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Can U.S. Intervention Keep Iraqi Minorities Safe?


Mark Arabo, San Diego businessman, Chaldean community member and Iraqi Christians spokesman.

Bahar Davary, University of San Diego associate professor of theology and religious studies.

Ric Epps, San Diego State University political science professor.


The situation in Iraq, both in the northern region and in the capital of Baghdad, has been changing daily.

American airstrikes have allowed Kurdish troops to help thousands of stranded Yazidi people from their mountain refuge to relative safety. Kurdish forces have also recaptured two towns from Islamic State militants.

In Baghdad, a new prime minister has been named, but the previous prime minister is refusing to step down — and there are fears of a military coup.

"For our community, it’s been a compete nightmare — and it went from a living nightmare to a living hell," Mark Arabo said, a San Diego resident and spokesman for the Iraqi Christian community.

Arabo told KPBS Evening Edition he has heard from hundreds of Chaldeans living in San Diego about losing all contact — or worse — with relatives in Iraq.

"Some of them have told us they’ve already been slaughtered or killed," Arabo said. "This is a full-blown genocide.”

University of San Diego associate professor of theology and religious studies Bahar Davary told Evening Edition although many people might believe U.S. military intervention can stop the current crisis, she noted it's also partially to blame for the current crisis.

“If we can learn from the recent history, we know that the bombing of Afghanistan — where food and bombs were dropped together — were not helpful and this is what’s happening right now in Iraq," Davary said. "If the region is not stabilized — and that doesn’t happen with bombing, that doesn’t happen with arming this group or that group — it takes much more humanitarian aid than weapons."

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