Leaders fear IS terror - "Tomorrow it could be Europe"
Foreign Affairs Minister says horror being inflicted by 'genocidal jihadis' can no longer be ignored, writes Carol Hunt
Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30
We can be assured it's not just a humanitarian problem but also a political and security crisis when Barack Obama and David Cameron are forced to interrupt their holiday plans.
"Iraq," to quote one commentator, "is a bloody mess". Meanwhile, Europe is finally facing up to the escalating horrors - and dangers - of what is happening in Northern Iraq.
Last Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Flanagan attended an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, which discussed the horrific brutalities being perpetuated in Iraq on innocent men, women and children by the Jihadi group now known throughout the world as IS (Islamic State).
"There are innocent men being shot and killed, women are being raped and sold into slavery," said Mr Flanagan, who was clearly shocked at what he had heard discussed at the extraordinary meeting, which also covered the situations in Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and Libya.
"These genocidal jihadis have no regard, no respect for life or humanity.
"There have already been 1.2 million people in Iraq displaced", he told me. "Ireland is actively supporting the international relief effort, including the provision of €500,000 in support of the work of UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq".
However, Mr Flanagan insisted that Ireland, as a neutral state, would not be supplying arms to the Kurds, as some EU states have agreed to do. "Ireland, Sweden and Austria agreed with the willingness of EU states to supply arms to Kurds but made clear that we won't be doing so," he said. "We are concentrating on the humanitarian crisis." And certainly the situation for IS victims across Iraq and Syria is devastatingly dangerous.
This week the UN declared its highest level of emergency for the crisis. "The murderous and the military advance of ISIS must be halted", said the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. More worryingly for Europe is the news that thousands of young men from the UK, EU and even the US have joined the ranks of the terror group.
Mr Flanagan said: "European ministers have appealed to young men in the UK and other European states to resist joining what is a brutal campaign of terror and oppression with no ideology at all. Their aim is purely to take power, terrorise and oppress".
And it's not just the men joining, IS is reportedly targeting young western women.
According to analysts at the SITE Intelligence Group, (a US organisation that tracks on-line activity by terrorist groups) "by creating content specifically targeted at female jihadi supporters, the Islamic State is able to establish a pipeline to assist western women in travelling to Syria to marry jihadi fighters."
IS is now the wealthiest terror group in the world. "These are crises which are of concern to our European neighbourhood, to our security and stability," said Italian foreign minister, Federica Mogherini.
Mr Flanagan added: "The French and Germans, in particular, are very concerned that today it's Syria and Northern Iraq but tomorrow it could be Europe".