Shabaks, Turkmen targeted for ISIS cleansing

Some 20,000 Yazidis have managed to flee Mount Sinjar after Peshmerga forces opened a corridor for them into Syrian territory, and some have since crossed back into Kurdish-controlled Iraq. Many are making their way to the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the 1.5 million population has grown by around 185,000 since the fall of Mosul to ISIS. Peshmerga leaders are said to be meeting with US and British special forces to try to devise an escape route for up to 150,000 who have been displaced from the Sinjar area, in Nineveh governorate. A British C130 cargo plane had to abort an aid drop on Mount Sinjar because desperate Yazidis crowded under the aicraft, making it impossible to parachute bundles down without risking injury to those below. (NY Daily News, LAT, Daily Mail) Witnesses told the independent Kurdish news agency Rudaw that more than 500 Yazidi girls and women were abducted by ISIS militants after the seizure of Sinjar town. One displaced Yazidi said he had seen two ISIS vehicles "full of women." He told Rudaw: "There were seven women in the back of the truck—five younger women and two who appeared to be above 50. They killed the two older women on the spot in the street and took with them the other women." (Rudaw)

Haneen al-Qaddo, who served as Nineveh's deputy governor before the ISIS onslaught, told Iraq's independent Azzaman agency that more than 600,000 people belonging to ethnic minorities within the governorate have been uprooted. Qaddo is a member of the Shabak ethnicty, Shi'ites who speak a Kurdish-related language. Qaddo said some 150,000 Shabaks have been displaced, as well as 200,000 Yazidis and 250,000 Turkmen. He said the numbers did not include Christians, whose major villages and towns have already been emptied. Iraqi church sources estimate that at least 100,000 Christians are displaced. "Rape, killings and pillage of Yazidis, Shabaks, Turkmen and Christians and their villages go on unabated," Qaddo said from Erbil, where he has taken refuge. (Azzaman)

In Baghdad, things have deteriorated into an open power struggle, as President Fuad Masoum named a new prime minister, Haider Abadi, but Nouri al-Maliki refused to step down. Maliki bashed Washington for its approval of Abadi's mandate to form a new government, saying that the US supported "violations of the constitution." Abadi is from Maliki's own Islamic Dawa party and State of Law coalition, but has broken with Maliki. State of Law leaders confirmed that they had not elected Abadi to be their candidate, and backed up Maliki's claim that his candidacy has no legal merit. (, Reuters, BBC News, The Guardian)