Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Yazidi tragedy in Iraq

In contrast to the case of the Christians, which is more an expulsion, what is happening now to the Yazidis clearly has genocidal features. Other minorities like the Shabak might be next.

One of the best overviews comes from Matthew Barber (also read his piece on the expulsion of Mosul's Christians) for Syria Comment:

Some round-up:

In a major defeat for Kurdish forces the Iraqi town of Sinjar was captured Sunday by the group known as ISIS, now calling itself the Islamic State. This is the Kurds first major loss to ISIS and a catastrophe for the religious minorities who had taken refuge in the area and are now at imminent risk of being slaughtered.
Reports from the region describe an unfolding tragedy with young women being abducted, religious monuments destroyed, and the ISIS flag now hanging over government buildings.
Without Western champions and sympathizers, the non-Christian religious minorities of Nineveh province are being slowly exterminated, driven off, or forced into hiding.
The Sinjar mountain area is a ring of villages and one of the few true homes for the Yezidi people. The Yezidi’s ancient faith, which combines elements of Christianity, Sufi Islam, and Zoroastrianism, is considered heretical by ISIS and puts them at great risk. Of the 300,000 who live in this district, most have left in the last 24 hours and the rest are desperately trying to find a way out with aid organizations in Iraq saying that a humanitarian disaster of epic scale is currently unfolding. (...)
Sinjar holds strategic importance to ISIS because it’s a border town that gives the group a direct line of attack against the Kurdish forces it is currently fighting in Syria. Caught in the middle of this struggle are the minority communities of Ninewa province: The Turkmen, The Shabak, The Christians, the Shia, The Kaka'i and, in the case of Sinjar, the Yezidis. (...)
Iraqi Yazidis stranded on isolated mountaintop begin to die of thirst 
by Loveday Morris, The Washington Post
Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis 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.
Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.
Unable to dig deep into the rocky mountainside, displaced families said they have buried young and elderly victims of the harsh conditions in shallow graves, their bodies covered with stones. Iraqi government planes attempted to airdrop bottled water to the mountain on Monday night but reached few of those marooned.
“There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads,” said Marzio Babille, the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.” (...)
Babille, UNICEF’s Iraq representative, said that U.N. agencies have offered the Iraqi government technical assistance with airdrops but have yet to be asked for help. At least 15 to 20 flights would be needed just to provide those stranded with enough water and supplies to survive for a week, he said.
“We need to get them out,” he said. “If we don’t, it would be catastrophic.
A good piece in German, which also briefly introduces main features of the Yazidi religion: 


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