By Douglas Burton: The evidence is devastating. But for nearly six months Iraq watchers have been asking, “Why in God’s name will the Obama Administration not declare a Christian genocide?”
As mass killings continue unabated in Iraq and Syria at the hands of the Islamic State, the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2016, took forceful action to certify that genocide has taken place there. House Resolution 75, co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-NE, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-CA, passed 393 to 0 on Monday after months of deliberation.
The Resolution calls upon the Secretary of State to declare the genocide formally according to a U.N. Convention of 1948, which defines genocide as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.”
Secretary Kerry has until Thursday to make a declaration one way or the other, as mandated by a little-noticed provision in the House Omnibus Bill passed last year, although the State Department spokesman, John Kirby, refused to say if he will make that deadline, the Washington Times reported.
1. Christians Systematically Being Killed
In case more evidence was needed, the Knights of Columbus and the nonprofit organization In Defense of Christians (IDC) published an exhaustive 278 page study of the Christian Genocide on March 10th and held a press conference at the National Press Club to put an exclamation point on it.
The heart-breaking report includes 53 pages of charts detailing hundreds of attacks against named Christians in Syria and Iraq during just the last three years, including mass beheadings, torture of children and rapes of young girls; a list of 1130 names of individuals murdered, including the dates and places of execution; a list of 125 churches, monasteries, and convents destroyed and desecrated. There are reports of parents who were crucified to the doors of their residences, while their families stood in horror. Apart from the differences in scale, the compilation of crimes brings to mind comparison to the tortures committed by Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust.
“The report has unearthed many stories that the world has not heard,” according to a statement from In Defense of Christians. These include “the stories of women like ‘Claudia,’ who was captured and raped several times after ISIS militants spotted her tattoo of a cross; or like Khalia who fought off ISIS militants as they tried to rape captive girls and take a nine year old as a bride,” IDC states.
2. Christian Are Being Targeted
In fact, the ISIS price list of women and children is included on page 203 of the report: the price of a child, either Christian or Yazidi, aged from 1 to 9 years is about $200. The price of a woman, either Yazidi or Christian, from 10 to 20 years is about $150 or the equivalent in dinars.
“It has become clear that this [report] still represents only the tip of the iceberg. We are being sent new stories and evidence daily. So what is known about ISIS’ genocidal atrocities will only increase,” according to IDC press release.
Many have speculated for months as to why the State Department has been dragging its feet to make the genocide declaration.
Andrew Walther, vice president for media and communications at the Knights, has said that the State Department is parsing through every piece of evidence and weighing the legal consequences. And what are those consequences?
Declaring genocide may oblige the U.S. government to escalate its war effort in Northern Iraq and to invest resources to find and prosecute the perpetrators of genocide. Not only that, but the U.S. government might find it harder to negotiate a settlement with government leaders, who themselves are the targets of a genocide enquiry, according to Bradford Richardson of the Washington Times.
3. ISIS Beheadings Continue
Since ISIS does not have a regime recognized by the United States, that conclusion suggests that the Administration might be worried about tying its hands in a negotiated settlement with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who has been the target of the Obama administration’s regime change agenda for five years. Yet, as everyone knows, the Syrian regime is not beheading Christians or enslaving women.
What else would explain the reluctance to declare genocide at Foggy Bottom?
“The Administration is concerned that if it declares a Christian genocide in Iraq would it not also be obliged to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan and other countries?” asks Robert Destro, director of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.
The point was made all the more relevant when one of the panelists observed that 17 people, including four nuns, had been murdered at an elder care center in Aden by ISIS just one week ago. “Notice that the U.S. government talks about the killings in Libya, or the killings in Syria, or the killings in Nigeria. They don’t want us to look at the big picture,” Prof. Destro said.
4. Only Fear Remains
Declaring genocide would require action, perhaps in multiple states. That might mean taking a big bite out of a tough steak only nine months before Barak Obama plans to push away from the table in Washington.
Douglas Burton, a former State Department official in Iraq, writes on the Middle East from Washington, D.C.
5. ISIS Soldiers Instill Fear
6. Rounding Up Christians
7. Next Images Get Graphic
8. WARNING Very Graphic Next
9. STOP Extreme Graphic Next
10. STOP Most Extreme Next
11. PRAY for the Victims
12. Pray for Peace