I watched the news today, trying to contain a feeling somewhere between a wry grin, and outright rage. The military success of the Islamic fundamentalist organisation ISIS (now called ‘Islamic State’) in Iraq has caused the flight of many people from the city of Erbil, which is currently in danger of being overrun by this group. The Kurdish Peshmerga army can no longer stop the advance of the militants, and there is grave concern for non-Islamic religious groups in the area. On the TV, there was a lot of discussion about a possible genocide against these groups, and many civilians have fled into the hills, to avoid any contact with ISIS fighters. There are Americans in this city too. As well as consular staff, there are other civilians, ground troops and advisers. The general feeling seems to be that there is little chance of stopping ISIS eventually reaching Baghdad, and taking control of the country. This would result in a Taliban-style government, fiercely opposed to all non-Muslims, and foreigners of any kind. Some might argue that this would always be the eventual outcome of the war against Iraq, and the subsequent destabilisation of the region.
However, the current US administration is not about to give up that easily. Using the justification of ‘humanitarian aid’, because of the refugees from Erbil, (and the presence there of Americans) they have commenced air strikes against ISIS positions around the city. President Obama has been on television laying out his reasons for intervention, and the British Government has shown support for this action, and pledged to assist with logistical help, and humanitarian aid for the civilians in danger. The western powers do not want to sit by and watch innocent civilians put in danger, or lose their lives, because of the actions of an aggressive, well-equipped, religious fundamentalist army, intent on overwhelming all opposition.
So what about Gaza then? No help for the Palestinians? Are they not in the same situation? They are being overwhelmed by a superior force, intent on their destruction. This force is determined, very well-equipped, and has a religious agenda just as plainly stated. It also cares little for the loss of civilian lives, and is pursuing its campaign irregardless of opposition from many countries in the world, as well as the United Nations. So why are Obama’s jets not attacking Israeli tanks, to stop them killing innocent people in Gaza? And why is the British government not pledging humanitarian aid to the Palestinian civilians, who are equally in danger of losing their lives?
I think we all know the answers to those questions.