The atrocious crimes perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) risk plunging Iraq into catastrophe as the country reels from bitter sectarian tensions and a growing humanitarian crisis affecting over 5 million people, top United Nations officials warned today, as they called on the international community to increase efforts in aiding Iraq’s full transition towards a stable democracy.
Briefing the UN Security Council this morning, UN envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, delivered an ominous assessment of the on-the-ground situation in Iraq, amid an ongoing offensive perpetrated by ISIL militants and a growing number of internally displaced persons (IPDs) fleeing the brutal violence.
“ISIL’s strategy is obvious – to insert themselves in the ethnic and religious fault lines of Iraq, to undermine legitimate authorities and to spread fear among all communities,” said Nickolay Mladenov in his address to the Council. “Their goals are also clear – to destroy the Iraqi State and replace it with a ‘State of Terror’ built on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Such a “State of Terror” governed by ISIL and spanning the territory of Iraq and neighbouring Syria would then ultimately seek to advance on the rest of the region, warned Mr. Mladenov, destabilize bordering States and “threaten global peace and security.”
The emergence of ISIL as a cogent threat to the democratic and humanitarian stability of Iraq has been steady yet devastating. Adopting a Takfiri belief system used by many extremely radical religious groups, including Nigeria’s Boko Haram, ISIL militants automatically assume the authority to declare anybody to be kafir, or apostate, condemning thousands of ethnic and religious minorities and women and girls to gross human rights violations and, in many cases, death.