The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

U.S. Weighing Response To Potential ‘Humanitarian Catastrophe’ In Iraq

By David Lauter, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are “closely monitoring” a potential “humanitarian catastrophe” in northern Iraq but will not be sending combat troops back to the country, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

Earnest said the United States would cooperate with Iraqi military and Kurdish authorities in the volatile region, but he declined to respond to several questions about whether the United States would consider any military action to protect refugees fleeing advancing Sunni militants.

“I’m not in position to shed light on the president’s thinking” on the subject, Earnest said.

In emphasizing that the U.S. would not send combat troops to Iraq, he said that there are “no American military solutions” to the country’s problems. However, he left open the possibility that President Barack Obama might take other actions to support humanitarian efforts in the region. Those could include airdrops of food or water and airstrikes designed to secure supply routes.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis, mostly from the Yazidi religious minority and Christian groups in northern Iraq, have fled in recent days as the Sunni militants from the Islamic State have seized control of towns in northern Iraq.

Many refugees have taken shelter in barren mountains in the area. Kurdish authorities, who control much of northern Iraq, and international aid groups have said that many of the refugees face death from thirst or starvation.

The minority communities have been “specifically targeted” in a “cold and calculated” way, Earnest said. The United States is “deeply concerned” about their condition and has been consulting with the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities about how to help, he said.

AFP Photo/Safin Hamed

Interested in world news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rev. Al Sharpton, near left, with members of Tyre Nichols' family

Youtube Screenshot

Black Lives Matter.

Now, can everyone understand the desperate, defiant power of those three words? Can all those who tried to act as though they didn’t get why the phrase needed to be said — over and over — finally stop pretending?

Keep reading...Show less

Vladimir Putin

Youtube Screenshot

Militarily and politically as well as economically, the war in Ukraine has been a major drain on Russia. President Vladimir Putin and his allies in the Kremlin were hoping for a quick, easy invasion, but Ukrainian forces have been much more skillful fighters than Putin anticipated.

Moreover, the invasion of Ukraine has had an unintended consequence: the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Sweden and Finland, for many years, stayed out of NATO; in 2022, they applied for membership. And U.S. President Joe Biden, in contrast to former President Donald Trump’s anti-NATO views, has welcomed NATO’s expansion.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}