Islamic extremists shot scores of Yazidi men to death in Iraq, lining them up in small groups and opening fire with assault rifles before abducting their wives and children, according to an eyewitness, government officials and people who live in the area. A Yazidi lawmaker on Saturday cited the mass killing in Kocho as evidence that his people are still at risk after a week of U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes on the militants. Meanwhile, warplanes targeted insurgents around a large dam that was captured by the Islamic State extremist group earlier this month, nearby residents said.
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Hundreds of Yazidi women who were captured by Islamic extremists during their sweep through the town of Sinjar are being incarcerated at scattered locations across northern Iraq in what increasingly looks like a deliberate attempt to co-opt them into service as the wives of fighters.
As the militants with the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State surged into the area from surrounding Arab villages two weeks ago, snaring those who had not managed to flee, they showed a marked interest in detaining women, notably the youngest and prettiest, according to witnesses, relatives and in some instances the women themselves.
The leader of Iraq’s Kurds appealed to Germany for weapons to help Kurdish fighters battling militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and said foreign powers must find a way to cut off the group’s funding.
The European Union on Friday gave a green light to EU governments to supply arms and ammunition to the Kurds if it has the consent of the government in Baghdad. Germany has shied away from direct involvement in military conflicts for much of the post-war era and a survey conducted for Bild am Sonntag newspaper indicated that almost three quarters of Germans were against shipping weapons to the Kurds.
The President of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, visited fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the first time last week, after the PKK joined Kurdish Peshmerga forces to expel the Islamic State group from the town of Makhmour.
In a video published online, Barzani thanked the PKK fighters: "We are brothers. They [Islamic State fighters] are the enemy of the people of Kurdistan. We have one destiny; we will do everything, what we can," Barzani said. But some analysts said the public pronouncement could complicate relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey, which has fought a decades-long war against the PKK, a Kurdish armed group operating primarily in the country's southeast.
Alissa J. Rubin, a veteran Times foreign correspondent, was injured on Tuesday in a helicopter crash in Kurdistan and dictated the following article from her hospital bed in Istanbul, where she was evacuated from Iraq. She suffered broken bones and a fractured skull but was in stable condition, and was scheduled to be taken by air to the United States on Sunday.
If it weren’t for Tuesday’s helicopter crash on Mount Sinjar, what would I have written about the plight of the Yazidis? I would have started, I guess, with this mountain that everybody is talking about, to which the Yazidis have fled. It’s hard to overstate the size of this mountain, which is such a sacred place to the Yazidis, and the place they went to escape the terror that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been inflicting on them. It’s really more of a range than an individual mountain — 60 miles long, 5,000 feet high — and it is no wonder the relief operation, which riveted much of the world, posed such challenges.
By pulling our forces out of Iraq in 2011, Mr. Obama claimed, he “ended the war.” Three years later, the winner of that war is a barbarous Islamist army that has seized the northern half of Iraq, threatening both Kurdistan and Baghdad. An alarmed Iraqi parliament has just elected a new prime minister, opening the door for American assistance.
So what should we do? The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, has suggested that we “initially contain, eventually disrupt, and finally defeat [the Islamists] over time.” Notice that the general used the word “defeat.”
Kurdish female peshmerga fighters have been active during battles against the Islamic State (IS). According to the female troops’ leaders based in the Sulaimaniyah governorate, Kurdish female fighters have been on the front lines in the battles against IS.
The military participation of women is not something new in the history of Kurds. At first, few women joined the ranks of fighters, while some used to dress up as men. However, when women had been allowed to enroll in the army, they used to provide services outside the battlefield such as medical aid and administrative and communication tasks. Their army work was limited to the support of war efforts, not combat-related duties.
The 48 hours preceding the Aug. 11 appointment of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s prime minister-designate were decisive. Efforts to convince a defiant Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign were at their peak, even if they passed in vain.
Maliki wasn’t ready to accept any compromise or other points of view. He was aware a substitute had been chosen, yet he wanted to fight until the last possible moment. He believed that each vote he had gained in the election deserved its own battle. Maliki was desperate to keep his reign alive, while his friends and foes struggled to make him quit.
A U.S. mission to evacuate Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters is “far less likely” after a U.S. assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as expected, the Pentagon said.
A team of U.S. military and humanitarian aid personnel sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to assess the situation of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority found far fewer people than previously feared and in better condition than expected, the Pentagon said in a statement. "Based on this assessment," the Pentagon said, "an evacuation mission is far less likely."
AMERICA’S last two presidents have got things wrong in Iraq in opposite ways. George W. Bush went into the country in 2003 guns blazing, with 148,000 soldiers and too little thought of how to stabilise it after Saddam Hussein had been defeated. The consequences were disastrous.
Barack Obama took a different approach. Americans, he reckoned, were not capable of bringing peace to this complex, violent and distant place. He allowed the troops’ mandate in the country to run out with insufficient attention to what might follow, and then applied the same logic in Syria where he did little to support moderate opponents of Bashar Assad. His policy aided the rise of the Islamic State (IS), a Sunni terrorist group, that has taken territory in Syria and Iraq.