The Obama administration has tiptoed around this point for the last two years, ever since ISIS broke out and began its rampage in western Iraq. The terrorist quasi-state has conducted not one, but several genocides — against Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and even against Arabs of other Muslim sects. Definitions of genocide include mass murders, rape and sexual slavery, and forced relocations — and ISIS has committed all of these acts. Despite this, the White House has refused to use the “g” word, as it will force them into action.
Today, the House wants to make them say it:
The House is poised Monday to approve a resolution that declares the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East — putting even more pressure on the Obama administration to do the same ahead of a deadline later this week.
The resolution passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee with unanimous support and is expected to pass the House with bipartisan backing.
The resolution comes to a vote Monday evening, just days after the release of a graphic new report by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians on ISIS’ atrocities. The report made the case that the terror campaign against Christians and other minorities in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East is in fact genocide.
“When ISIS systematically targets Christians, Yezidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities for extermination, this is not only a grave injustice—it is a threat to civilization itself,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., said in a statement. “We must call the violence by its proper name: genocide.”
The bill has 210 co-sponsors, Fox reports, 62 of whom are Democrats. It will take a two-thirds vote in the House to pass the bill, but with 62 Democrats as co-sponsors and a unanimous endorsement from the committee, that seems assured. The only way this could get derailed is if the White House tries to whip the vote to oppose it, which would be … a rather difficult public-relations challenge.
That’s especially true given the makeup of this administration. Susan Rice serves as national security adviser, and Samantha Power as ambassador to the United Nations, both of whom leveled devastating criticisms of the Clinton administration’s brush-off of the genocides in Rwanda and in the Balkans. Power wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Balkans failure, while Rice later pledged, “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.” Despite the obvious genocides conducted by ISIS in the Syrian-Iraq region, though, they and the administration they serve remain remarkably tight-lipped about it.
If this resolution passes the House, it will make it much more difficult to keep quiet about it. Not impossible, but at least more difficult — as it should be. As Jazz wrote on Saturday, “who are we worried about offending here?”