Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Report: Obama considering airdrops or airstrikes to aid Iraqi refugees

Aug. 7, 2014 - 01:39PM   |  
Iraqis from the Yazidi community chant anti Islamic militants slogans in front of UN headquarters to ask for international protection in Irbil, Iraq, on Monday. Islamic militants attacked the towns of Sinjar and Zunmar. Around 40 thousand people crossed the bridge of Shela in Fishkhabur into the Northern Kurdish Region of Iraq, after being given an ultimatum by Islamic militants to either convert to Islam, pay a security tax, leave their homes, or die.
Iraqis from the Yazidi community chant anti Islamic militants slogans in front of UN headquarters to ask for international protection in Irbil, Iraq, on Monday. Islamic militants attacked the towns of Sinjar and Zunmar. Around 40 thousand people crossed the bridge of Shela in Fishkhabur into the Northern Kurdish Region of Iraq, after being given an ultimatum by Islamic militants to either convert to Islam, pay a security tax, leave their homes, or die. (The Associated Press)
  • Filed Under

President Obama is considering ordering airdrops or airstrikes to help tens of thousands of ethnic Kurds who have been uprooted by the Islamic State and are now dying of thirst, the New York Times is reporting.

The Islamic State has recently taken more of northern Iraq, threatening religious minorities such as the Yazidi sect that they will be killed if they do not convert to Islam. As many as 40,000 Yazidi refugees are now trapped on Mount Sinjar and cut off from supplies. About 40 children are believed to have died already from heat and dehydration, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Obama is considering a range of options to assist the refugees, which run the spectrum from airdropping food, medicine and other supplies to the refugees to launching airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters at the base of Mount Sinjar, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed senior administration official.

Right now, the U.S. is not flying its own airdrop missions, but is working directly with Iraqi and Kurdish officials to coordinate the delivery of supplies to the Yazidis on the mountaintop, a defense official told Military Times.

“The Government of Iraq has initiated airdrops in the region and we are in constant communication with them on how we can help coordinate additional relief, enhance their efforts, and provide direct assistance wherever possible,” the defense official said in an email on Thursday.

The U.S. also is calling on the international community to help Iraqis who need humanitarian assistance, a U.S. official told Military Times.

In May, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State, but the U.S. did not have enough intelligence at the time to do so, Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, told Congress last month.

The Iraqi’s request for airstrikes remains “under active consideration,” McGurk said in July 23 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that the White House has been delaying military action against the Islamic State until Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down, but the situation at Mount Sinjar may force the administration to act.

In other troubling news from Iraq, the Islamic State reportedly captured the Mosul Dam, a major source of electricity and water for Iraqis that is in need of constant upkeep. If the dam fails, massive flooding would result.

More than 700 U.S. troops are in Iraq, helping to run control centers, protecting the U.S. Embassy and advising Iraqi forces. The Defense Department also is sending munitions to help bolster Iraqi forces, including 466 Hellfire missiles delivered in July for a total of 780 this year, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said last week.

Manned and unmanned aircraft have been flying 50 intelligence sorties per day over Iraq, and a U.S. aircraft carrier is standing by in the Arabian Gulf, Kirby said.

Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. Lukman Faily gave a speech on July 21 urging the U.S. to immediately “conduct counter-terrorism operations” and launch “precision U.S. air attacks” against the Islamic State, adding: “The U.S. should offer air support targeting terrorist camps and supply convoys in remote areas.”

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

'Get on the trail'
Drill sergeant duty is tough, but offers serious rewards

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook