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article imageOp-Ed: First they came for the Christians and Yazidi's

By Paul Iddon     Aug 5, 2014 in Politics
We should not only care about the plight of the Yazidi community in Northern Iraq, we should be doing our utmost to ensure it does not perish.
Over the course of the past few days over 200,000 members of the Yazidi community were displaced in north of Iraq. Yet another gift from ISIS of tens-of-thousands of displaced people fleeing in terror and yet another minority belonging to an age-old community in Northern Iraq uprooted. Just like that. Given how fast news cycles and attention spans last these days watching it from afar almost felt like it all happened within the blink of an eye.
Now the Iraqi Kurds are likely going to have to endure another large humanitarian crisis given the fact their homeland is in the vicinity of this ongoing crisis. A people who have taken in tens-of-thousands of refugees already as their autonomous region begins to resemble more and more an island with a vicious storm to its west (the region also borders Syria where many refugees have come looking for shelter from the war in their country which is getting even worse) which threatens to tear it apart if it doesn't adequately protect itself from severe destabilization. It's important to remember that one of the reasons the president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq is so frustrated with Baghdad is that it failed miserably in June to halt the ISIS advance leaving the Peshmerga Kurdish paramilitary forces as the only capable force that stopped them overrunning Kirkuk shortly after their June takeover of Iraq's second city Mosul.
In the desolate mountains of Northern Iraq we're seeing tens-of-thousands of people with little more than the belongings they can carry on foot struggling to survive. One, albeit very mildly, reassuring aspect when one compares these images to what we saw during Saddam Hussein's vicious and genocidal “Al-Anfal” campaign in the 1980's is that the Iraqi helicopters flying over these displaced people fleeing into the mountain are dropping supplies for them to help them survive, exposed as they are out in the open, as opposed to dropping bombs on them or gunning them down in droves from the air.
Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi lawmakers, deserves international attention. She could not help but to break into tears when she assessed the situation of her people when she pointed out that in a mere 48 hour period, “30,000 families have been besieged in the Sinjar mountains, with no water and no food. Seventy children have already died of thirst and 30 elderly people have also died.”
In addition to this we're seeing ISIS militants killing hundreds of Yazidi men who remained in Sinjar. Their wives, daughters and sisters Dakhil informs us have been taken by these fighters as “war booty.”
Relatively insignificant action on the part of the international community in relation to substantially aiding Iraq (the U.S. is reluctant about giving substantial support to the Iraqi government so long as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki remains in power) and/or the Kurds in order to help them combat this group will only serve to further enable this Islamist juggernaut when it comes to tearing more of Iraq apart, exploiting, massacring and torturing the weak, vulnerable and undefended communities forcing them into exile and as a result likely into a life of poverty.
The Kurds are spilling their blood and bravely fighting this enemy head-on. Convulsed by inner political squabbling and infighting the Iraqi government and state has been scandalously slow in addressing this threat to its stability and the safety of its minorities.
This cannot be stressed enough, Iraq itself as a political entity isn't all that is at stake here. The rights of minorities in Iraq and the wider Middle East is also what is at stake here. If Iraq is allowed to stand as a state whereby Islamists who destroy and plunder the communities of minorities and massacre the adherents of other monotheism's, or even branches of Islam they despise, ISIS will only garner more and more strength and their affiliates in other regions will be inspired and will start to believe their creed and world view has been vindicated. And their belief that the so-called international community is essentially indecisive and weak at its core when it comes to taking a stand against direct threats to the principles of equality and human rights which it upholds may even have a hint of truth to it.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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