Adam Chandler (The Wire) notes Sunni fighters "swept across northern Iraq over the weekend, reportedly defeating Kurdish forces for the first time, and was rumored to have captured a vital dam near Mosul." Alan Duke (CNN) notes, "ISIS took control of Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam on Iraq's Tigris River, which provides power to the city of Mosul about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the south, the commander of the Peshmerga Kurdish fighters who had been defending the facility said Sunday." Reuters adds that the fighters seized three towns in the Kurdistan Region including Zumar. Fu Peng (Xinhua) reports the town of Sinjar was among the three seized:
The majority of the town of Sinjar are from the Yazidi minority, which is primarily an ethnic Kurd. The religion of Yazidis incorporates elements of many faiths, as a result of some of their beliefs and the mystery surrounding their religion, many Muslims and non-Muslims have considered Yazidis as infidels. This has led to violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups against the minority.
There are about 600,000 Yazidis remaining in Iraq with roughly 80 percent of them living in the towns of Sinjar and Bashika in Nineveh province.
Nouri has repeatedly had only one 'answer' -- terrorize the Sunni population.
That has been a failure and has created bonds between Sunni groups that would otherwise have nothing in common. The failure has created sympathy that has brought foreign fighters into Iraq.
Nouri could have spent his two terms working on fostering a collective identity for Iraqis.
He refused to do so.
He targeted Sunnis, he targeted Kurds, he targeted everyone. He created divisions, he fostered hate.
And now Iraq is where it is thanks to him.
UNAMI issued the following today:
Baghdad, 3 August 2014 - The United Nations in Iraq has confirmed reports that ISIL and associated armed groups have seized control of nearly all of Sinjar and Tal Afar districts in Ninewa Province, including the oil fields of Ain Zala and Batma, bordering the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
According to reports, as many as 200,000 civilians, most of them from the Yezidi community, have fled to Jabal Sinjar. The humanitarian situation of these civilians is reported as dire, and they are in urgent need of basic items including food, water and medicine. An unknown number of civilians are also reported to have moved towards Dahuk and Zako in the Kurdistan Region.
The United Nations has grave concerns for the physical safety of these civilians – particularly those now trapped in Jabal Sinjar area, as it is now surrounded by ISIL militants.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, stated “A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar. The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government should urgently restore their security cooperation in dealing with the crisis. I call on all Iraqi authorities, civil society and international partners to work with the United Nations to ensure the delivery of life saving humanitarian assistance”. “I also call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that those civilians fleeing the violence are facilitated entry to the Kurdistan Region in order to receive protection and humanitarian assistance,” he added.
Upon his request, this morning Deputy SRSG Gyorgy Busztin met His Excellency President Fuad Ma’soum who shared his grave concern over the situation of minorities impacted by the ISIL takeover of significant areas in the Ninewah plain. He called it the collective responsibility of all Iraqis to assist the displaced. The President expressed particular concern over the fate of the minority Yezidi community.
The United Nations reiterates that international law imposes obligations on all parties to the present conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and their access to humanitarian assistance.
The UN should be calling Nouri out for his War Crimes. Instead, they've humored him like so many other organizations and governments who should have demanded Nouri cease attacking and killing civilians.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.
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