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National Security Desk / March 17, 2016

Kerry Finally Admits: ISIL Is Committing Genocide

What took so long?

On Wednesday, the State Department indicated that John Kerry would miss a congressionally mandated deadline to determine if the mass slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East constitutes genocide. But Thursday, for unknown reasons, Kerry decided to meet the deadline and finally conceded an obvious fact: Genocide is being perpetrated in war-torn Iraq and Syria. Here’s what he said at his press briefing:

“My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that in my judgment DAESH [Islamic State] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims. DAESH is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and in what it says and what it believes and what it does. DAESH is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed against these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities.”

The Obama administration has been very reluctant to use the term. When asked about it recently, Josh Earnest said, “The use of that word involves a very specific legal determination that has at this point not been reached.” Kerry’s proclamation now makes it official. Sadly, ethnic cleansing is not relegated to just the Middle East. On Wednesday, the Christian Post reported, “Radical Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria have killed close to 500 predominantly Christian farmers in Benue state in central Nigeria in a series of attacks over the last month.” Terrorism’s spread means the State Department will inevitably face more of these decisions regarding genocide over time. Unfortunately, a mere label won’t stop anything. Ask the people of Darfur. Only destroying the Islamic State will do the job.

(Updated.)

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