US warplanes have bombed Islamist fighters marching on Iraq’s Kurdish capital after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent ”genocide”.
Islamic State fighters, who have beheaded and crucified captives in their drive to eradicate unbelievers, have advanced to within a half hour’s drive of Arbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region and a hub for US oil companies.
They have also seized control of Iraq’s biggest dam, Kurdish authorities confirmed on Friday, which could allow them to flood cities and cut off vital water and electricity supplies.
A Pentagon spokesman said two F/A-18 aircraft from an aircraft carrier in the Gulf had dropped laser-guided 500-pound bombs on a mobile artillery piece used by the fighters to shell Kurdish forces defending Arbil.
Obama authorised the first US air strikes on Iraq since he pulled all troops out in 2011, arguing action was needed to halt the Islamist advance, protect Americans and safeguard hundreds of thousands of Christians and members of other religious minorities who have fled for their lives.
The lesson here is that it is easier to invade a country, than leave it. The US action in this regard is necessary to stop the slaughter.
In Baghdad, where politicians have been paralysed by infighting while the state falls apart, the top Shi’ite cleric all but demanded Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki quit, a bold intervention that could bring the veteran ruler down.
Which is necessary. Maliki is primary responsible for the rise of ISIS.