Anyone to stop the Islamic State’s terror?
Have you watched the video of the desperate cry of Feyyan Dahil? She is a member of the Iraqi Parliament. Without even taking the stand during a parliamentary session on Aug. 5, she started to cry from the rear rows of the hall which caused everyone to stop and listen to her in an equal desperation.
She was trying to get the voice of her people heard by the Iraqi Parliament and the world. Dahil is a Yazidi (or Ezidi), one of the believers of an ancient religion that is linked to Zoroastrianism. Their native lands are the Kurdish northern sectors of Iraq and Turkey’s southeast; but there are equally big communities living in European countries who fled decades of religious oppression.
But this time the disaster as Dahil cries out is nothing like before: “We are being killed because of our religion,” Dahil said. “Five hundred of our men have been slaughtered,” she said, but was unable to complete her sentence because she burst into tears. She was also unable to say that 500 Yazidi women have been taken as “concubines,” an indirect way saying that they could be raped by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), or in its shorter version, the Islamic State (IS).
The dimension of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq (and Syria) caused by the IS is not limited to what has been done to the Yazidis. After Shiite Arabs and Kurds, the Turkmens (Turkomans) of Iraq are under heavy attack by the IS. The Islamist militants are pushing the mostly Kurds and Arabs of Sinjar north of Mosul, which they captured back in June, and mostly Turkmens in Tal Afar (east of Sinjar) toward the Turkish border in the north. Those who escape from the onslaught of the IS have to keep running away because the searing, 50-degree August heat of Iraq can quickly result in death given that the refugees do not have sufficient food or, more importantly, water; there are reports of children dying on their way because of that.
Turkmens have turned their face to Turkey for more help. There are preparations to set up refugee camps for them, but Turkmens expect more than that. Author Ali Kerküklü of the Turkmen Union urged Turkey in a written statement yesterday to work more to stop IS “massacres against Turkmens.”
On the other hand, the IS is holding 49 Turkish citizens (as officially announced), including Öztürk Yılmaz, Turkey’s consul general in Mosul, as captives since June 13 when they raided and seized the consular building. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan says he is doing everything to set them free, and whenever opposition leaders ask questions about the captives’ fates, he accuses them of jeopardizing the lives of the hostages as the country heads for the first round of presidential elections on Aug. 10 with Erdoğan the leading candidate. Addressing the Turkmens of Turkey yesterday, he did not touch on the IS attacks on Turkmens or Kurds in Iraq, but praised his government’s contributions for the restoration of Orhun monuments in Mongolia which is considered as the oldest joint area of Turkic cultural heritage.
In Iraq on the other hand, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has given the order to his military to support the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) against the IS, as the IS advance is now as close as 40 kilometers to Arbil, the capital of the KRG. The forces of the Turkey-origin outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq and Syria are helping the KRG forces against the IS.
The West, especially the U.S., which has responsibility for the current situation in Iraq, has to see the humanitarian crisis ongoing in Iraq and Syria and has to do something to stop the IS’ terror.