After Sunni extremists attacked Christian and Yazidi minority communities in northern Iraq, President Obama is considering ordering US airstrikes against the jihadists or perhaps conducting humanitarian food drops to the distressed and displaced victims.
Iraqi leaders say these “Islamic State” militants have driven about 40,000 Christians from the region and have raided local churches to destroy religious materials and remove crosses. Additionally, thousands of Yazidi, a minority group classified as an ancient pre-Muslim sector, were also forced to flee from Sinjar, their home town. The displaced civilians have been dying in the mountaintops of Mount Sinjar due to lack of food or water in the heat of the sun.
Press secretary, Josh Earnest told the New York Times: “These actions have exacerbated an already dire crisis, and the situation is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe.” He continued, saying the attacks by ISIS “demonstrate a callous disregard for human rights and are deeply disturbing.”
President Obama, who first came to office with plans to end all US military engagements in Iraq by removing all troops from the region has recently begun to send “military advisors” back to Baghdad to help evaluate and quell the growing instability of ISIS against the Shiite government forces.
Obama is currently weighing his options– he may decide to either launch strikes to halt IS attacks or take the humanitarian route to aid displaced civilians. A White House official quotes in the New York Times, that “the president is weighing both passive and active options. There could be a humanitarian catastrophe there.” He continued, implying that military action may be expected “imminently – this could be a fast-moving train.”
Yet Earnest smartly points out in the New York Times that “there are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq. These problems can only be solved with Iraqi political solutions.”
So airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine – what will it be? And how much are US efforts really doing for the tumultuous Iraqi state?
Featured Image Credit: Doug Mills/ The New York Times
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org