photos: independent.co.uk, NBC News
Iraq is quickly falling into the hands of ISIS, a group that is dedicated to bringing about an Islamic State and is committing genocide against the Yazidi.
ISIS, also commonly referred to as the Islamic State, has marched across a large swatch of Iraq and has conquered cities, dams, and other resources along the way. While one of their largest targets has been Christians, they have also begun to target a minority group called the Yazidi.
Who Are The Yazidi?
Followers of Yazidism, the Yazidi, are members of one of the oldest religions that still exist today. It is over 6,000 years old and shares some similarities with other religions, but is ultimately very unique. For example, their society is broken down into castes with restrictions between the different levels in terms of marriage and interaction. They also believe in the concept of reincarnation like Hindus.
The Yazidi mostly live in regions of Iraq and Syria, where they interact mostly with the Kurds, a close ethno-religious group. While they have taken root in other nations in Europe, their numbers have consistently shrunk in recent years.
The Impact Of ISIS
The ISIS has said that its ultimate goal is to institute an Islamic republic that is free from the presence of all other religions. They have already told the Christians in the country that they must convert, pay a tax, or face death; an order that they have carried out numerous times. As a result, the Yazidi have tried to flee to the northern area of Iraq where they are less likely to suffer persecution. However, many of them remain trapped in Syria and in the mountains of Iraq, with little hope of crossing into a safe area.
Trapped In The Mountains
Recently, there have been many members of the Yazidi group trapped in the mountains of Iraq. They cannot descend the mountains due to Sunni Militants, and they are unable to seek refuge in neighboring Syria. This has led to a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar with little food or shelter. It has been reported that many people have died along the way, prompting a public outcry in countries such as the United States.
Help Is Coming
The President of The United States, Barack Obama, has pledged support in the form of supply drops to the affected area as well as air strikes to prevent genocide from occurring in the area. Whether this will be enough to help the individuals in the mountains from succumbing to the elements or militants will be the topic of ongoing observations. Many Yazidis have not been able to reach the supplies because of their proximity to ISIS militants. ISIS has also adapted their tactics to blend in with local populations in response to the US airstrikes. The political implications of American involvement in Iraq will be analyzed for the next few weeks.