ISIS and the Yazidis

How American Action Stopped a Genocide in Iraq


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About the Book

In 2014 the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were consolidating their control over a vast area of the Middle East. They singled out the Yazidis, adherents of an ancient monotheistic religion, for annihilation. Unlike Christians or Jews, who were seen as “people of the book,” Yazidis were classified as pagans and therefore subject to extermination. The men were to be executed and the women and children enslaved. In August ISIS fighters attacked Sinjar, an Iraqi city inhabited mostly by Yazidis. Some 50,000 panic-stricken civilians fled to Mount Sinjar in 110° heat with no food or water. The ISIS militants quickly surrounded the mountain and after several days people began to die of exposure, exhaustion, and dehydration.
This is a history of the ISIS attack on the Yazidis and the American response, which represented the opening salvo in the war against ISIS. With a potential genocide looming, President Barack Obama ordered the U.S. military into action in order to save the thousands of men, women and children desperately calling for help from Mount Sinjar. While the U.S. Air Force dropped tons of food, water, and supplies to those stranded, U.S. Navy aircraft attacked ISIS positions at the base of the mountain. In the following months the United States assembled a coalition of nations which, along with Kurdish militias, eventually destroyed the Islamic State, saved the Yazidis and liberated millions from the brutal rule of ISIS.

About the Author(s)

Benjamin Wood earned a graduate degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He briefly worked in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator Harry Reid and then taught U.S. history at Eldorado High School in Las Vegas for 30 years. He has had several articles published in Modern War, Military History, History and WWII.

Bibliographic Details

Benjamin Wood
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 190
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9065-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4849-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
1. Tribalism, Saddam Hussein, and the Genesis of ISIS 7
2. ISIS Devastates the Yazidi Community 29
3. Genocide in the Middle East through the Ages 60
4. Yazidi Stories of Survival and the War Against ISIS 93
5. Fighting the Islamic State in the Chaos of Syria 118
6. A Complicated Part of the World 140
Chapter Notes 163
Bibliography 171
Index 177