The Yazidis Are Not Getting Support

The Yazidis Are Not Getting Support

by Matthew BarberMatthew Barber 3

with a translated statement from the Yazidi Prince, Mir Tahsin Beg

 

When the Islamic State attacked Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain range—home to the largest population of the Yazidi minority—on August 3, they arrived in only a few convoys, estimated to be carrying around 1,000 jihadist fighters. According to a new, private report by an Iraqi with military knowledge (yes, it will become public, hopefully soon), the mountain had a defense force consisting of 16,000 Kurdish Peshmerga and the 11th brigade of the 3rd division of the Iraqi army—led by a Kurdish general. None of the military leaders responsible for defending Sinjar were Yazidis, despite the mountain having a Yazidi majority population estimated at over 84%.

Yezidi Protection Forces

A Yazidi member of the Sinjar Protection Forces poses with a child whose family never left Sinjar. The family hid until local Yazidi defenders reached them and now remain under their protection.

Though vastly outnumbering the attacking jihadists—and maintaining the high-ground advantage—the Peshmerga defenders fled the IS attack without a fight. In mid-August, Christine van den Toorn documented this ignoble abandonment of perhaps the Middle East’s most vulnerable minority group, but only now are we getting a sense of the numbers of Peshmerga who could have successfully defended them and prevented the displacement of several hundred thousand people.

Though as many as 16,000 Peshmerga fled the IS attack on Sinjar—supposedly for not having adequate defenses against the more up-to-date weaponry of the vastly smaller IS force—a group of just 3,000-4,000 local Yazidis with no support has continued to defend a few parts of Sinjar until this very day—embattled but remaining unconquered by the jihadists.

Theories that verge on the conspiratorial circulate among Yazidis who believe the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) threw them under the bus in order to elicit greater US military support. Yazidis see Sinjar—an outlying area not contiguous with the three governorates that make up Kurdistan Province—as a sacrifice made by the KRG for longer-term political goals. Perhaps simple cowardice is a better explanation, though one that runs against the grain of the lionized Peshmerga’s popular reputation.

Regardless of why the Peshmerga forces didn’t remain to defend Sinjar against IS for even one day, all of the claims—by Kurds and Iraqis alike—that it would be soon retaken have failed to materialize. Even after two months of US airstrikes in Iraq, IS still maintains control of almost every area that they took from Iraq and Kurdistan, including Sinjar, Tel Afar, and the Yazidi and Christian towns of the Nineveh Plain near Mosul.

Kurds finally captured Rabia from IS this past week, but were unable to continue to Sinjar, and their offensive prompted severe retaliatory attacks from IS that continue today—against Yazidi targets in Sinjar.

One would expect that the US airstrikes would be conducted in coordination with Kurdish ground forces in order to retake important Yazidi homelands—especially since the refugee crisis is choking the Dohuk governorate so badly that schools cannot open, their classroom floors being the new homes for thousands of expelled Yazidi families. But the particular IS bases on and near Sinjar that Yazidis have repeatedly requested be targeted by US airstrikes remain untouched.

Yazidis have given up all confidence in the KRG, most now self-referring as “Yazidi, not Kurdish.” With almost no arms/munitions support from the Iraqi or Kurdish governments, local Yazidi defenders in Sinjar (calling themselves the Sinjar Protection Forces) are trying to stave off IS attacks into the few areas unconquered by the jihadis. Thousands of kidnapped women being held in locations near the mountain—whose presence is confirmed by the UN and whom Yazidi volunteers are keeping track of—could be liberated by the Yazidi Sinjar Protection Forces, if they could just get US airstrikes to hit the IS bases and provide cover for the fleeing women.

I’ve written and spoken on international media about this problem as have many journalists and others (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). Yazidi representatives have begged the State Department and Department of Defense to work directly with local Yazidi defenders in Sinjar. Instead, a pattern of sporadic and occasional US airstrikes continues in Iraq, more than two months since IS began a genocidal campaign of forced conversions, massacres, and sexual enslavement.

Less than one airstrike per day is occurring on IS targets in Sinjar.

 

A statement from the Prince—the highest figure of Yazidi leadership

The Yazidi plight has become so dire that it has shaken the Yazidi Mir, or Prince—the spiritual leader of the community—from his usual sleepy state of towing the Kurdish political line. Mir Tahsin Beg has issued the following statement in Arabic, which we have translated into English, below:

 

An Urgent Call to the Iraqi Government of Baghdad and the Kurdish Government of Erbil

Since the 3rd of August our Yazidi people have been exposed to the fiercest campaign of genocide [that they’ve experienced] in this century which has taken the lives of more than 5,000 innocent people through the violence of the Da’esh [Islamic State] terrorist organization. More than 7,000 have been kidnapped—mostly women & children—and around 350,000 are now displaced and expelled into the Kurdistan Region, Syria, Turkey, and other countries, and living in very poor conditions, without access to the minimum requirements for basic human needs.

Despite the passing of more than two months of the Yazidi tragedy, and the IS occupation of Sinjar and other Yazidi areas such as Ba’shiqa and Bahzany, and the presence of a Yazidi resistance defending with a patriotic spirit the very existence of the Yazidis—which is simultaneously a defense of the existence of Iraq, of an integral part of Iraq, and its people, honor, and dignity—until now we haven’t seen any serious attempt to support this resistance in order to free Sinjar and other Yazidi areas, and to save those that can be saved from among the kidnapped and expelled Yazidis who are headed for an unknown destination, without the slightest concern of the central [Iraqi] and regional [Kurdistan] governments, as though the Yazidis were part of neither Iraq nor Kurdistan.

In the face of this horrific and catastrophic situation, we are filled with surprise at the Iraqi and Kurdish Regional Governments’ ignoring of our Yazidi tragedy as though this tragedy is not an Iraqi one.

A few days ago, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces announced the beginning of a battle liberate Sinjar via Rabia in coordination with Iraqi forces and with the support of coalition airstrikes led by the U.S., but these forces have not achieved as great an advance as had been expected. This has prompted the IS forces to start fierce attacks on more than one front in Sinjar to tighten the noose on the Sinjar Protection Forces [local Yazidi volunteer defenders] by closing in on them from all sides.

We call on officials of the central and regional governments to bear responsibility—national, political, humanitarian, and moral—for the deterioration of the Sinjar situation and the consequences of it. We urge them to carry out their national duties to our besieged people in the Sinjar mountains, ask them to support the Sinjar Protection Forces logistically and militarily, and to facilitate the prompt delivery of weapons, equipment, and supplies—immediately.

—Prince Tahsin Sa’eed Ali, Head of the Yazidi High Spiritual Council of Iraq and the World

 

Comments (21)


1. ghufran said:

Kurds in general and Kurds in Syria in particular are being left to fend for themselves because Erdogan and his mafia do not want to accept a Kurdish state or even a semi state, and NATO’s airstrikes, as we stated here, are doing very little to halt ISIS advances, so NATO is not doing the job and they refuse to arm the Kurds or work with the Syrian army, the result will not be pretty, remember that empty pride produces empty pockets, and that a dog’s tail, Erdogan as a prime example, will retain its curve even if you try to mold it.

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October 5th, 2014, 10:32 pm

 

2. ALAN said:

1. GHUFRAN
Bravo,
All Kurds will feel indignant on Turkey and America all over the world and can shift to fight the Turks in the depth of Turkish cities.

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October 6th, 2014, 2:32 am

 

3. Norman said:

I don’t know how many people read this blog or any others that give a different face to what is taking place in the M.E. today, beside the Washington P.R. washed M.S.M., nor do I believe it would really make any change in policy at the U.S./NATO command. Collateral damage, the name of the game, unless the powers to be and their sycophantic followers were made to wear the uniform and actually put their own “boots” on the ground. Wishful thinking, just like the present situation of arming another new group of “freedom fighters”= another group that ends up hating the U.S. To paraphrase Bush Jr., “way to go “O”.

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October 6th, 2014, 7:14 am

 

4. Alan said:

We have the worst military record in modern history; to have been “at war” for over fifty years and still we have not won anything except more corporate contracts, more terror, more torture and more genocidal slaughter worldwide.
The only thing we’ve “earned” is the global-title of the most hated nation on earth, along with that shitty little place that owns us outright which is Israel. Together these outlaw ‘nations’ have turned everywhere they appear into nothing but rubble torture and death: But this too is coming to an end, because there’s nothing left to be destroyed except those that have designed it all.
The same kinds of tactics are about to go into practice inside Ukraine as well with the same outlaws taking advantage of that war-ravaged nation-state to obtain what was always the point: Which was to set up a hostile US, UN, NATO-Israeli force on the border of Russia.
What’s different this time is that Turkey is a NATO member-state. This means that any force which resists this no-fly-zone will in effect be attacking NATO directly. The US has tried everything many times over for the last three years to bring Syria to her knees. For that entire period of time NATO, the UN, USI and Israel have been consistently losing for the last three years. This is just the latest chapter to force Regime Change on Syria which will hand that country over to Israel, unless Syria, Iran and Russia do something strategically rare to stop this war before the No-Fly Zones can be embedded …..
Excellent article , must read…
http://www.rense.com/general96/worldbeneath.html

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October 6th, 2014, 7:21 am

 

5. Syrialover said:

This is important information from MATTHEW.

Those who care should send this to relevant politicians, agencies and media.

It was the plight of the Yazidi that sparked wider awareness and concern about what is happening in Iraq.

Now they seem forgotten, victims of the fast moving news cycle.

The spotlight needs to be put back on them. Urgently

I don’t really get what is happening with the air strikes.

I thought the mission was to stop further stampedes of refugees and defend those who are under siege.

The rotten weak link, underminer and obstacle in this exercise is going to be the “government” in Baghdad.

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October 6th, 2014, 9:33 am

 

6. Syrialover said:

Article: “Isil’s reign of terror rooted in the political culture of Iraq and Syria”

Isil’s extreme cruelty and filmic savagery has shocked the world, but it is not very different from what leaders of Iraq and Syria have been doing to local people for decades

EXCERPT

“… the idea that politics is not just occasionally violent, but requires of its essence demonstrative violence, long predates 2003.

“The modern Iraqi state is founded upon it. When the royal family, imposed by the British Empire in its dying days, was overthrown by a coup in 1958, the prime minister was not only shot dead with the king.

“His corpse was dragged through the streets of Baghdad, publicly hanged and then burned.

“The fate of the coup leader, Abdul Karim Qasem, when he was in turn overthrown five years later, is even more reminiscent of Isil’s approach to the media. He was shot on live television, and the state network’s camera rested on his bloodied corpse for the rest of the day, army officers occasionally intruding to insert a knife to prove his death for the viewer.

“The lawlessness, in other words, is not just a product of the absence of a state, but written into the state. In Syria next door, ordinary people routinely tell stories of similarly pointless horrors, that served some political purpose while having little apparent rationality, from long before the civil war.

“One Christian friend describes watching, as a child, her nine-year-old playmate next door being lined up against a wall and executed, after the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in 1982.

“Another describes how a secret school truant smoking session in a Damascus cemetery was broken up by police who wrongly thought the teenagers were drug dealers. One boy disappeared, arriving home without his finger nails a few days later.

“These are just stories plucked at random.

“In war, everything escalates. The same regime that did these “small”, local crimes then began mutilating corpses of teenagers who opposed it. In 2011 one 13-year-old boy was sent home without his penis. From then on, anything was possible, impunity was written into the code of conduct. Impunity’s apotheosis was the attack by a regime militia on the town of Baniyas, where among the 400 victims, many of them children with their throats cut, was a pregnant woman whose body had been cut out so her foetus could be killed too.

“Like Isil, the militia’s leader boasted publicly for the camera of what he was about to do.

“These victims were, in the nature of the war, Sunni. The need to see your enemy kneel and die in a pool of blood is common to both extremes.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11141332/Isils-reign-of-terror-rooted-in-the-political-culture-of-Iraq-and-Syria.html

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October 6th, 2014, 9:41 am

 

7. ALAN said:

Let all commentators here hear us that we will not hesitate to turn the world upside down against Turkey and the United States complicit with it in all countries of the world and no one will be able to stop us. Stop this barbaric tide into Kurdish territory and stop an empty rhetoric

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October 6th, 2014, 3:57 pm

 

8. Mick said:

Of course no one cares. Just like ‘Ayn al ‘Arab. No one cares. We could help if we gave a damn. We don’t. The corporations funding the think tanks that makes the decisions for the Western nations don’t care. All the talk of caring about and helping people is kalaam fadi.

You should know that by now.

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October 6th, 2014, 11:24 pm

 

9. Hopeful said:

Can a loyalist explain to me where the national Syrian army is when another city is about to fall into the hands of terrorists (and everyone agrees here these are terrorists).

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October 8th, 2014, 4:35 am

 

10. Alan said:

Hopeful

متى سيتوقف العرب عن خيانة بعضهم بعضا ؟

Glory for brave Syrian Arab National army. Long live Syria.

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October 8th, 2014, 8:31 am

 

11. Sami said:

I don’t know what brave is in Russian but barrel bombing civilians, gassing them, and massacring them in English is the very definition of cowardice.

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October 8th, 2014, 2:10 pm

 

12. Alan said:

Sami!
عدد لي من فضلك انواع الذرائع التي لجات بموجبها الولايات المتحدة الى الاطاحة بالعديد من الانظمة في دول مختلفة خلال الخمسين سنة الاخيرة
كم نوع من تلك الذرائع استخدم في الحالة السورية؟
لماذا صرح كيري بان سياسة اوباما فشلت في سورية؟
يمكنكم الاسهاب في التحدث عن مواضيع فشل سياسة اوباما في سوريا اذا كان هذا الوضوع يخفف من خيبة املكم!

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October 8th, 2014, 5:49 pm

 

13. ALAN said:

Peters Blasts ‘Fraudulent, Pretend Effort’ Against ISIS As Terror Group Raises Black Flag Over Kobani
http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/10/06/peters-blasts-fraudulent-pretend-effort-against-isis-terror-group-raises-black-flag-over

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October 8th, 2014, 6:16 pm

 

14. ALAN said:

Syria is Still The Main Target

Whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former employee at US National Security Agency,revealedthat US, UK and Israeli intelligence worked together to create ISIS. In her book “Hard Choices” former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, confessed that the American administration created ISIS, whose primary goal was the destruction of the Arab World. ISIS leader, reported by western media as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is actually an Israeli Mossad agent with the name of Elliott Shimon.
http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2014/10/syria-still-main-target/
*******************************
What they are not saying is that Syria disclosed them now. And even the UN is admitting there are no chemical weapons at these facilities. The US is desperate to trick the world into a war on Assad.
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/07/world/meast/syria-chemical-weapons/index.html?hpt=wo_c2
******************************
Is the dollar will come back and Obama will say ground forces will be needed in Syria?
Pentagon to Brief Obama on Grim Battle Against Jihadists
(Spiral trek)
more and more bla bla and once againe blablabla
more and more lie!
We will not tolerate that. Any armed enters our land is a legitimate target for us, we will fight you!
http://time.com/3481975/obama-isis-pentagon/

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October 8th, 2014, 7:16 pm

 

15. Syrialover said:

Turkey wants Assad (not just ISIS) stopped from attacking Syrians and destroying Syria.

They also want a safe haven and No Fly Zone to protect Syrians.

They have consistently pushed for these things for years.

What’s so wrong with that?

ALAN and GHUFRAN, maybe you would like to explain.

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October 8th, 2014, 11:18 pm

 

16. Syrialover said:

ALAN I know you worry about imagined troubles for the US dollar, but you should also care about Putin-land.

I see the IMF has now slashed Russia’s miserable growth prospects further to 0.5% because of “geopolitical tensions” (translation: Putin’s trouble-making in Ukraine and poor relations with the rest of the world).

The Moscow Times tells us so – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/imf-halves-russia-forecast/508222.html

Don’t forget that Russia’s economy is already smaller than that of the UK.

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October 8th, 2014, 11:50 pm

 

17. ALAN said:

COMBATING THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE IN SYRIA
http://cindysheehanssoapbox.com/12/post/2014/10/combating-the-propaganda-machine-in-syria.html
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
America does not want to deliver the subject of the Kurdish issue to Turkey and It is not allowed for Erdogan to violate this map: http://i0.wp.com/www.timesofpol.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/1403108797834.jpg?resize=940%2C392
http://www.timesofpol.com/the-yinon-plan-greater-israel-syria-iraq-and-isis-the-connection/

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October 9th, 2014, 2:11 am

 

18. Syrialover said:

Dear ALAN,

Always when intelligent decent people like HOPEFUL and SAMI make rational comments you rush to throw at them some old rubbish from the Conspiracy Gazette (the cheapest, silliest edition).

You never respond to what they actually say. Only panic and dump more garbage about nothing.

You act ridiculous and way out of your depth here. If you are going to keep flooding this site, please upgrade your team.

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October 9th, 2014, 2:50 am

 

19. ALAN said:

15. SYRIALOVER
/ALAN and GHUFRAN, maybe you would like to explain./
18. SYRIALOVER
/You never respond to what they actually say. Only panic and dump more garbage about nothing./

Are you friends with the head? if i dump more garbage about nothing and if i rush to throw some old rubbish from the Conspiracy Gazette (the cheapest, silliest edition), and if i am going to keep flooding this site, then why you ask me the opinion?
I advise you not to be a lawyer for my intellectual interlocutors, they did not ask you for it! and do not show as whether you are the owner of this site.

By the way: for the last time I repeat for you , I am one person and I’m not a team.

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October 9th, 2014, 4:47 am

 

20. SimoHurtta said:

16. SYRIALOVER said:

ALAN I know you worry about imagined troubles for the US dollar, but you should also care about Putin-land.

I see the IMF has now slashed Russia’s miserable growth prospects further to 0.5% because of “geopolitical tensions” (translation: Putin’s trouble-making in Ukraine and poor relations with the rest of the world).

The Moscow Times tells us so – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/imf-halves-russia-forecast/508222.html

Don’t forget that Russia’s economy is already smaller than that of the UK.

Well Syrian Lover by the GDP PPP Russia is country number 6 and UK number 10 (number 8 on CIA’s World Factbook list). The PPP = purchasing power parity gives a more reliable picture than the nominal figures.

USA and its less educated “supporters” make enormous noise that USA will soon export natural gas and crude oil to Europe and Asia. Well take a look at the USA’s own monthly export and import data and make your own conclusions. Natural gas export
Crude oil U.S. Imports by Country of Origin

Besides that USA has not much LNG export capacity the reality is that USA imports monthly over 200,000 cubic feet gas and exports little over 120,000 cubic feet of gas. In the crude oil sector the trade deficit is so immense that becoming a net exporter is a very, very optimistic thinking (=pure propaganda).

By the way Syrian Lover during time of the in the west loved Boris Nikolajevitš Jeltsin even Sweden at one point had a bigger GDP than Russia had.

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October 9th, 2014, 6:34 am

 

21. ALAN said:

I’m not surprised with the concepts of Syria lover. There feeding them canned food and genetically modified like this: http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical-diary/putin-seeks-solitude-amid-russias-perfect-storm#axzz3FbpYWzqz

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October 9th, 2014, 7:57 am

 

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