American Ezidi Center is launching a Twitter Campaign on September 2, 2014 at 1 pm EST (5pm UTC) to draw attention to kidnapped Ezidi girls who are sold at markets by ISIS, as well as the dire situation of hundreds of thousands displaced Ezidi people that are living in tough conditions.
American Ezidi Center officials says they will announce the the hashtag shortly before the campaign starts.
A first-hand material film on the Yezidis of Iraq, produced by Dr. Eszter Spat from Central European University of Budapest.
This anthropological documentary introduces the Yezidis, a little-known religious Kurdîsh minority of Iraq, and follows the tour of their most sacred object, the Standard of the Peacock through the settlements of Sinjar Mountain, where the traditional way of life and customs are undergoing a fast change, due to the political, economic, and social shifts of the last decades.
EU ministers agreed today to back the arming of beleaguered Iraqi Kurd fighters by key member states, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after three hours of talks. One diplomat said the agreement was “strong and sends the desired political message.” VoR’s Brendan Cole has more.
In the strongest statement of British support for the Iraqi Kurds yet, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said today that the UK would consider any request for British arms from Kurdish forces. Downing Street said no such request has yet been made.
It comes as European Union ministers agreed to helping arm Iraq’s Kurds to halt the relentless advance by Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) militants.
The United States and France have already begun to supply weapons to the Kurds and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised a lack of action by the West.
He said: “The objective is to rebalance the fight, because the terrorists have highly sophisticated weapons that they took from Iraqi forces, and these are weapons of US origin. And so we don’t want to wash our hands of this we want to help the Kurds, the Iraqis, to avoid massacres.”
Amid warnings of a genocide, several European countries as well as the United States have dropped aid to the imperiled Yazidi population which is being targeted by the IS militants.
US President Barack Obama said the US had broken the siege on Mount Sinjar and saved many lives.
Mr Obama said: “The bottom line is the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts. Because of the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people, we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar, we helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives.”
Amid the debate for arming Kurds fighting in Iraq came support from all around the world.
Jabar Hassan is director of the Iraqi Association in London and he believes that arms would be welcomed.
He told VoR: “It does enable the Kurdish forces that can be depended on. What sort of weapons they will get I don’t know, it seems they are in desperate need of air cover and light tanks to defend themselves.”
But there is doubt as to whether simply arming Kurdish forces would be enough to stop ISIS.
Shoshank Joshi is a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. He told VoR: “Depending on the nature of the support the Kurds, receive it could upset the balance between Kirbil and Baghdad.”
“Mission creep is part of the mission”
The West claims it would not contribute to boots on the ground but already there are more than 1,000 US military personnel deployed to Iraq.
But the ability of the West to withdraw from Iraq is of course key.
Joshi said: “To some extent, mission creep is part of the mission. The US has said we are not going to step in and save Iraq until there is political reform. We are now seeing that more inclusive government taking place before our eyes.”
Hopes have grown for a more inclusive Iraqi government after the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki resignedand conceded power to Haider al Abadi.
Washington-based Kurdish affairs analyst Mutlu Civiroglu told VoR: “I am not optimistic, the problem was not Maliki, the problem is one of democracy. The picture is more serious, it is a culture of democracy.”
The Peshmerga fighters currently used dated Soviet weapons and would welcome an influx of hardware and expertise from the west.
Its long term goal however – in addition to seeing off the threat of the Islamic State – could be seen as a desire to strengthen its resources for an independent Kurdistan.
Mutlu Civiroglu told VoR: “The Kurds are trying to create a joint front. As far as Kurdish independence is concerned, Kurds want it, it is no secret, they have the right to demand an independent state. They fear that the Iraqi state is not capable of protecting their interests.”
The offensive by the self-styled Islamic State, has drived an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis from their homes.
The UN has declared the situation in the country a “level three emergency”, its highest level of humanitarian crisis.
As the Islamic State has continued its shocking military advances throughout Syria and Iraq recently, much has been written about its seemingly unstoppable battle capabilities.
But there’s one force that has scored a number of successes against its forces: the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.
Fierce battles are raging between the Islamic State and the Kurds on several fronts extending from the Syrian border town of Rabia to Sinjar and, further south, from Kirkuk to Jalawla. The Sunni militants have been defeating reputable Kurdish peshmergas in some important battles, forcing them to withdraw.
To read the rest of the article, please visit the following link at Vice:
Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death. Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why.
To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city. We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad. We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.
Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain. As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis. And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect. Countless Iraqis have been displaced. And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.
In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives. And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs. They’re without food, they’re without water. People are starving. And children are dying of thirst. Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide. So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice: descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.
I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now. When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.
I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there. Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive. Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.” Well today, America is coming to help. We’re also consulting with other countries — and the United Nations — who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.
I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done. As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.
However, we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to Iraq. So even as we carry out these two missions, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis. Iraqi leaders need to come together and forge a new government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and that can fight back against the threats like ISIL. Iraqis have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and are seeking consensus on a new Prime Minister. This is the progress that needs to continue in order to reverse the momentum of the terrorists who prey on Iraq’s divisions.
Once Iraq has a new government, the United States will work with it and other countries in the region to provide increased support to deal with this humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge. None of Iraq’s neighbors have an interest in this terrible suffering or instability.
And so we’ll continue to work with our friends and allies to help refugees get the shelter and food and water they so desperately need, and to help Iraqis push back against ISIL. The several hundred American advisors that I ordered to Iraq will continue to assess what more we can do to help train, advise and support Iraqi forces going forward. And just as I consulted Congress on the decisions I made today, we will continue to do so going forward.
My fellow Americans, the world is confronted by many challenges. And while America has never been able to right every wrong, America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place. And our leadership is necessary to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend upon. We do so by adhering to a set of core principles. We do whatever is necessary to protect our people. We support our allies when they’re in danger. We lead coalitions of countries to uphold international norms. And we strive to stay true to the fundamental values — the desire to live with basic freedom and dignity — that is common to human beings wherever they are. That’s why people all over the world look to the United States of America to lead. And that’s why we do it.
So let me close by assuring you that there is no decision that I take more seriously than the use of military force. Over the last several years, we have brought the vast majority of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. And I’ve been careful to resist calls to turn time and again to our military, because America has other tools in our arsenal than our military. We can also lead with the power of our diplomacy, our economy, and our ideals.
But when the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action. That’s my responsibility as Commander-in-Chief. And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action. That is our responsibility as Americans. That’s a hallmark of American leadership. That’s who we are.
So tonight, we give thanks to our men and women in uniform — especially our brave pilots and crews over Iraq who are protecting our fellow Americans and saving the lives of so many men, women and children that they will never meet. They represent American leadership at its best. As a nation, we should be proud of them, and of our country’s enduring commitment to uphold our own security and the dignity of our fellow human beings.
God bless our Armed Forces, and God bless the United States of America.
President Obama’s Statement on Iraq
Original link: https://www.takepart.com/video/2014/08/06/isis-ultimatum-kurdish-women-convert-or-be-killed
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