ALDE deputy Marietje Schaake has criticised the ‘lack of clear response’ to the crises in Iraq and Syria while ECR MEP Charles Tannock has condemened the actions of Islamic State (IS) in the region.
Their reactions come as thousands of Yazidis, as many as 150,000, flee to Mount Sinjar, a barren region of Iraq, to escape violence at the hands of IS.
The ensuing humanitarian crisis – many have already lost their lives due to lack of food and water – has prompted aid drops from the US, and air strikes in a bid to protect the stranded refugees.
Schaake told the Parliament Magazine, “The lack of a clear EU response to the crisis in Iraq and Syria is unacceptable. There is an immediate need to protect people from the extremely violent terrorists of IS.
“Women and children are particularly vulnerable,” continued the Dutch parliamentarian, “Additionally, humanitarian aid must reach people in need.
“The EU must work with the US, Turkey and the Iraqi army to stop the patch of destruction these violent Jihadists leave behind and to ensure aid is airdropped or otherwise distributed,” she explained, stating, “Only then can we continue to work towards longer term reforms towards the rule of law and good governance.”
“It is essential that we work together in Europe to prevent the recruitment of Europeans to these terrorist organisations, and to ensure there is active prevention of attacks in Europe, particularly upon the return of these fighters,” urged the D66 member.
“The crisis in Iraq is yet another reminder of how much we need an effective EU foreign and security policy. A divided Europe is a weak Europe,” she concluded.
UK deputy Tannock strongly condemned the actions of IS in Iraq saying, “The horror of the recent fall of Qaraqosh, following the withdrawal of Kurdish forces, as well as the reports of mass executions by IS of Christians who refuse to convert to Islam, is numbing. So are the summary executions of Yazidis without trial.
“These are clearly crimes under international humanitarian law but the UN announcements to this effect are not having any deterrent effect on these brutal callous murderers.”
But, he added, “Nevertheless I welcome the reported rescue efforts by the UN of trapped Yazidis on Mount Sinjar.
“There are disturbing reports of 100,000 non-Sunni Muslims fleeing Nineveh to the Kurdistan regional government in recent days.
“I salute the efforts of Kurdish forces to defend the territory south east of Mosul and to house so many refugees, but clearly the financial and military resources of Islamic State are far greater than first thought, resulting in Kurdish military withdrawal.
“I also strongly support the call from Pope Francis to mobilise all humanitarian help to the refugees, including additional EU emergency assistance to the KRG to rehouse them,” he added.
“However, I also believe that it is now necessary due to a massive humanitarian crisis and in the face of an onslaught by jihadi fanatics to supply the Kurdistan regional government Peshmergas (KRG) with sufficient military means to defend themselves and the integrity of the KRG, and to ensure the security of the ethnic and religious minorities under their protection.”
“IS regrettably has some of the best military equipment looted from Iraq, or sadly allegedly supplied directly by certain neighbouring Gulf countries,” he said .
“The huge menace to regional and global stability posed now by IS requires military assistance to friendly governments… and that has to mean assisting the moderate and secular Erbil KRG government under president Massoud Barzani,” he finished.
Written for theparliamentmagazine.eu