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article imageOp-Ed: Pres. Obama too little too late in Iraq; minorities routed

By Larry Clifton     Aug 8, 2014 in Politics
Baghdad - After U.S. Pres. Barack Obama finally made up his mind to order air strikes in Iraq, skilled American pilots began picking off jihadists in the northern sector of the country.
Unfortunately, as in the current U.S. border crisis, the administration has acted far too late and with minimal affect on the overall situation on the ground in Iraq. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama has been dragged into the Iraq civil war and he will be judged on his actions going forward, just like he judged his predecessor.
In recent months, Islamic State group has besieged Iraq, taking control of towns and cities including Mosul, the second-largest city in the country and major Iraqi military installations. Essentially, the fragile democracy the U.S. and coalition troops planted in Iraq is being crushed by Islamic militants battled hardened from the Syrian war next door.
The U.S. airstrikes came too late to help hundreds of young Yazidi women reportedly being held captive by Sunni militants in Mosul schools. Kamil Amin, the spokesman for Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, says the women, who are mostly below the age of 35, are in grave danger, adding the ministry heard about the hundreds of young female captives directly from their families.
The women are of the Yazidi religious minority and are being held by Sunni militants with "vicious plans," an Iraqi official said Friday. The Islamic State is fighting to claim a huge stake of territory from Syria and Iraq under caliphate.
To date, ISIS forces have shown surprising strength crashing through Iraqi government defenses as Iraqi soldiers fled their posts, turning armored vehicles, Humvees, howitzers and other American-issued equipment over to militants. The Islamic extremist group has also captured two of the largest dams in Iraq, giving them control over the vital commodity of water.
The U.S. has confirmed that the Islamic State group has seized and imprisoned Yazidi women who they plan to sell as sex slaves or force to marry extremist fighters, according to an American official who spoke anonymously. The leak is reportedly from classified intelligence reports.
About 50,000 Yazidis — about 50 percent children - fled to the mountains outside Sinjar where many remain. Sources say the victims are cornered there, unable to return home and running out of food and water. Late Thursday, the U.S. military cargo jets dropped humanitarian aid in the mountains, however, reports were sketchy regarding its distribution.
Mr. Obama, who waged a campaign against the Bush administration over the Iraqi War, now finds himself the commander-in-chief overseeing air combat operations in Iraq. However, in Mr. Obama’s case, U.S. air power is only being used to nibble around the edges of a violent civil war that Iraqi government troops seem ill-prepared to contain, let alone win.
On Tuesday, Yazidi lawmaker Vian Dakheel made an emotional plea in parliament to the Iraqi government to save the Yazidi people, saying the "women have been sold in a slavery market."
Nevertheless, with the Islamic State group in control of major cities and towns, it would likely take a major ground war to rout them since they blend into the population, then come out to fight when Iraqi and allied jets are not around.
The civil war in Iraq is largely being waged by Jihadists, the Islamic State group and the Kurds in the north - all against a weak, undisiplined Iraqi military.
Politically, whether Mr. Obama accepts any responsibility for what’s going on in Iraq or not, he has been the U.S. commander-in-chief for nearly 6 years and whatever happens in Iraq will have happened on his watch and will become part of his presidential legacy.
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
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