Saturday, August 23, 2014
We did it before and we can do it again.
Because failing to provide any assistance to another minority group in northern Iraq threatened by IS would damage our street cred. This time it is a village of Shiite Turkmen that is in trouble.
Amerli, a Turkmen enclave, has resisted the Islamic State’s sweep into Iraq since June 20, when it was first attacked.One more step into the Big Muddy.
Now out of water and electricity, its residents are pleading for help from the Iraqi and U.S. militaries to end the siege with airstrikes and an assault.
They want the U.S. and Iraqi governments to intervene as forcefully to save them from the extremists as they did to protect thousands of Yazidis who were overrun by militants in the city of Sinjar on Aug. 3.
“All our suffering comes from politics,” bemoaned Abu Ali, questioning why the minority Shiite Turkmen in his city have been left mostly to fend for themselves while others have been rescued.
The Islamic State reached the gates of Amerli on June 20 as it pushed through Salahadin province after seizing the city of Mosul. The Islamic State displaced hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims, whom the extremists regard as infidels, throughout the region.
Amerli was the lone holdout among its neighboring Shiite communities. Residents say the Islamic State now has all of its exit roads blocked, meaning no one can escape the fighting.
Niyazi Mimaroglu, a Turkmen member of Iraq’s Parliament, this week demanded more direct intervention from Western governments. He called their inaction so far “astonishing.”
The city’s 12,000 residents are getting by amid the scorching summer heat with limited medical resources and twice-weekly resupply missions flown by the Iraqi military out of Baghdad.
Even those flights have been interrupted by the Islamic State’s ferocious recent attacks on Amerli, said Michael Knights, a fellow at The Washington Institute who has spent time with Amerli residents and remained in touch with them since the siege began.
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