Northern Iraq is rich with oil and natural gas and what is playing out is a battle for these resources by the Kurds and Sunnis in the wake of the departure of Baghdad's control and army. In effect we have become the Kurdish Air Force in protecting the gains the Kurds have made since this crisis began in June.
President Obama's announcement that the US will protect 40,000 Yazidis trapped on Iraq's Sinjar Mountain is a decisive response to an unfolding humanitarian disaster. Airdrops of water and food will save lives. The Yazidis, however, will not really be safe until they can get off the desert mountain and back to their homes in Sinjar.
ISIS has attacked the Yazidi people -- a sect of the Kurds -- in Iraq. The jihadists have driven the survivors to the slopes of Mt. Sinjar, where the Yazidi are running out of food, water and hope. Who are the Yazidi? Why is ISIS after them, why have Sunni and Shi'a attacked them in the past, and why are they at risk of genocide now?