The Business Times

US in Iraq: Caution is the watchword

Published Wed, Aug 20, 2014 · 10:00 PM

THERE is no doubt that Iraq is facing a major humanitarian catastrophe. Forces affiliated with the radical Sunni group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have seized areas in the north of the country, massacring members of minority religious groups, including Christians and Yazidis, and forcing them to flee from their homes.

With reports suggesting that ISIS troops were committing genocide and that tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees may be facing death from starvation and heat exhaustion, US President Barack Obama concluded that notwithstanding his commitment to disengage the United States from Iraq, he had no choice but to use US military force to avert a horrific humanitarian catastrophe.

With the Iraqi government and its Kurdish partners unable to resist the onslaught by ISIS, President Obama did the right thing by ordering air strikes against the radical Islamist forces and by providing assistance to the Yazidi refugees. His decision is in line with American values and the principles of the United Nations. The disintegration of Iraq and the establishment of an Islamic state or Caliphate ruled by ISIS in the strategic part of the Middle East run contrary to core US interests and those of its regional and international partners.

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