Former U.S. Ally Turkey Still Bombing and Killing Minorities, Even in Iraq
Yazidis. The most abandoned people on earth. Islamists view them as “idolaters,” and fanatics such as ISIS treat them even worse than Christians. They’re not even eligible for the dhimmi status offered (in theory) to Christians and Jews. They’re fair game for hunting, rape, enslavement, and murder.
Yazidis were the group most fiercely persecuted in Syria and Iraq. And now they’re under attack again, by America’s NATO “ally,” Turkey.
NATO Planes Bombing Refugees
You didn’t see it in the newspapers. I heard about it from my Yazidi friends in the region. The message came to me on August 15: “Sinjar has been bombed by Turkish airstrikes half an hour ago. One of our leaders and several others have been killed.”
Sinjar is the Yazidi homeland in Iraq, next to the border with Syria. Having worked against ISIS itself for years, I’m hard to shock. But this news did shock me. Because such an attack is completely insane.
The pretext for it? Turkey wants to hit the Kurdish PKK, which it labels “terrorists.” But both the U.S. and the Iraqi Government had confirmed that the PKK left Sinjar way back on April 2. The world saw ample evidence of this, and the U.S. Army confirmed it.
The militia still present was the YBŞ, which the Iraqi government recognizes as part of its own forces. The YBŞ was forged in the fire of the war against ISIS and all its personnel are Yazidis from Sinjar. The YBŞ slowly grew as a Yazidi force from the moment ISIS attacked and since 2014 it has been cooperating with the International Coalition against ISIS.
Erdogan’s Plan of Genocide
And Erdogan cannot permit that, any more than he allows dissent inside Turkey. So he singled out the leader of YBS (and the hunted Yazidi people), Zaki Shingali. Mr. Shingali was a statesman. His actions in 2014 kept thousands out of the sex-slave camps of ISIS. Yazidis knew him as a person who could bring people together. So Turkey murdered him with a carefully targeted bomb.
“Mr. Erdogan, call off those planes!”
Erdogan wants to dominate all the peoples in and around Turkey, either directly or by proxy. To subjugate them, then enforce Turkish culture, religion, and rule. As soon as any group in the region resists and does not want to be a proxy, it becomes a target. Some groups in northern Syria and Iraq moved to Iran as a counterweight. That gained them some protection.
What about those groups which won’t bow either to Turkey or Iran? Erdogan feels free to target them. The Yazidis sit in his cross-hairs, and he’s trying to eradicate them.
In Turkey’s attack on Afrin (on which The Stream reported back in January), Erdogan’s army killed or displaced many thousands of Yazidis (alongside Christians, Kurds, and other independent-minded people).
Now Turkey wants to finish the work of ISIS by hunting down Yazidi leaders in Iraq. Erdogan has tried to subjugate the Yazidis since 2014, but failed. Now he’s killing their leaders and trying to terrorize them via airstrikes.
Calling America’s Bluff
This isn’t just an attack on the Yazidis. It’s a slap in America’s face. A direct challenge to President Trump. Repeatedly, Turkish military officers have threatened to attack the U.S. base in Sinjar. This attack is a warning shot.
The Yazidis have long lived peacefully and in friendship with local Christians. I personally witnessed the cooperation between these peoples since ISIS attacked both peoples. If Turkey gets away with eradicating the Yazidis, the Christians are next. Will America allow it?
Remember that the Yazidis are friendly to America. The Trump administration officially recognized that they were the victims of ISIS genocide.
Now it’s time for President Trump to flex America’s muscles. Tell Turkey it can’t use NATO jets to randomly commit airstrikes against innocent minorities in Iraq. The easiest way to do so is to declare Sinjar a no-fly zone for Turkish jets. Erdogan is testing the resolve of President Trump. The answer should be clear, as Reagan’s was to Gorbachev: “Mr. Erdogan, call off those planes!”