September 22, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5845

'Al-Hayat' Editor: Yazidis, Mosul Christians Can Hold Obama Responsible For Their Suffering

September 22, 2014
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 5845

Ghassan Charbel, editor of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, published an article in which he blamed the U.S. for the horrors taking place in Iraq, including the ethnic cleansing of minorities from areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). He claimed that the Yazidis and the Mosul Christians could hold Obama responsible for their suffering because he has not done enough to help them.[1]According to Charbel, the U.S. has a moral responsibility towards Iraq, because its invasion of this country in 2003 created the chaos that ultimately gave rise to IS terrorism. However, says Charbel, instead of taking responsibility for this chaos, Obama ignores it and leaves the poor civilians to the mercy of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

It should be mentioned that Charbel's position is shared by many writers, who likewise blame Obama's policy for the rise of the IS.[2]

The following are excerpts from his article:[3]

Ghassan Charbel (image:

"The terrified Yazidi woman on Mount Sinjar counted her family members. The tally broke her heart. Those who did not arrive with her never would. She fled quickly and convinced herself that they had too. They never arrived. Her two sons and her daughter. Left to the mercy of ISIS. And this 'merciful' organization beheads the infidels, crucifies them, or buries them alive. Left to the mercy of the caliph. He likes his state clean and pure and will not tolerate toxic weeds in his garden.

"Who will the terrified Yazidi woman turn to? She won't call on [Arab League Secretary-General] Nabil Al-'Arabi, because his company [the Arab League] is known to be bankrupt. She won't call on [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon, because he has nothing [to offer her] but his own tears. She won't call on the Iraqi army, since it has already fallen to ISIS and given it the best of its weapons as a gift. She won't call on the Peshmerga, since their weapons are too meager for this campaign. There is but one element [she can turn to]. She spread her arms and said: 'Where is America? Where is Obama?'

"James, who is fleeing Mosul, masked his tears with rage. He said that Mosul is the land of his grandfather and his grandfather's grandfather. They have deep roots there, and many passing storms failed to rob them of their home or small garden. He asked himself how Abu Hurayra the American, Abu Ahmed the Belgian, and Abu Bilal the Australian[4] have the right to uproot him from his land. It must have slipped his mind that the caliph likes Mosul clean of toxic weeds. The [Church] bells bother him. The monasteries anger him. The [Christian] scripture provokes him. The caliph is sensitive and moody. He cannot [stand] the Shabak people[5] or the Shi'ites. His greatest enemy is the moderate Sunni who says that diversity is an asset, that Islam is the religion of tolerance, and that imposing a dress code is a crime.

"James did not say he wanted to return to Mosul. He said he wanted to move to a distant country. He wanted to get away from the caliph and his state. He wants to emigrate. So he said: 'Where is America? Where is Obama?'

"The caliph is serious and does not joke around. He despises international borders, constitutions, manmade laws, elections, human rights, civil society, and the right to be different. In his state you are not allowed to drink from another spring or have a different heritage, [traditional] song or instrument, or garb. For all these ills he has one cure – execution. A different color means disloyalty. Otherness means subversion. A lack of uniformity is a threat. [The verdict is] execution.

"Where did ISIS come from? How was it born and how did it grow into a predatory beast, an existential threat to nations, societies, and people? Where did it get these comprehensive skills and proficiencies in [operating] the media, waging battles across thousands of kilometers, selling oil, amassing dollars, and producing suicide bombers and explosive devices? What is the origin of this plague, which is worse and more able to spread than Ebola?

"The Yazidi woman is entitled to treat Barack Obama as a criminal. He quickly fled with his soldiers, leaving Iraq in the hands of the spiteful lovers of anonymous corpses and assassinations. He pretended to forget that his own country invaded Iraq, and that one of its witless administrators ordered to dismantle the Iraqi army. He ignored his moral responsibility. He spared American blood, leaving us [to drown] in lakes of blood.

"The Al-Sheitaat tribe, which has lost hundreds to ISIS, is [also] entitled to treat Obama as a criminal.[6] He was cavalier and irresponsible regarding the Syrian conflagration, misleading regime opponents [there] with false hopes and illusions. He demanded that the head of the regime [Bashar Assad] step down without understanding the nature of the regime and the [regional] power balance. He promised the opponents support and later skirted his responsibility. He did not anticipate the danger of abandoning Syrian territory to extremist foreign fighters... He did not leverage his country's clout to impose a realistic solution. If the Syrian blaze were put out early, ISIS would never have reared its head, and the caliph would never have managed to uproot the toxic weeds. The weapons that Obama refused the Syrian opposition fell into 'the wrong hands' in Iraq. An entire American arsenal proved its effectiveness in the hands of ISIS against the Kurds and on Syrian soil.

"To be fair to the caliph, our region was a harsh place even before he appeared. The dictator [there] would uproot his opposition, along with their family and neighbors. He would terrorize minorities in order to restrain them and [compel them] to swear fealty to him, and then he would he grant them his patronage. [But] ISIS is a different matter. It does not desire to restrain opponents – it wishes to erase them forever... Minorities are toxic weeds. Minorities are sleeper cells. Their eyes are the eyes of hellfire. They dream of secret reports in the service of the enemies. The solution is executing and executing. The solution is uprooting the toxic weeds.

"The caliph is overdoing the celebration of his 'conquests.' The sands of this region are boggy and treacherous, and there will not be room for the storms coming out the caves for very much longer. The future is mercurial."


[1] Charbel published this article after the U.S. had already begun airstrikes in Iraq. Obama claimed that U.S. attacks helped lift the siege from the Yazidi stronghold city of Sinjar. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 15, 2014.

[2] See Khiled Al-Dakhil, Al-Hayat (London) August 10, 2014; Saleh Al-Qallab, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 14, 2014; 'Abd Al-Wahhab Baderkhan, Al-Hayat (London) August 21, 2014; Mamoun Fandy, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 8, 2014.

[3] Al-Hayat (London), August 18, 2014.

[4] Nicknames of individuals who came from these countries and are now fighting with the IS in Syria and Iraq. On Abu Hurayra , see MEMRI JTTM report, "In Video, American Suicide Bomber Warns Obama, Other Leaders, 'We Are Coming For You,' References Lecture By Anwar Al-Awlaki On Joining Jihad," July 28, 2014.

[5] A religious and ethnic minority in northern Iraq.

[6] A Syrian tribe that refused to surrender to ISIS. The organization killed 700 of its members as a lesson to others.

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