Only the Kurds can do that and, as the US and most of Europe - EU foreign ministers met in emergency session in Brussels yesterday to discuss the issue - HAVE now recognised, they must be provided with the ammunition, equipment and intelligence that they need.
The fundamental reason for our failure is that democracy, as we understand it, simply doesn’t work in Middle Eastern countries where family, tribe, sect and personal friendships trump the apparatus of the state.As I write, the immediate crisis on Mount Sinjar appears to have been resolved but the appalling scenes which have dominated our television screens in recent weeks and the graphic reports in newspapers have galvanised public opionion. One million people have been displaced since Islamic State militants took over swathes of Northern Iraq.People demand that we do all in our power to help the Christians and the Yasidis who are being so viciously persecuted. Yesterday, the governor of Dohuk province warned of a “genocide”, as hundreds of thousands sought refuge there. This requires a realistic appraisal of the situation on the ground and of our capacity to change it.While it may be necessary to have a very small number of special forces in a position to direct air strikes, we cannot allow “mission creep” to take over.Before long the very presence of Western forces generates resentment and hostility.There was a huge turnout by the majority Shia’ who must have been amazed at the naivety of their occupiers.