If the U.S. Wanted To, It Could Help Free Thousands of Enslaved Yazidi Women in a Single Day

By Matthew Barber in Syria Comment

First moment of pause: After fleeing the violence and kidnapping in Sinjar, a teenage Yazidi girl sits & cries upon arriving in her new home—a school classroom in Zakho. Photo: Matthew Barber/Syria Comment

The plight of thousands of Yazidi women, kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) during its August 3 attack on Iraq’s Sinjar mountains and in the following weeks, has received some media attention, but most people are unaware of just how far-reaching this disastrous phenomenon is. Boko Haram kidnapped girls in the hundreds, prompting international outcry and an online campaign demanding that they be freed; IS has kidnapped Yazidi women and girls in the thousands in a sexually-motivated campaign that has rent apart countless families and wrought unimaginable levels of pain and destruction.

During the Syria conflict there have been numerous allegations of forced jihadi marriages that have been difficult to confirm, and widely denied by IS supporters online. Many of those stories were dropped, lacking credible evidence. As the past few years in Syria have demonstrated, rumors run rampant in contexts of conflict, and the initially difficult-to-confirm cases of kidnapped Yazidi women of this summer have been treated with appropriate caution.

Despite this initial caution, the sheer scale of the kidnapping of Yazidi women and the firsthand reports of escaped survivors—and those still in captivity via telephone—have made details of the phenomenon, and its sexual motivations, certain.

Having stayed in northern Iraq all summer, I can confirm the assertions of the journalists who have written about the problem. I have worked directly with those involved in rescue efforts and have personally interacted with families whose daughters have been kidnapped and are now calling their relatives from captivity.

I have no trace of doubt that many women have been carried off and imprisoned; the question that remains is about the numbers. Restrained estimates have posited numbers of kidnapped Yazidi women in the hundreds. However, the reality is likely to be in the thousands.

Though the picture is grim, if the US is willing to back up its overtures of support for Iraqis and Kurds with action, we have the ability to help quickly free a large percentage of the kidnapped Yazidis.

Read more at Syria Comment

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Categories: Asia, History, Human rights, Iraq, Slavery, War crimes, Women's rights, World news

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3 replies

  1. All kidnapped victims do not get saved. It is wishful thinking that they do. The US alone cannot save all the victims of kidnapping in this conflict with ISIS.

    Syria was left to the thugs because in the UN Security Council, Russia and China voted against action in Syria. My take on why Russia did it, is they have a Mediterranean sea port in Syria. There was never any good outcome from allowing a civil war to go on as long as the one in Syria has or any other country.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What gets me is the MSM is willing to report on every propaganda video from ISIS but a first hand account from Mr. Barber about the Yazidis women is left to the social media of tweets and blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem with the big media outlets is that they are first and foremost businesses, and so what and how they report news is influenced by market forces. The Information Age has exacerbated the problem further by giving priority to information sought over information that is needed. It’s why I hate the big commercial search engines like Google that try to anticipate what I want based on what all of the other imbeciles surfing the web are looking for. Wrong answer.

    The internet is the big derailing force in our modern universe. It’s why all of the big corporations are frantically analyzing every conceivable avenue of control over it. Big Brother has finally met its match. It’s us. And Big Brother is very, very freaked out by that people power.

    Presidents Putin and Erdogan may well claim to represent competing interests, but there is no daylight between them when it comes to their efforts to arrest journalists and silence their critics. If only they could silence us!

    Liked by 2 people

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