In a televised late-night statement from the White House yesterday August 7th, US president BarackObama said he has authorized US airstrikes in Northern Iraq to defend hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims being hunted down and slaughtered by ISIS, the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State. This is coming weeks after American military planes carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to thousands of Iraqi Yazidis surrounded by ISIS militants and desperately in need of food and water.
ISIS has been ruthlessly hunting and slaughtering members of the ancient Yazidi religion, a faith derived from Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, who ISIS have denounced as devil-worshipers on account of their ancient set of beliefs. Pictured left is an ISIS fighter posing next to the body of Yazidi. Pictured right Yazidi on Mount Sinjar carry the bodies of children killed by ISIS
Thousands of Iraqi Christians have also fled their homes after the ISIS hoard seized Qaraqush, Iraq’s largest Christian town, and several others near Mosul following the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
Obama’s dramatic call to arms came as the chaos engulfing Iraq escalated rapidly last night with a re-energised Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant storming towns in the north, executing villagers and chasing thousands from their homes into the desert.
Up to 50,000 terrified Yazidis – half of them children – have sought refuge from the bloodshed in the surrounding mountains. But there they face another killer: searing desert heat and the constant threat of starvation.
Many have already died of hunger and thirst as they struggle to survive on just the food they could carry in temperatures exceeding 42C.
Photographs have emerged of Yazidi men carrying the bodies of dozens of young children apparently killed by ISIS militants, who in turn have posted pictures online of themselves posing next to dead Yazidi men.
The dead men’s wives were reportedly kept as trophies to be gifted to unmarried jihadist fighters.
Last night Obama said American warplanes had already carried out airdrops of food and water to the Iraqi Yazidis hiding in the mountains. He said the humanitarian airdrops were made at the request of the Iraqi government. He also said it’s time to do more to help the thousands trapped on the mountain.
‘Today America is coming to help,’ he declared, adding: ‘The United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now: when we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help . . . and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.’
The Pentagon later revealed that the airdrops of food and water were performed by one C-17 and two C-130 cargo aircraft that together delivered a total of 72 bundles of food and water. They were escorted by two F/A-18 fighters from an undisclosed air base in the region.
The planes delivered 5,300 gallons of fresh drinking water and 8,000 pre-packaged meals and were over the drop area for less than 15 minutes at a low altitude.
The UK also said they are looking at how to assist in Iraq as the world should never just watch and do nothing while a minority group is being slaughtered.
Source: UK Daily Mail