Guest post by Kristinn Taylor
Yazidi women who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar sit Tuesday at a school where they are taking shelter, in the city of Dohuk in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. (Safin Hamed/WaPo)
Be Captured and Killed, or Risk Dying of Thirst: The Awful Choice Facing the Refugees of Sinjar–
Time Magazine headline, August 6, 2014
On top of the mass executions of Iraqis by ISIS conducted by firearms and beheadings, we can now add death by thirst to the list of atrocities unleashed on Iraq by President Barack Obama’s turning away from the hard won gains by U.S. troops and diplomats under Obama’s predecessor President George W. Bush.
Obama is letting Iraqi children die a horrible death of thirst after their families were driven out of their homes by the bloodthirsty Islamist savages Obama allowed to take over large swaths of Iraq in the past year without any resistance by Obama’s government–there are no reports of direct U.S. aid being given to those trapped on the mountain. Soon death by hunger will set it in.
The New Yorker reported Wednesday the Obama administration is thinking about helping:
“Yesterday, a senior U.S. official told me that the Obama Administration is contemplating an airlift, coördinated with the United Nations, of humanitarian supplies by C-130 transport planes to the Yazidis hiding in the Sinjar mountains. There are at least twenty thousand and perhaps as many as a hundred thousand of them, including some peshmerga militiamen providing a thin cover of protection. The U.N. has reported that dozens of children have died of thirst in the heat. ISIS controls the entrance to the mountains. Iraqi helicopters have dropped some supplies, including food and water, but the refugees are hard to find and hard to reach.”
The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening that between 10,000 and 40,000 Yazidi Iraqis are trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq after being forced from their homes in the town of Sinjar and surrounding areas this past weekend by the Islamist terrorist group ISIS–with some of Iraqis, mainly children, starting to die of thirst. About 147,000 of the areas’ 200,000 residents are reported to have fled to Kurdish controlled areas. The article says those trapped on the mountain “are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.”
The article goes on to report:
“Most of those stranded on Mount Sinjar had run out of battery life on their cellphones by Tuesday, but the few that still could communicate gave grim updates.
“On Tuesday, 10 children and one elderly woman died, while on Monday, seven children had perished, said 23-year-old Shihab Balki, who was trapped with his mother, sister and four brothers. “I saw their bodies with my own eyes.”
“He later texted the news of another casualty: a young man who had died of thirst, leaving his wife and five children behind. UNICEF said that 40 children had died after being displaced from their homes in the area in the 48 hours ending Monday night, including an unknown number on the mountain. The agency did not have figures for Tuesday.”
The Post article says the Iraqi government tried Monday to deliver water bottles to those stranded on the mountain but without much success, while AFP reports Iraq tried again on Tuesday. The UN is also reported to have offered help delivering water but has thus far not received a response from the Iraq government. Neither article mentions any direct U.S. efforts.
The AFP report Tuesday quoted UNICEF on the crisis in Sinjar on the number of children at risk:
“Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including drinking water and sanitation services,” UNICEF said.”
The AFP article also quotes a Yazidi Iraqi MP:
“Over the past 48 hours, 30,000 families have been besieged in the Sinjar mountains, with no water and no food,” said Vian Dakhil.
“”Seventy children have already died of thirst and 30 elderly people have also died,” she said.
“Dakhil said 500 Yazidi men were killed by IS militants since they took over the town of Sinjar and surrounding villages on Sunday. Their women were enslaved as “war booty”, she said.
“”We are being slaughtered, our entire religion is being wiped off the face of the earth. I am begging you, in the name of humanity.””
On Sunday the State Department issued a statement expressing the Obama administration’s concerns on Sinjar being overrun by ISIS:
“We further call on all Iraqi leaders to move swiftly pursuant to their constitutional timeline to form a new government that can help pull the country together and harness national resources against this common enemy.”
As of this writing, there are no readily available reports of direct U.S. aid for the Iraqi children and families dying of thirst and hunger on Mount Sinjar.
UPDATE: The US State Department sidestepped the genocide in Iraq during questioning today.
Business Insider reported:
So far, the U.S. has been unwilling to arm the Kurds for fear that such an action may lead to a further dissolution of a fracturing Iraqi state. In a State Department briefing on Monday, Spokesperson Jen Psaki sidestepped any questions regarding further U.S. military assistance to the Kurds.
Psaki said that the White House was monitoring the situation closely and that “facilitating cooperation and direct assistant between Baghdad and Erbil” was a part of the White House’s focus.