Monday, August 11, 2014

The Sheer Horror of ISIS in Iraq As They Slaughter Yazidis

The lunatic terrorists of ISIS on the march in Iraq
Anyone who has been an observer of the Middle East for many years becomes used to seeing some nasty things and unsavory groups. Sadly, this is not a region where human rights seems to be a priority. Nevertheless, the horrors that we have seen in Iraq the last few days are still beyond belief.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - ISIS  - has been wreaking havoc across northern Iraq. IS remember is a group that is too extreme even for al-Qaeda, and IS have become known for perpetrating the worst kinds of atrocities on both civilians and especially upon captured enemy fighters and Shia Muslims and Christians in particular. . The group adheres to an austere - dare I even say medieval view of Islam - and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. 

ISIS now controls large swathes of territory across both Northeast Syria as well as much of Northern and Western Iraq. ISIS is now threatening both Baghdad, as well as the autonomous Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. ISIS has even captured Iraq's largest dam - the Mosul Dam - and could if they choose decide to flood much of the countryside - it has been estimated that if ISIS decided to blow the dam up and release the water Mosul would be buried under 65 feet of water and even Baghdad would be under 10-15. Hundreds of thousands would surely die. Below is a map showing the approximate amount of territory ISIS controls:
Territory: The above map shows the areas of Iraq and Syria currently controlled by Isis forces
Territory controlled by ISIS
Currently, ISIS has captured the town of Sinjar in Northern Iraq, which is where much of the population of the Yazidi sect live (to learn more, read this entitled Who are the Yazidis and What are Their Beliefs?). To escape ISIS, tens and thousands of Yazidis fled Sinjar, and thousands are now trapped on a nearby mountain where hundreds have been dying from thirst and starvation. This is not the worst of it though. ISIS has been indiscriminately killing the Yazidis, and recently buried 500 Yazidis in a mass grave - with many of the victims still alive. The sheer horror of this is almost beyond the human imagination to comprehend.

As an American, I was quite happy to see the US finally depart Iraq in 2011 and leave the country to sort out its own affairs. Now, however, I am thrilled that the US has decided to launch airstrikes against ISIS to try to turn the tide against the jihadists, as well as to work with the Kurds to save as many of the trapped Yazidis as possible. 

If you want to read the latest on the suffering of the Yazidis, ABC News has an excellent article and overview here. It is gut-wrenching to read, and a testament of man's capacity for sheer evil and brutality.

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