, including the relay of prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to whom the White House attributes some of the responsibility for the sectarian conflict. Washington argues that al-Maliki’s policies against Sunnis were a strong element in the destabilization of Iraq, as supposed, for example, citing the generalized misery the US has caused in that country since 1991.
By themselves, the Iraqi forces have been unable to stop IS, and now they will have to, in a timely manner, host and fight along the same US military that destroyed the country to leave it to its own luck. The US traumatized Iraq for the last 23 years, dividing the country and ended its war without victory. More than four thousand American were killed and hundreds of billions of dollars were spend for nothing. This outcome left many Americans without any appetite to engage in new military adventures, but now, the ghosts of wars past have come back home.
The Nobel Liar
“As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to see itself dragged to fight another war in Iraq,” Obama promised. “There’s an American solution to the general crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is a reconciliation between Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi forces.” It is unfortunate that Obama and his predecessors did not think about this ‘American solution’ back in 1991. Life would be so much easier for America today, wouldn’t it?
Barack Obama became president of the United States in January 2009 promising to renew America and to erase the warmongering past led by George W. Bush. The Democrat Obama, who as a senator opposed the American intervention in Iraq in 2003, promised to launch a new phase based on multilateralism and diplomacy. This earned him being awarded in December 2009 with the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts” to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples and in particular for his “vision of a world without nuclear weapons.”
But as many of us already know, it was all a smokescreen.
Reality has not progressed as Obama promised and proof of it is his announcement on Thursday about new American airstrikes in Iraq to “protect American personnel and facilities” before the advance of the Sunni jihadists and to avoid possible genocide.
In over five years in the White House, the president has maintained his reticence against Bush’s militarism, but has no qualms about engaging in warlike conflicts old and new, and to multiply operations with drones against supposed terrorist targets in Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.
The Democratic president reinforced in 2009 the American military presence in Afghanistan and postponed until 2016 the withdrawal of all troops from the country. He carried out American air strikes in Libya against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and urged the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq late that same year. However, the recent jihadist advance, which was instigated by the US itself, is now seen as an acceptable excuse for Obama to re-engage the United States militarily in Iraq.
The civil war in Syria, which broke out three years ago, and that was fueled by American cash and bombs, is the best example of Obama’s love for militarism. He accused the Syrian government of slaughtering civilians and using chemical weapons against them. The public later discovered that it was Obama’s own allies in Syria the ones responsible for the chemical attacks. Obama crossed the very same red line he had drawn for Assad.
A year ago, after allegations that the Assad forces used these weapons, Obama asked Congress for authorization to conduct air strikes against the positions of the regime. However, at the last minute he pulled back as mounting opposition from his European partners grew around the world. Instead, Russia intervened showing the Americans how diplomacy can indeed solve conflicts and that not every disagreement needs to end in airstrikes.
In the case of Iraq, the development has been quite different. In mid-June Obama announced he was sending 300 military advisers to Iraq to help Iraqi forces contain the rapid advancement of the jihadists. Since then, Washington has gradually increased its military presence in the country, with advisers and soldiers positioning themselves to protect the American caliphate in Baghdad. Obama used the same policy in Ukraine, where CIA operatives have now arrived to train groups of thugs who in turn have been murdering civilians in the Lughansk and Donetsk regions.
Now, with the decision to launch airstrikes against Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State, Obama gets the US militarily involved in Iraq again, a war he opposed as a senator but that fueled and all ways, shapes and forms as a sitting US President.