What You Need To Know About Iraq: The Crisis The World Forgot

by
Sameera Ehteram
The month-long focus on the Israel-Gaza conflict deviated the world’s attention from many other issues, most prominent among them Iraq.

The Yazidis And Iraq

The world stands appalled at the death and destruction in Gaza. Photos of dead babies, shell-shocked people and entire neighborhoods razed to the ground have filled our newsfeeds and the Internet at large.

But the month-long focus on the region made the world overlook many other issues, including that of Iraq.

On Aug. 4, at least 60 people were killed in an air strike in the Iraqi city of Mosul. While this instance occurred in one city on one day, dozens of people in the country’s capital city of Baghdad and elsewhere fall casualty to violence almost every day.

Recommended: Iraq War, 11 Years On: How The U.S. Managed To Get Away With Murder

In July 2014 alone at least 1,737 Iraqis were killed and 1,978 injured in acts of terrorism and violence across the country.

Thousands of Iraq’s minority Christians reportedly fled after Islamic militants (ISIS) seized Iraq’s largest Christian town, Qaraqosh, earlier this week.

At the time of the Israel-Gaza cease-fire there were 40,000 Iraqis, members of its minority Yazidi sect, stranded on a mountain as ISIS jihadists threatened them with death. Mount Sinjar, where the Yazidi members were located, is identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah's ark.

If they go down, they face slaughter by the hands of terrorists and if they stay where they are they die of hunger, thirst and exposure.

Kurdish minority

Their crime: They are Yazidis, a Kurdish ethno-religious community that practices an ancient religion that is linked to Zoroastrianism.

The Kurdish minority Yazidis have long been regarded as devil worshippers by Sunni jihadists, who have targeted them since the U.S. invasion. As the extremists' latest and most potent incarnation, the Islamic State (ISIS), have steadily conquered Iraq's north, the small, self-contained community has been especially vulnerable.

Hundreds of Yazidis, including children, have been killed in the past week only.

About 40 children have reportedly died as result of dehydration. An estimated 25,000 children still remain stranded in and around Sinjar.

There is no hope of getting food and medical aid to the thousands who are trapped. The ISIS militants have blocked roads and delivering aid via air is not possible save for sporadic airdrops being conducted by the Iraqi Air Force.

"We are being told to convert or to lose our heads," one of the people told the press. "There is no one coming to help."

UNICEF spokeswoman Juliette Touma defines the peoples’ plight, "The stresses are enormous; dehydration, fatigue, people sometimes having to walk for days. The impact on kids is very physical, let alone the psychological impact."

Iraq is a mess; a nightmare for the people of the country regardless of their religion or sect. Further, no viable solution seems to be emerging in the near future.

Read More: Three Major War Zones In The World Eclipsed By Israel-Gaza Conflict

With all the death and destruction taking place in other parts of the world, most prominently Palestine and Gaza, it is easy to overlook people in the other parts of the world suffering. Such is the nature of the news media.

Yet, death and destruction in other conflict zones needs our attention, our humanitarian efforts and prayers.

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