Amid heightened pressure from the new media concerning the continued march of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, and the perilous conditions under which Iraq’s religious minorities are living, President Obama and the Pentagon are considering airstrikes against IS and humanitarian aid for “as many as 40,000 religious minorities… dying of heat and thirst” on Mount Sinjar.
On August 5 Breitbart News reported that IS had advanced to Sinjar and published photographs graphically illustrating the slaughter of members of the Yazidi minority population killed during the advance. These included photographs of the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar dying “of hunger and dehydration” while IS closes on them.
The Yazidis’ religion contains elements found in both Christianity and Islam, but IS considers them “devil worshippers.”
According to The New York Times, “a senior administration official” said Obama “[met] with his National Security team at the White House” on August 7 to discuss “a series of options ranging from dropping humanitarian supplies on Mount Sinjar to military strikes on the fighters from ISIS [who] are now at the base of the mountain.”
Prior to August 7, Obama and the Pentagon refused to act on behalf of the persecuted religious minorities or discuss the use of airstrikes against IS, stating instead that they were waiting “until Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki stepped down.”
IS has marched unabated through northern Iraq since capturing Mosul on June 10, displacing hundreds of thousands of Christians along the way.
Now administration officials admit “there could be a humanitarian catastrophe” on Mount Sinjar and suggest a decision on airstrikes against IS and humanitarian aid for religious minorities is imminent.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.