ISIL advance threatens whole region: Egypt foreign ministry

Joel Gulhane
2 Min Read
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP Photo)
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (AFP Photo)
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
(AFP Photo)

“The situation in Iraq is unprecedented in its severity,” the Egyptian foreign ministry has said, condemning the continued advance of extremist Sunni militants, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

In a Saturday statement the foreign ministry warned that ISIL’s “efforts to expand on Iraqi territory and control all aspects of the lives of Iraqis and its attempts to reshape Iraqi society through the displacement of minorities and threaten the cohesion of this Arab country is important in that it affects negatively on regional security as a whole”.

United States President Barack Obama approved two operations in Iraq last Thursday, the first to assist the thousands of civilians trapped on a mountain from which descent meant certain death, according to the US State Department. The second operation was a “series of targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel and to assist Iraqi forces as they fight to break ISIL’s siege of the mountain and also to protect the civilians trapped there”.

The Yezidi, a religious minority in Iraq, are the latest targets of ISIL’s brutal advance. Thousands of Yezidis fled to the mountains to escape inevitable execution; however they are now stranded without access to food or water.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said that the military action “must be accompanied by solutions and political understandings reached as soon as possible”, calling for the formation of a government “acceptable to all Iraqis”.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for unity in Iraq and the wider Arab world in the face of ISIL’s advance during his visit to Baghdad in July.

ISIL declared the revival of the Islamic Caliphate changing its banner to ‘Islamic State’, pledging to advance further than Iraq and Syria. The groups march into Iraq, which began in early June has seen the destruction of religious monuments and the slaughter of Shi’a Muslims, Kurds and the targeting of religious minorities such as the Yezidi community.

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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane