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Genocide in the Middle East

FILE - An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced his judgment that Daesh is responsible for genocide.

Rape, enslavement, crucifixion, beheading, pillage – these are some of the atrocities Daesh has perpetrated against people from a variety of religious and ethnic groups in the territory under its control in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Now U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced his judgment that Daesh is responsible for genocide.

Genocide in the Middle East
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Using the Arabic acronym, Secretary Kerry said, “Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”

Among other examples, Mr. Kerry pointed to the slaughter of Yezidi men and older women in the town of Kocho; the execution of Christians in Iraq as well as Coptic and Ethiopian Christians in Libya; the massacre of Shia Turkmen and Shabaks at Tal Afar and Mosul; the rape of Shia Turkmen women in front of their families; and the sexual enslavement of Christian and Yezidi women and girls.

“Daesh kills Christians because they are Christians, Yezidis because they are Yezidis, Shi’ites because they are Shi’ite,” Secretary Kerry said. “Its entire world view is based on eliminating those who do not subscribe to its perverse ideology.”

Secretary Kerry noted that ultimately an independent investigation and formal legal determination by a competent court would be required to bring the full facts to light and to assess the responsibility of individuals. “The United States,” he said, “will strongly support efforts to collect document, preserve and analyze the evidence of atrocities, and we will do all we can to see that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

While noting the importance of naming Daesh’s crimes, Mr. Kerry said, “What is essential is stopping them. That will require unity in this country and within the countries directly involved, and the determination to act against genocide, against ethnic cleansing, against the other crimes against humanity [which] must be pronounced among decent people all across the globe.”