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John Kerry: Islamic State Committing Genocide In Syria/Iraq Watch

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    The US secretary of state said extremist group is responsible for acts of genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims amid mounting global pressure

    The US has declared that Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities, amid mounting global pressure to recognise atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria as a deliberate drive to wipe out certain religious groups.

    US secretary of state John Kerry said that Isis, known in Arabic by its acronym Daesh, was “genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, in what believes and in what it does”.

    He said: “In my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims.”

    Christians and members of other religious groups have been killed, tortured, raped and driven out of their homes. Isis has taken women and girls as sex slaves and forced children and teenagers into battle at an unprecedented rate.

    In August 2014, at least 40,000 members of the Yazidi sect were trapped on Mount Sinjar, where they faced slaughter by Isis if they fled, and dehydration if they stayed.

    The announcement came amid mounting international pressure to declare the acts against Christians and other religious minorities as genocide.

    Last year, speaking about the Middle East, Pope Francis said: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place.”

    Organisations which monitor religious persecution have warned that Christianity is in danger of being wiped out in the Middle East. Welcoming Kerry’s statement, Lisa Pearce of the global NGO Open Doors said: “It’s clear that the region is being purged of Christians and there are clear elements of religious cleansing. It’s easy to see why many people including the Pope and European Parliament have called their actions genocide.”

    The international community still carries collective guilt over its failure to recognise the Rwandan genocide in 1994, in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed in 100 days.

    The last time the US declared genocide was in 2004, when then secretary of state, Colin Powell, said the acts of killing and destruction in Darfur were genocide.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ide-syria-iraq


    Confirmation by Kerry of what we already knew: the Islamic State are carrying out a systematic campaign of genocide in the Middle East, primarily against Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and Shia Muslims.


    Can someone who doesn't support air-strikes on the IS please explain how exactly they would protect more civilians from being subject to massacres by the Islamic State (such as the Yazidis)?
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    Hydeman viddy9 Fullofsurprises KimKallstrom
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    (Original post by Shillary)
    Can someone who doesn't support air-strikes on the IS please explain how exactly they would protect more civilians from being subject to massacres by the Islamic State (such as the Yazidis)?
    Well, KimKallstrom and I are in favour of airstrikes (as far as I'm aware), so I'll just wait until somebody who's opposed to them says something.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Well, KimKallstrom and I are in favour of airstrikes (as far as I'm aware), so I'll just wait until somebody who's opposed to them says something. :beard:
    FoS I assume (perhaps - hopefully - incorrectly) is against them.


    I would quote some members of the anti-air-strike brigade, but I don't think they would have much to contribute (based on previous experiences)...
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    (Original post by Shillary)
    FoS I assume (perhaps - hopefully - incorrectly) is against them.
    Sorry to disappoint you, but she is.

    I would quote some members of the anti-air-strike brigade, but I don't think they would have much to contribute (based on previous experiences)...
    I agree.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Sorry to disappoint you, but she is.
    The government should be hesitating long and hard before dropping bombs on these poor devils
    :sigh:
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    (Original post by Shillary)
    Can someone who doesn't support air-strikes on the IS please explain how exactly they would protect more civilians from being subject to massacres by the Islamic State (such as the Yazidis)?
    Yes, it does confirm what we already knew. IS are and have been carrying out a campaign of genocide.

    There is nothing much new to add on the issue of air strikes. We know now that David Cameron was severely distorting the facts when it came to his 70,000 ground troops that could assist us whilst we carried out the air strikes, and in terms of the number of strikes we have carried out, we've barely carried out any, suggestive of the fact that the vote on air strikes was held at the time it was for political reasons.

    Your question immediately presupposes that there is a way to protect more civilians to be subject to massacres by IS, first of all. It stems from an emotional need to "do something!" about the atrocities. Obviously, going in and carrying out air strikes satisfies this emotional need to a greater extent than sensibly and rationally looking at the benefits and drawbacks of such a policy, which is why it's so easy for people such as Hilary Benn to make emotion-filled cases in favour of air strikes.

    It's also ironic to see people who would, I presume, endorse the notion that there is a distinction between action and inaction (actively committing a crime and simply allowing something to occur), who then claim that we have a moral duty to intervene. Personally, I think that allowing someone to die is morally equivalent to murder, but most people don't, and it's curious to see people who give no attention to the millions who die of preventable causes around the world every year (which they could do something about if they donated to the most effective anti-poverty charities) suddenly become advocates for intervention. This suggests a possible militaristic bias.

    I will say, though, that the case for air strikes in Syria is the best case for intervention we've had this century: better than Afghanistan, miles better than Iraq, better than Libya and astronomically better than the proposed Syrian intervention against Assad in 2013.

    The reality is that, right now, we cannot conduct any airstrikes in conjunction with people on the ground, meaning that, as one of the leading experts on IS, Patrick Cockburn, has pointed out, we can make very little, if any difference. Meanwhile, these airstrikes are highly likely to fuel further radicalisation and increase the risk of a terror attack in Britain, just as - and this is universally accepted in the intelligence community - our previous interventions in the Middle East have done.

    So, we have significant costs for very little benefit, in my view.

    Meanwhile, we should focus our efforts on cracking down on private investors in over 40 countries, including many G20 countries, who have been funding IS, and getting tough on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in which these investors are very prominent. On top of that, the peace process between the Syrian government and the opposition should be a top priority, because that will help everyone to focus on IS.

    One possible scenario in which intervention may be justified is the following:

    1) We come to a diplomatic agreement with all of the major players in the region aside from ISIS, agree on a strategy, and then implement it. Ideally, those in the region (the Kurds, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, the Gulf States, the Shia militias in Iraq, as well as Assad backed by Russia) would be doing the most to fight IS, for the above reasons (radicalisation and increased, not decreased, terror activity).

    2) Assad and the opposition come to a diplomatic agreement.

    3) The government has detailed how we would carry out these limited airstrikes in conjunction with people in Syria (either the so-called moderate opposition, or Shia militias and, as Cockburn has suggested, Hezbollah).
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    xxxx
    Well I disagree with your argument, especially about the impact of airstrikes. ISIS has lost a huge amount of territory since they began, and has had to seriously cut back salaries due to air strikes on physical money deposits, as well as oil fields. The vote may have been carried out for political reasons, but I don't think any nation should sit by while a group like ISIS is allowed to exist, even if their gesture is in some ways symbolic. Even so it is nice to see someone lay out a clear cut well argued case against strikes, most of the debate on that side has been somewhat lacking, credit to you for that.
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    To be fair, I think the reason they didn't call it a genocide before was on a technicality of the definition as opposed to being blasé about their actions. They always acknowledged the seriousness of their atrocities.

    As for the airstrikes, it's thanks to these that ISIS have lost so much in Iraq and The Kurds have made so many gains. Barely any civilians died as well. If all these sanctimonious numpties who protest the air strikes in Syria had their way, there'd have been no strikes in Iraq either obviously and ISIS would not have lost 40% of their Iraqi territory and the Yazidis (and probably most Iraqi Kurds) would now be dead. B b but b b but muh social justice!!!!! Mongs
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    There is nothing much new to add on the issue of air strikes. We know now that David Cameron was severely distorting the facts when it came to his 70,000 ground troops that could assist us whilst we carried out the air strikes, and in terms of the number of strikes we have carried out, we've barely carried out any, suggestive of the fact that the vote on air strikes was held at the time it was for political reasons.
    Your own source states that:
    The recapture of most of Ramadi has been achieved with the help of the RAF. On 18 December it carried out its most sustained bombing campaign over Ramadi and near Mosul - with 22 air strikes over a 24-hour period.
    I will say, though, that the case for air strikes in Syria is the best case for intervention we've had this century: better than Afghanistan, miles better than Iraq, better than Libya and astronomically better than the proposed Syrian intervention against Assad in 2013.
    Progress, at least.

    The reality is that, right now, we cannot conduct any airstrikes in conjunction with people on the ground, meaning that, as one of the leading experts on IS, Patrick Cockburn, has pointed out, we can make very little, if any difference.
    See above (for an actual empirical example that disproves your suggestion that air-strikes can make "very little, if any, difference").


    Again, your own source states:
    In Iraq air strikes are making a difference, largely because there is an army to work with on the ground.

    And it is widely accepted that air-strikes have made a difference, and continue to do so: The IS has lost 40% of the territory it formerly held in Iraq, have had their oil revenues significantly reduced, and have lost 26,000 fighters. None of this would have been possible without the pivotal role of air-strikes.


    Your opposition against air-strikes seems to be primarily based on the fact that you doubt their effectiveness, but the above indicates that this is completely unfounded, albeit less so in Syria than Iraq.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    Well I disagree with your argument, especially about the impact of airstrikes. ISIS has lost a huge amount of territory since they began, and has had to seriously cut back salaries due to air strikes on physical money deposits, as well as oil fields. The vote may have been carried out for political reasons, but I don't think any nation should sit by while a group like ISIS is allowed to exist, even if their gesture is in some ways symbolic. Even so it is nice to see someone lay out a clear cut well argued case against strikes, most of the debate on that side has been somewhat lacking, credit to you for that.
    (Original post by Shillary)
    Your own source states that:
    Sorry, I thought you were referring solely to the debate over air strikes in Syria (don't know why). I probably am in favour of airstrikes in Iraq,and the airstrikes being conducted by the United States with the Kurds. I would prefer that our Gulf allies were doing more of the airstrikes, though, because right now they're distracted by the war in Yemen.

    My argument above was against British air strikes in Syria.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    To be fair, I think the reason they didn't call it a genocide before was on a technicality of the definition as opposed to being blasé about their actions. They always acknowledged the seriousness of their atrocities.

    As for the airstrikes, it's thanks to these that ISIS have lost so much in Iraq and The Kurds have made so many gains. Barely any civilians died as well. If all these sanctimonious numpties who protest the air strikes in Syria had their way, there'd have been no strikes in Iraq either obviously and ISIS would not have lost 40% of their Iraqi territory and the Yazidis (and probably most Iraqi Kurds) would now be dead. B b but b b but muh social justice!!!!! Mongs
    True. Cast your mind back to August 2014, when ISIS was on the northern outskirts of Baghdad and were moving on the Kurdish capital Erbil. It is quite possible that the Iraqi government could have fallen and that the Kurdish capital of Erbil conquered by ISIS.

    The United States' acting in August 2014 was when ISIS started to really encounter resistance, up until then they'd blitzkreiged through the Iraqi Army. Imagine if the anti-war left had their way then. All of the progress we've seen against ISIS wouldn't have happened, they would be stronger and larger.

    We know that ISIS recruitment surged when they were winning victories, so imagine all the young Muslims who were sitting on the fence might have travelled there knowing that it was a walk-over.

    I think someone above said that we'd barely carried out any strikes, that's not true The RAF is carrying out multiple airstrikes against ISIS pretty much every day they're listed at this gov.uk address

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/u...-against-daesh

    Here is a very small taste of that link

    February 11: A pair of Typhoons, working in close cooperation with a coalition surveillance aircraft, successfully conducted two Paveway attacks on groups of terrorist fighters. Later that day, a second Typhoon mission over the area used Paveways to destroy a heavy machine-gun position and an accommodation block used by Daesh.

    12 February: Typhoons were also active east of Ramadi, bombing two groups of terrorists, as well as a team planting improvised explosive devices.

    14 February: A Tornado mission successfully targeted a compound north of Habbaniyah, where around 16 Daesh extremists had been observed, striking it with a pair of Paveway IVs

    15 February: Two Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Iraq in support of Kurdish security forces. A group of Daesh extremists were identified in a pair of buildings south-west of Kirkuk and were able to attack both at the same time with Paveway IV bombs. A Brimstone missile destroyed a terrorist vehicle and before the Tornados returned to base a Paveway was used to attack a weapons cache.
    In total the coalition has carried out about 150 airstrikes in the last week, including this most excellent airstrike captured in full colour and showing just how precisely we are able to hit



    The coalition doing 150 of these each week is why ISIS is on the run now
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    As for the airstrikes, it's thanks to these that ISIS have lost so much in Iraq and The Kurds have made so many gains
    These four days of air operations reported by the Ministry of Defence also show we are making a real difference against ISIS

    3 February: Typhoons and Tornados providing close air support to Iraqi forces clearing Daesh positions in the area around Ramadi. The Typhoons destroyed a terrorist building with a Paveway, then used two more Paveways to engage a pair of Daesh groups, armed with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, which were engaged in close combat with Iraqi troops. Despite the proximity of the friendly forces, the precision of the Paveways and careful planning by the aircrew allowed both targets to be struck successfully. The Tornados similarly had to attack a series of Daesh positions close to Iraqi forces, and these were also highly successful: Paveway attacks accounted for four groups of terrorist fighters, including one heavy machine-gun and two mortar teams, and when machine-gunners opened fire on the Iraqis from the windows of a single storey building, the Tornados launched a pair of Brimstone missiles which accurately struck both windows.Later in the day, Typhoons used a Paveway to destroy a mechanical excavator which had been converted into a large booby-trap, positioned amongst trees next to a road east of Ramadi.

    4 February: RAF patrols over the countryside around Ramadi and Fallujah. Typhoons bombed three Daesh positions, as well as a group of terrorists caught moving in the open, whilst Tornado GR4s again attacked extremists engaged in very close combat with Iraqi forces; Paveways were used to destroy a heavy machine-gun team and a strongpoint, but in one instance, the terrorists were so close to the Iraqi troops that even a Paveway could not be used safely. Fortunately, the Brimstone missile’s precision and small warhead allowed one to be fired into the midst of the Daesh fighters to significant effect. The following day, Typhoons operated around Habbaniyah and Ramadi, using eight Paveways to destroy an armed truck, a recoilless gun, two Daesh-held buildings, a command and control position, two weapons caches and a workshop producing truck-bombs.

    18 February: RAF Tornado GR4s and a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducted counter-Daesh missions over Syria. North of Abu Kamal, a Tornado patrol used a pair of Brimstone missiles to strike a large engineering vehicle being used for wellhead repair and maintenance in a Daesh-controlled oilfield. Meanwhile, north-west of Raqqa, a Reaper worked closely with coalition jets to prosecute a group of Daesh extremists who were attacking members of the moderate Syrian armed opposition. The Reaper provided targeting and surveillance support to three successful coalition air attacks, then conducted a fourth attack using its own Hellfire missile. Over Iraq, other Tornados continued to support Iraqi army operations around Ramadi, in the course of which they used Paveway IVs to bomb three Daesh-held buildings.

    19 February: Typhoon FGR4s and Tornados patrolled over western Iraq. North-east of Ramadi, an Iraqi helicopter reported coming under fire from an anti-aircraft gun concealed beneath a carport. A Paveway IV delivered by a Typhoon removed the threat. The Typhoons then dropped two Paveways on a large building where a group of terrorists, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, were holding out against the advancing Iraqi troops. North-east of Al Asad airbase, a coalition surveillance aircraft identified a set of five rocket launchers and an ammunition stockpile set up in a palm grove, and was able to guide in a Tornado flight which destroyed both targets with Paveways, then used a third Paveway to eliminate a group of terrorists caught in the open. Later in the day, a second Tornado patrol used Paveways to destroy four Daesh-held buildings north-east of Ramadi, including two used to prepare truck-bombs. In northern Iraq, a Typhoon mission operated north-east of Mosul, supporting the Kurdish peshmerga, and destroyed two buildings from which the terrorists had been fighting. Over Syria, a Reaper and other coalition aircraft supported moderate Syrian opposition forces north-west of Raqqa; our Reaper assisted in one coalition air strike, then used a Hellfire to destroy an Daesh improvised armoured vehicle.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Your question immediately presupposes that there is a way to protect more civilians to be subject to massacres by IS, first of all. It stems from an emotional need to "do something!" about the atrocities. Obviously, going in and carrying out air strikes satisfies this emotional need to a greater extent than sensibly and rationally looking at the benefits and drawbacks of such a policy, which is why it's so easy for people such as Hilary Benn to make emotion-filled cases in favour of air strikes.

    ...

    The reality is that, right now, we cannot conduct any airstrikes in conjunction with people on the ground, meaning that, as one of the leading experts on IS, Patrick Cockburn, has pointed out, we can make very little, if any difference. Meanwhile, these airstrikes are highly likely to fuel further radicalisation and increase the risk of a terror attack in Britain, just as - and this is universally accepted in the intelligence community - our previous interventions in the Middle East have done.

    So, we have significant costs for very little benefit, in my view.

    Meanwhile, we should focus our efforts on cracking down on private investors in over 40 countries, including many G20 countries, who have been funding IS, and getting tough on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in which these investors are very prominent. On top of that, the peace process between the Syrian government and the opposition should be a top priority, because that will help everyone to focus on IS.

    One possible scenario in which intervention may be justified is the following:

    1) We come to a diplomatic agreement with all of the major players in the region aside from ISIS, agree on a strategy, and then implement it. Ideally, those in the region (the Kurds, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, the Gulf States, the Shia militias in Iraq, as well as Assad backed by Russia) would be doing the most to fight IS, for the above reasons (radicalisation and increased, not decreased, terror activity).

    2) Assad and the opposition come to a diplomatic agreement.

    3) The government has detailed how we would carry out these limited airstrikes in conjunction with people in Syria (either the so-called moderate opposition, or Shia militias and, as Cockburn has suggested, Hezbollah).
    As for effectiveness, I'd like to point out that ISIS has lost large areas of territory in offensives backed by US and coalition air strikes. Whether Britain itself will have any impact is debatable, but it is absolutely clear that the general policy of air strikes supporting local ground forces is working, even if there are setbacks.

    Those funding issues are things that need to be addressed in addition to air strikes, not instead of. ISIS have many funding sources within their own territory, and cutting off outside funding is not going to help a Syrian or Iraqi town that gets attacked by ISIS tomorrow or next week or next month. Let's say you have a Christian, Shia, Ismaili, Alawite, Druze, etc town that gets attacked by ISIS - how would you prevent that massacre without air strikes?

    Quite a bit of ISIS' funding comes from oil, and the YPG have captured oil fields from ISIS in offensives backed by US air power.

    As for recruitment and radicalisation,
    Spoiler:
    Show
    I feel that this "air strikes cause radicalisation and increase recruitment" argument is exaggerated. ISIS was getting foreign and Syrian recruits well before any western country was bombing them.

    Not only that, but there are multiple other things ISIS use or have used for their recruitment - the sectarianism problems in Iraq, indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian government, corruption of other Syrian rebel groups, the Syrian government being Alawite dominated, and various other things. Note that war itself tends to radicalise people.

    Furthermore, there is one thing important for ISIS recruitment that is usually overlooked - they need to have military victories. As long as they have military victories somewhere, they can continue to portray themselves as a strong and ever expanding force, which is a big part of their propaganda message. The capture of major towns is a big propaganda and morale boost. If air strikes can stop that from happening, and ISIS start to lose territory on all fronts, then that message is less effective (outside of ISIS' core support, who will fight to the death regardless).
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    (Original post by RF_PineMarten)
    As for effectiveness, I'd like to point out that ISIS has lost large areas of territory in offensives backed by US and coalition air strikes. Whether Britain itself will have any impact is debatable, but it is absolutely clear that the general policy of air strikes supporting local ground forces is working, even if there are setbacks.

    Those funding issues are things that need to be addressed in addition to air strikes, not instead of. ISIS have many funding sources within their own territory, and cutting off outside funding is not going to help a Syrian or Iraqi town that gets attacked by ISIS tomorrow or next week or next month. Let's say you have a Christian, Shia, Ismaili, Alawite, Druze, etc town that gets attacked by ISIS - how would you prevent that massacre without air strikes?

    Quite a bit of ISIS' funding comes from oil, and the YPG have captured oil fields from ISIS in offensives backed by US air power.
    Thank you for your reply.

    As I said earlier, I had thought that the original poster was simply referring to the debate over whether Britain should conduct airstrikes in Syria. I support airstrikes being conducted in conjunction with ground forces, particularly the Kurds (and we're going to have to stop Turkey from going after them), and I support British airstrikes in Iraq.

    I disagree on your recruitment and radicalisation point. I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest that ISIS want us to attack them, and even if they were recruiting beforehand, we shouldn't exacerbate the problem unless there are large gains to be made. Airstrikes in conjunction with ground forces, in my view, can produce gains large enough such that the risk is justified, but I don't agree with Britain conducting airstrikes in Syria.
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    Is there a possibility that the US might change their stance on Assad to help him/them fight IS?
 
 
 
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