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‘We Broke the ISIL Siege,’ Obama Declares; Pentagon Not Doing ‘Happy Dances’ Over Yazidis Left

Numbers questions: Ten of thousands stranded on mountain, 1,000 evacuated per night over past week, now U.S. estimates 5,000 remain.

by
Bridget Johnson

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August 14, 2014 - 5:25 pm
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WASHINGTON — President Obama took credit today for liberating Yazidis cornered by the Islamic State on Mount Sinjar while the Pentagon acknowledged that they’re not doing a “happy dance” over the members of the persecuted minority still suffering in the inhospitable environment.

From his vacation spot in Massachusetts, Obama declared a mission accomplished of sorts for the military and humanitarian action he approved a week ago.

“We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yazidi civilians in their custody and laying siege to the mountain,” Obama said. “Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice: starve on the mountain or be slaughtered on the ground. That’s when America came to help.”

“Because of the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people, we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar, we helped vulnerable people reach safety, and we helped save many innocent lives,” he continued. “Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain. And it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.”

Obama acknowledged “the situation remains dire for Iraqis subject to ISIL’s terror throughout the country.”

“And this includes minorities like Yazidis and Iraqi Christians. It also includes many Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds,” he said. “…We obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the situation, and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our international partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well. We will continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq.”

Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported today that the danger on the mountain is far from over, even though the Peshmerga opened a route for Yazidis to flee. One mother told the news agency how ISIS terrorists raped her three daughters, then sent them up to join their family — where the anguished girls committed suicide by leaping from Mount Sinjar.

“Another Halabja is happening to us,” a woman praying for death told a reporter, referencing the gassing of the Kurds by Saddam Hussein. “We are disabled, we can’t walk anymore. No food, no water, our children have all died.”

At the Pentagon today, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was “very proud that we’ve been able to effect this kind of change around Mount Sinjar.”

It was the assessment of a small team that there weren’t as many Yazidis as previously thought on the mountain and some pallets of supplies had been untouched, leading the administration to drop any plans for evacuation efforts.

Kirby said about half of the 25 airstrikes conducted thus far have been to “hit ISIL targets in and around Erbil with respect to the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities” — and those strikes “put a hurting on” ISIS — and the other half were around Mount Sinjar.

“On the estimate of refugees on Mount Sinjar, it’s difficult to provide an exact figure, but we think it’s somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000. I’d also add that a number of them, perhaps up to 2,000 or so — and, again, this is an estimate — reside there and may not want to leave. It’s home to many of them. So not all of them will necessarily be looking to leave the mountain,” he said. “That’s our best estimate right now, based on the assessment team’s visit there.”

Kirby said they do believe “there were tens of thousands of Yazidis on that mountain,” but “certainly more than 1,000 or so every night were leaving the mountain with Peshmerga help, again, because of the security and the sustenance that we provided.”

“I think it’d be difficult and imprudent to think that we could know everything simply by flying over a mountain even 24/7. So we made the best estimates we could based on the limited picture we had from the air,” he said, adding that Hagel sent the “less than” 20-member assessment team to the mountain “because there’s no substitute for getting eyes on.”

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Top Rated Comments   
"...we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar..."

I literally began to feel sick to my stomach as I read this, delivered "from his vacation spot in Massachussetts."

And I would also like to point out that Obama and Hagel are not The Pentagon, and they are not DOD. They are the ones preventing the DOD from taking any truly effective action.

It is sickening to watch the most vile evil I have ever seen (aside from individuals) be given free reign while the means to destroy or contain it before it metastasizes are clearly available. Even the Nazis took pains to conceal their evil from the eyes of their own people and the world. These people are so thoroughly evil, they celebrate and gleefully showcase their evil to the world.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this community organizer really thinks he has stopped ISIS than I have a really nice bridge to sell him, cheap here in Chicago.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
At the Pentagon today, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was “very proud that we’ve been able to effect this kind of change around Mount Sinjar.”

So is the Pentagon's new slogan, "Celebrate the Mediocre" or "A Job Half Done is Close Enough These Days"?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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Ok B.O. you broke the siege, now where are y ou going to move these people to put them out of harm's way.

What a joke,
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow people here have apparently given up on patriotism. America uses its resources to save people being hounded by some of the most perverse people on the planet and you make fun of America. If this is not proof that people here just only going against anything Obama says, I do not know what is. We broke the advances of IS, we are arming the Kurds, and political change is coming to Baghdad. The problem is being address correctly.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Yay me, we pulled three drowning Titanic passengers out of the freezing ocean! We didn't save more because there were fewer survivors than we thought. So out of a couple hundred survivors in the water, we're cool with the three we saved. Therefore, we won't be bothering to try and rescue any more. Plus, some are actually on top of the floating debris from the ship and they seem pretty content there. We'll just leave 'em be."
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disinformation
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only people that should be doing any sort of "Happy Dance" are the guys and gals that actually put their butts on the line. Pentagon air conditioned office workers should be respectful and proud but they need to stay out of the fray.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's the word "genocide" that spooked Obama into sending in some planes. He couldn't allow it to be said that he sat back and allowed a genocide to happen.

But in his mind "genocide" means "everybody dies". So if even 1% survive, well, that's not a genocide anymore, so he's off the hook. That's all he cares about.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar..."

I literally began to feel sick to my stomach as I read this, delivered "from his vacation spot in Massachussetts."

And I would also like to point out that Obama and Hagel are not The Pentagon, and they are not DOD. They are the ones preventing the DOD from taking any truly effective action.

It is sickening to watch the most vile evil I have ever seen (aside from individuals) be given free reign while the means to destroy or contain it before it metastasizes are clearly available. Even the Nazis took pains to conceal their evil from the eyes of their own people and the world. These people are so thoroughly evil, they celebrate and gleefully showcase their evil to the world.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby" -- does he dimple prettily and have an engaging lisp? That's now a flag rank job? God help us.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The real qualification of the job is being able to say whatever you are told without vomiting and while smiling.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
This highlights that Erbil, the economic showcase and capital of Kurd territory is off-limits from an American point of view. It also highlights how vulnerable ISIS is from the air when concentrated and caught out in the open.

One wonders if there is a use for propeller-driven ground attack aircraft in these new lower tech military scenarios. Our own A-10 Thunderbolts have flown thousands of sorties in the 21st century. Although it's a jet, it's speed doesn't greatly surpass that of the P-51 Mustang.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this community organizer really thinks he has stopped ISIS than I have a really nice bridge to sell him, cheap here in Chicago.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is so cowardly & so o!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why does lie o every time he opens his mouth?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
50 years of practice
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
On account of personal experience and heredity.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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