If the stated purpose of US intervention in the "country formerly known as Iraq", which saw the fourth consecutive US president launching military strikes in a nation now absolutely destroyed thanks to US involvement, was humanitarian (it isn't) and allegedly to "protect" the Yazidi ethnic minority members stuck on a mountain near Sinjar, then it needs some fine-tuning. The reason: as Reuters reports, Islamic State militants have slaughtered at least 500 Yazidis during their latest offensive in the north, with Iraq's human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani adding that the ISIS jihadists also buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added.
As a reminder, ISIS atrocities against Yazidis was the primary (if thoroughly fabricated) reason why according to the Obama, he promptly agreed to launch airstrikes against ISIS on Thursday night, leading to numerous bombing sorties in the following days.
Fast forward to today to find the following, from Reuters:
"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic States have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," Sudani said in a telephone interview, in his first remarks to the media on the issue.
Sinjar is the ancient home of the Yazidis, one of the towns captured by the Sunni militants who view the community as "devil worshipers" and tell them to convert to Islam or face death.
A deadline passed at midday on Sunday for 300 Yazidi families to convert to Islam or face death at the hands of the militants. It was not immediately clear whether the Iraqi minister was talking about the fate of those families or others in the conflict.
"Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar," Sudani said.
The minister's comments could pile pressure on the United States - which has carried out air strikes on Islamic State targets in response to the group's latest push through the north - to provide more extensive support.
"In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses," said Sudani. "This is a vicious atrocity."
The Iraq government, which had been begging for US intervention for months (if only to see Putin promptly step up while Obama dithered waiting to see who would replace current PM al-Maliki), is finally content that the US has stepped up: "The terrorist Islamic State has also taken at least 300 Yazidi women as slaves and locked some of them inside a police station in Sinjar and transferred others to the town of Tal Afar. We are afraid they will take them outside the country. The international community should submit to the fact that the atrocities of the Islamic State will not stop in Iraq and could be repeated somewhere else if no urgent measures were taken to neutralize this terrorist group," Sudani said.
"It’s now the responsibility of the international community to take a firm stand against the Islamic State to reach a consensus on a legitimate decision to start the war on Islamic State to stop genocides and atrocities against civilians."
The reason: the Iraq state has clearly shown it is incapable of stopping the (US-funded) ISIS advance, either to the north, or, increasingly, to the south where both Baghdad is located, as well as Iraq's critical oil fields. Which is why now that the US is involved, the Iraq regime is certainly relieved if only for the time being: it remains to be seen just what the real US-motive behind backing the same ISIS it is ostensibly "fighting", is.
In the meantime, the ISIS persecution of the Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism and who are spread over northern Iraq as part of the Kurdish minority, continues.
The irony: many of their villages were destroyed when Saddam Hussein's troops tried to crush the Kurds during his iron-fisted rule. Some were taken away by the executed former leader's intelligence agents. Now they are on the defensive again. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled for their lives after Kurdish fighters abandoned them in the face of Islamic State militants, and are trapped on a mountain near Sinjar at risk of starvation.
It is they who will first and foremost realize just what it means when the US pursue "humanitarian" intervention when its motives are entirely ulterior. Because as AFP adds, the US mission is well-short of achieving success:
"The Kurdish peshmerga forces have succeeded in making 30,000 Yazidis who fled Mount Sinjar, most of them women and children, cross into Syria and return to Kurdistan," said Barbahari, who is in charge of the Fishkhabur crossing with Syria. "Most of them crossed yesterday and today, this operation is ongoing and we really don't know how many are still up there on the mountain," he told AFP.
Lawmaker Vian Dakhil, who is from the Yazidi minority most of the Mount Sinjar displaced belong to, said 20,000 to 30,000 had managed to flee and were now in Iraqi Kurdistan. "20,000 to 30,000 have managed to flee Mount Sinjar but there are still thousands on the mountain," she told AFP. "They have arrived in Kurdistan."
"The passage isn't 100 percent safe. There is still a risk," she added, as the international community ramped up efforts to provide food and water by air drops to those still stranded.
And speaking of ulterior motives, even the liberal New Republic finally figured out that "The U.S. Airstrikes in Northern Iraq Are All About Oil." But... that would mean that the difference between Obama and Dubya is... if you haven't figured it out by now, you never will.