It's starting to seem as if the Obama White House operates on a time delay. In the case of Iraq's religious minorities, the results have been deadly.
On June 10, the barbaric extremists called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured the city of Mosul. By mid-July, they issued an edict to the Christians who remained to "convert, leave or be killed."
It would be wrong to view President Obama’s decision to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and to give weapons to Kurdish fighters as a continuation of the war in Iraq. It is more accurate to see it as a mission to prevent a repetition of the war in Afghanistan. We have a chance to stop the Islamic State before it creates a sanctuary in Iraq and Syria that it could use to strike the United States, just as al-Qaeda used its sanctuary in Afghanistan to kill thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. That, to his credit, is what the president has begun to do.
The international community's response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq driven by ISIS jihadists against minorities has been grossly inadequate and slow. The founding words of the United Nations -- "Never again" -- ring hollow as the UN and powerful member states lack the willpower to intervene and prevent the genocide of religious minorities, yet again.
As ISIS seeks to establish a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East, their advances "bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide" against communities and individuals who do not share their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities have been forced to convert, pay jizya and live in submission, or flee empty-handed.
America’s tentative return to the battlefields of Iraq, however reminiscent it is of unfinished American business there, is also a deadly reminder that the Arab world is still trying to sort out the unfinished business of the Ottoman Empire, a century after it collapsed.
After World War I, the region’s Arabs were not allowed a proper foundation on which to build stable, functional nations. And in more recent decades, they have been largely unsuccessful in doing so on their own.
The path of least resistance.
For a president who has been extremely unwilling to see the U.S. intervene again in the Middle East, a major reason for pulling the trigger on today’s military strikes on Islamist extremists in northern Iraq seems to be this: It’s the path of least resistance.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.