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Dramatic Humanitarian Missions Amid Fighting in Iraq

MOUNT SINJAR, IRAQ -- A dramatic rescue mission is under way to save thousands of people trapped by ISIS militants in northern Iraq. A local expert who spent years advising the U.S. government in the Middle East weighs in on why we're getting involved again.
MOUNT SINJAR, IRAQ -- A dramatic humanitarian rescue mission is under way to help thousands of people stranded on a desolate mountain in northern Iraq. Watch the video, showing tense moments witnessed by CNN International Correspondent Ivan Watson.

The fight against terrorist group Isis in Iraq continues to escalate.

For the last few days the United States has carried out air strikes against the group.

And Monday our government began arming Kurds in northern Iraq.

"We are, right now, gripped by the immediacy of the crisis," Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville of the U.S. Army said.

Mitchell Moffitt of Springfield has spent several years working for the U.S. in the Middle East, Iraq in particular.

He explained why the U.S. has increased its involvement this weekend.

"It's all about a group of terrorists. They want anybody that's not following them, they are terrorist extremists," Moffitt said.

"They're doing genocide, so did Saddam that's exactly one of Saddam's biggest problems he was doing genocide of the Kurds, of the Yezidi," he said.

Isis is targeting the Kurds, or Yezidi, who are allies of the U.S. and live in northern Iraq.

"The Yezidi are an amazing people. If you go up into the north it looks like downtown Chicago," Moffitt said, "A lot of countries, not just America, a lot of countries put a lot of money into that part of the country."

Last week Isis moved closer to the Kurdish capital Erbil and that's when the U.S. airstrikes began.

"Their weapons were in range of Erbil which is where our consulate is, which is where our people are, our Marines, all the other people that are up there that are American related," he said.

Monday the U.S. also began arming the Kurdish ground forces.

"The Kurds need additional arms, we are providing those," State Dept. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

"We're going to do what we need to do to protect our facilities, protect our embassy, to protect our American citizens," Lt. Gen. Mayville said.

Moffitt said the U.S. State Department has a challenging job moving forward.

Protecting American interests, while balancing political and religious conflicts.

The United States and Britain are also carrying out humanitarian missions in northern Iraq for thousands of Kurdish refugees trying to escape Isis.
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