When the United States invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq, it signaled a shift in our foreign policy towards the Middle East. Despite, claiming that we were going to democratize the country and rid it of nuclear weapons, the former has not really happened and the latter has been proven a myth. What remains is a country that is struggling financially, economically and socially. In the aftermath of the Iraq wars, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has taken control of much of the country while committing atrocity after atrocity against the innocent Iraqis. As ISIL has been slowly pushed out of Syria, their retreat into Iraq requires a renewed international focus and plan of action to prevent the innocent from being targeted and harmed. The number of dead in Iraq are simply staggering. In 2014 alone, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported at least 12,280 civilian deaths.
Many Iraqis have sought refuge in the Kurdistan region of the country. This, however, raises another big concern. Iraq is one of the most landmine contaminated countries in the entire world. Kurdistan in particular is heavily mined and this is a huge problem given the number of Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian migrants fleeing across the Syrian border. Fortunately, the international community has since responded to these atrocities. On August 15th of 2015, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2170, which condemns “gross, systematic and widespread abuses” by both ISIL and Iraqi-affiliated groups operating in the region.
While stopping ISIL is of paramount importance, it is equally important that the lives of civilians are protected at all costs.The number of deaths that continue to pile up is completely unacceptable and governments around the world bear a responsibility to step in. Until some sort of relative peace is established, it is essentially impossible for international organizations and NGOs to go in and give citizens much needed food, water, medical care, and other basic supplies. Now is the time for action. Not 4-5 years from now when hundreds of thousands lay dead because the international community was to scared to act.