Friday, August 15, 2014

Yazidis and UN dispute US claim that Iraqi refugees no longer need humanitarian aid-NY Times. US expects 30,000+ more Central American "kids" in fall when temps. "cool down." But US elites shun homeless Iraqi refugee kids suffering and dying in hot August desert sun, forced to flee on foot in hottest weather. (What if Iraqi kids spoke Spanish?)

8/14/14, "Official: Second illegal immigrant wave of 30,000 coming in September, October," Washington Examiner.
"Right now it’s just too hard for them to cross, but we expect when it cools down a little bit in August or in September, October, we’ll see another surge again,” said Tiffany Nelms with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a key support group handling the current crisis."...


8/14/14, "Despite U.S. Claims, Yazidis Say Crisis Is Not Over," NY Times, Rob Nordland, Istanbul

8/11/14, Yazidi kids in Iraq, Reuters
"Yazidi leaders and emergency relief officials on Thursday strongly disputed American claims that the siege of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq had been broken and that the crisis was effectively over, saying that tens of thousands of Yazidis remained on the mountain in desperate conditions....

Speaking from her hospital bed here, Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi member of Parliament and a Yazidi leader who was injured in the crash of a helicopter delivering aid to the mountain on Tuesday, said she was aware of the American claims and had discussed them with Yazidi leaders still in the area....

“It’s not true,” she said.

“It’s better now than it had been, but it’s just not true that all of them are safe — they are not,” Ms. Dakhil said. Especially on the south side of the mountain, the situation is very terrible. There are still people who are not getting any aid.”

She estimated the number of Yazidis trapped on the southern flanks of Mount Sinjar at 70,000 to 80,000.

Ms. Dakhil’s assessment of the seriousness of the Yazidis’ plight was supported by United Nations humanitarian officials, who on Thursday were unequivocal that there remained a major crisis among the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar.

“The crisis on Mount Sinjar is by no means over,” said David Swanson, the spokesman for the United Nations coordinator of humanitarian affairs in northern Iraq, interviewed by telephone from Dohuk, in northern Iraq. “Although many people managed to escape from the north side, there are still thousands of others up there, under conditions of extreme heat, dehydration and imminent threat of attack. The situation is far from solved.”

Mount Sinjar is about 60 miles long and five to 10 miles wide.

Ms. Dakhil was a passenger on the helicopter that crashed after takeoff, leaving the pilot dead and several people injured, including a New York Times correspondent, Alissa J. Rubin. 

A prominent Yazidi leader, Ms. Dakhil gave an impassioned speech last week denouncing efforts by Sunni militants to carry out a genocide against the Yazidis that was critical in galvanizing international concern for their plight. An ancient people who are neither Christian nor Muslim, and live mostly in northern Iraq near Mount Sinjar, the Yazidis are regarded as heretics by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has vowed to kill them all. United Nations officials have expressed alarm at numerous reports that the militants also have raped and enslaved many Yazidi women as forced brides or concubines.

Ms. Dakhil, who said she was in touch with Yazidis in the Mount Sinjar area, suggested that the American military team must have visited the northern side, of the mountain, 

the only area that can be reached by helicopters easily, whereas the greatest problem lay to the south, closer to positions 

held by ISIS militants and therefore 

dangerous to travel to by helicopter.

Kieran Dwyer, the chief spokesman for the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator, did not comment directly on the American military’s assessment. “We’re not doing a military assessment,” he said, “we’re doing a humanitarian assessment. From a humanitarian perspective, the problem remains grave, he said.

In a telephone news conference from Dohuk, Iraq, Mr. Dwyer also told reporters at the United Nations that in the past three or four days, “large numbers of people have come off the mountain,” but that thousands remained, and “we still need to address that issue.”

“The crisis on the mountain will not be over until everyone comes off in a safe and secure manner,” he said.

Mr. Swanson said that United Nations officials had no doubt about the circumstances of the Yazidis. 

“We have multiple, both primary and secondary, sources coming in. This is Day 12 of the crisis and it is far from over,” he said.

Although airdrops have helped some Yazidis, they are an imperfect solution, Mr. Dwyer said. “What we need now is access, to assure that people are provided with the life-sustaining assistance they need.”

President Obama on Thursday referred to the assessment team, which said the civilians on the mountain were getting food and water and managing to reach safety.

“The bottom line is the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be proud,” he said in a televised statement from Martha’s Vineyard, where he has been vacationing. Asserting that the ISIS siege had been broken with American military help, Mr. Obama said: “We do not expect there to be an additional operation to get people off the mountain.”

The small ground-force unit that carried out the assessment was now out of Iraq, he said.

As commander in chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women who carried out this operation almost flawlessly,” Mr. Obama said.

In Turkey, the government’s crisis response center, known by its Turkish acronym AFAD, announced that it was planning to build refugee camps for the Yazidis in Turkey if it proved necessary, and was already building camps for them on the Iraqi side of the border.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has counted 80,000 Yazidi refugees fleeing the fighting, Mr. Swanson said, although it was unclear how many of them had come down from Mount Sinjar and how many from other areas."

Image: "Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate on August 11, 2014. Rodi Said—Reuters," via Time: "Rescue Mission ‘Less Likely’ After U.S. Special Forces Land on Iraq Mountain," Maya Rhodan 


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