I hope the following unconfirmed rumor is true. Accordingly, “Israel may be attacking positions held by the terrorist Islamic State, or ISIS, militia,” in Iraq.
Israel is the region’s superpower, not the US. It should save its friends the Kurds, who’re besieged—dying or soon to die—in the north. The Kurds have been loyal friends to Israel, and vice versa. (See “Why Israel Wants an Independent Kurdistan.”)
For its part, “The United States military launched a humanitarian operation in northern Iraq Thursday night,” reports National Journal. “The military air-dropped food and water for thousands of Iraqis who have been under attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That drop is now over, and the aircraft that conducted it is out of the area, says the official.”
“Nearly all the displaced are members of the Yazidi sect,” seconds McClatchy, “ethnic Kurdish adherents to a religion that combines Islam and ancient Persian pagan beliefs and is considered heresy by the radical Sunni Muslims who make up the Islamic State. Since Islamic State militants took control of Sinjar on Sunday, there have been widespread, though unconfirmed, reports that Yazidis who failed to escape the takeover have been executed, tortured and raped.”
The United Nations said this week that at least 40,000 people, including 25,000 children, were in the Sinjar Mountains with no shelter, food, medical supplies and, most crucially, because of the brutal Iraqi summer heat, drinking water. While the mountains’ remoteness and barren terrain offers some protection from the Islamic State, the militants control all approaches to the area.
Local news outlets have reported that dozens of children and elderly already have died from dehydration and that thousands more could succumb if massive amounts of aid are not delivered. Efforts to confirm those accounts by dialing the cellphones of people believed to have fled into the mountains failed, most likely because after days without electricity the cellphones’ batteries have died.
This is the face of real religious persecution; this is what authentic refugees look like. Let us hope Israel rescues its Kurdish friends.
UPDATE: Do I want Israel to be involved militarily in fighting for the Kurds? No. It can drop supplies and air lift those poor people to safety. They should. They did this before for roughly 36,000 Ethiopian Jews, who were lifted to safety in a series of daring operations initiated by successive Likud governments headed by Menachem Begin and then Yitzhak Shamir. It’s hard to imagine an American government doing the same for say, white, persecuted, Christian farmers in South Africa or Zimbabwe, who are no less oppressed than these Ethiopian Jews were by the brutal Marxist-Leninist Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, at the time.
Will I shed tears and twist into ideological pretzels over Israeli counter-aggression in the service of the Kurds? No.