EU Agrees to Arm Kurds: ‘Iraq is on the Brink of a True Catastrophe’

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | August 15, 2014 | 4:47 PM EDT

"First they came for the Christians, then us. If the international community will not step in, all of us will be destroyed," said a Yezidi man interviewed by BBC correspondent Paul Wood. The poorly-armed Kurds are the only military force that stands between the extinction of Yezidis and Christians still in Iraq at the hands of ISIS forces.

Iraq now has one of the largest populations of displaced persons in the world with over 2 million people displaced due to the "convert, or die" demands of the Islamic State forces.

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President Obama said in a statement yesterday that "America came to help" the Yezidis stranded on the mountain, and that "the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts."

Lest one forget that there are 2 million displaced Christians and other minorities in Iraq that still face the same threat of extinction, Obama acknowledged that their situation "remains dire" and that "we're going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq, wherever we have capabilities and we can carry out effective missions like the one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on the ground."

Meanwhile the EU today, in an extremely rare move, has agreed to arm the Kurds. Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said that the Islamic State (IS) is a "terrible threat" and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, said: "Iraq is on the brink of a true catastrophe. A million people in Iraq are fleeing their homes. In northern Iraq, in the Kurdish part, Yazidis and Christians are being persecuted and slaughtered."

France agreed to send weapons to the Kurds Wednesday, calling the situation "catastrophic."