The international community's response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq driven by ISIS jihadists against minorities has been grossly inadequate and slow. The founding words of the United Nations -- "Never again" -- ring hollow as the UN and powerful member states lack the willpower to intervene and prevent the genocide of religious minorities, yet again.
As ISIS seeks to establish a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East, their advances "bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide" against communities and individuals who do not share their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities have been forced to convert, pay jizya and live in submission, or flee empty-handed.
There are plentiful accounts of the massacring of minority men, the kidnapping, rape and selling of minority women and even the murder of innocent minority children. ISIS militants killed at least 500 Yazidis, burying some alive and taking hundreds of women as slaves, an Iraqi government minister told Reuters Sunday. Cultural cleansing has reached unprecedented levels. With such abominable barbarities, humanity is facing a real incarnation of evil.
The UN Security Council's statement last week, condemning ISIS actions and calling on member states to provide humanitarian aid, rings hollow and shows duplicity when compared with others. The effacement of Europe on the international scene at this tragic moment is shameful.
President Obama has finally started to react, by authorizing limited air strikes to defend "American interests" in Iraq, bolster the threatened Kurdish region and deliver some humanitarian aid. Yet, the response is woefully inadequate. It falls far short of what the catastrophic situation on the ground requires. Essentially preserving the status quo, this response fails to make it an objective to drive the dark forces of ISIS into retreating. It also fails to recognize that ISIS is an international -- not just Iraqi -- problem, as a hotbed of terrorism makes roots in such a vital area.
In response to the current genocide and humanitarian crisis, the UN and its member states, especially the United States, need to take these six steps:
1. Authorize air strikes against ISIS by NATO or an alliance of willing countries.
2. Refer ISIS leaders to the International Criminal Court.
3. Create safe havens for the minority communities in Iraq and Syria.
4. Provide arms to the Kurdish Peshmerga for their self-defense and protection of the minorities who have sought refuge in the Kurdish-controlled region.
5. Expose and block the financial networks that support ISIS.
6. Develop a plan to assist refugees' return to their homes.
The West has blood on its hands by its past actions and inactions that helped "create" the current situation. Leaders of the international community bear responsibility for the agony and deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Now is the time for immediate action -- not for more empty, feel-good statements and posturing by the international community.