“The only way we can truly protect the Yazidis, as well as the minority Christians in northern Iraq, is for U.S. and United Nations forces to be on the ground,” said Mirza Ismail, who heads the Yazidi Human Rights Organization International, a loosely knit network of Yazidi groups in the U.S., Canada and Iraq.

“This is a genocide,” said Mr. Ismail, who added that Washington appears blind to the reality that the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is exploiting the crisis involving Yazidi and Christian populations in order to manipulate Western powers into providing heavy weaponry to Kurdish militia groups known as the peshmerga.

“We hope the U.S. understands what the KRG is doing and what their goal actually is,” he said, adding that many Yazidis “see the KRG as a partner in this genocide.”