Genocide Emergency Alert: Iraq and Syria – ISIS



Genocide Emergency Alert: Iraq and Syria – ISIS

5 September 2014 Update


ISIS, also called ISIL or the Islamic State, is a Sunni jihadist group with a self-proclaimed status as a caliphate.  ISIS claims authority over all Muslims worldwide.  Former CIA Director James Woolsey has called ISIS a “theocratic, totalitarian, genocidal, imperialist” terrorist movement in an interview on BBC America world news.  Genocide Watch agrees.  ISIS aspires to bring all Muslim-inhabited regions under its control by first starting in Iraq and Syria and the “Levant” region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and parts of southern Turkey.

Genocidal massacres and beheadings are publicized by ISIS as a terror tactic.  ISIS crimes against humanity are similar to the crimes of the RUF in Sierra Leone, the LRA in Uganda and CAR, the Interahamwe in Rwanda, and genocidal crimes of the Nazis and Japanese during World War II.

The United Nations has accused ISIS of committing “mass atrocities” and war crimes. Reluctant to use the word “genocide,” when it should be used, Amnesty International has accused ISIS of “ethnic cleansing” of minorities in northern Iraq such as the Yazidis (one of the world’s oldest monotheistic ethnic groups), Iraqi Christians, Turkmen, and Shiites.  Turkmen are centered in the cities of Tal Afar and Kirkuk in Iraq.  They were caught in the crossfire between Sunnis and Shiites in the 2003 Iraq war, when Tal Afar’s population decreased from 200,000 to 80,000.  In June 2014 ISIS claimed to have killed at least 1,700 Shiites on their Twitter account.  More Shiites have been executed by ISIS since then.

Like Al-Qaeda, ISIS has started camps to recruit and brainwash future fighters.  Attempts by Iraqi parents to prevent their children from attending the camps are countered with threats of being beheaded by ISIS militants. The children are told to jog before breakfast, followed by religious studies, then a course on “weapons, Kalashnikovs and light military stuff.”

ISIS has skillfully used social media to recruit new members around the globe. The largest numbers of foreigners who have joined ISIS are not from large Muslim countries but from the West.  More than 500 people have joined from the UK, 700 from France, 350 from Germany.  The exact number of Americans who have joined is unknown, but the U.S. government believes that about a dozen out of one hundred Americans who have joined radical Islamist rebel groups have joined ISIS.  Because hundreds of ISIS fighters come from Western nations and hold passports from those nations, ISIS poses a threat not only to Iraq and Syria, but also to Europe and the United States.


•           President Obama’s authorization of an increase in airstrikes in areas controlled by ISIS, including cities such as Tikrit, Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq, should be supported by Congress.  The President should also authorize airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Syria.

•           The US and NATO should increase delivery of supplies to the Kurdish Peshmerga such as heavy weapons, armored vehicles, and ammunition, along with communications and financial support.

•           The US and Iran should continue their communications, and US warplanes should assist Iranian military units that have men and tanks on the ground fighting ISIS in Northern Iraq.

•           The US should continue its efforts to build a broad international coalition to help Kurdish and Iraqi Special Forces defeat ISIS.  The coalition should include NATO nations as well as Middle Eastern nations such as Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

•           Leaders of ISIS should be charged, arrested and tried in the International Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

•           American and European citizens who have joined ISIS should be tried, if captured, in their national courts for terrorism and aiding and abetting genocide and crimes against humanity.

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