The Wall Street Journal reports today that the U.S. military is considering airstrikes and emergency relief supplies to the religious minorities in Iraq who are being forced out by the Islamic State (aka ISIS).
Patheos bloggers have been covering the story consistently. I wrote about it early on, including an email from a Dominican priest who was near Mosul and described the activities of then ISIS.
The situation in Iraq is very, very bad. Read Deacon Greg’s piece describing the exile of Christians as a via crucis (way of the cross). Imagine getting up and leaving your house in the middle of the night, with your family members, and only the goods that you can carry. If you have small children, you’d be carrying them instead of supplies. Imagine. But that’s reality for them.
Joan Desmond at The National Catholic Register has an excellent piece detailing the lack of U.S. response so far. Kurdistan has at least one million Iraqi Christian refugees, even to their own detriment since they do not know how long they can keep IS forces at best. But the Kurds also know what it’s like to experience genocide.
Some suggestions from Desmond’s article:
With IS amassing power, [Nina] Shea noted that the ongoing protection of Iraq’s vulnerable minority groups — those forced from their neighborhoods and those still in their homes — is a major concern. She proposed that the U.S., with its superior intelligence capabilities, should provide an “early warning system” that would alert Christians and others when IS militants pose an immediate threat.
Thomas Farr, the director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, went a step further than Shea and called for the White House to “propose an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in order to consider a resolution, to be offered by the U.S., authorizing the use of force in Iraq and Syria to mitigate the humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place and to prevent genocide.”