When is it genocide? U.S. interests help decide

McClatchy

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has said the U.S. military intervention in Iraq this week is motivated in part by an urgent need to stop genocide of the Yazidi, members of an obscure religious sect who are stranded on a mountain in Iraq, dying of thirst and hunger. But the assertion is filled with contradictions.

Why did the administration decide to take military action now, but previously didn’t act to stop the killing of Shiites and Christians in the same region, or the slaughter of civilians in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or other places around the world? The answer may have more to do with U.S. strategic interests and geopolitics than ethics.

“What’s driving it is the sense that letting (the Islamic State) burn itself out is not working,” said Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While the Yazidis’ plight is desperate, Alterman said he could imagine a number of other places in the world where the same number of people being threatened would not provoke a direct U.S. military response.

But the deteriorating situation in northern Iraq _ and the inability of America’s allies to constrain the Islamic State _ pushed the administration to act.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/08/235920/when-is-it-genocide-us-interests.html#storylink=cpy

 

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