On Thursday, August 7th, President Barack Obama authorized targeted airstrikes against the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
“To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city,” said President Obama:
“We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad. We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.”
“As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis. And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis,” said President Obama.
Thus, at the request of the Iraqi government, the United States has also begun water and food drops to some 40 thousand Iraqi civilians who are under siege on Mount Sinjar, where they fled to escape ISIL. According to UNICEF, so far, some 8,000 children have died there, mostly from dehydration.
“When we face a situation like we do on that mountain and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.” said President Obama:
“Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.” Well today, America is coming to help. We’re also consulting with other countries -- and the United Nations -- who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.”
The United States can and will help, said President Obama. But there is only one lasting solution to the larger crisis in Iraq, and that is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces, said President Obama.
“So even as we carry out these two missions, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis. Iraqi leaders need to come together and forge a new government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and that can fight back against the threats like ISIL.”