Reuters reports: Tribal leaders and clerics from Iraq’s Sunni heartland offered their conditional backing on Friday for a new government that hopes to contain sectarian bloodshed and an offensive by Islamic State militants that threatens to tear the country apart.
One of the most influential tribal leaders said he was willing to work with Shi’ite prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi provided a new administration respected the rights of the Sunni Muslim minority that dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Ali Hatem Suleiman left open a possibility that Sunnis would take up arms against the Islamic State fighters in the same way as he and others joined U.S. and Shi’ite-led government forces to thwart an al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq between 2006 and 2009.
The Washington Post reports: Extremist fighters have killed more than 80 men and detained hundreds of women in a Yazidi village, Yazidis and Kurdish officials said Saturday, offering a reminder that the ancient minority sect is still at risk despite President Obama’s conclusion that the threat had passed for those stranded on Mount Sinjar.
Islamic State militants drove into the village of Kocho, about 15 miles southwest of the town of Sinjar, on Friday, following a week-long siege in which the al-Qaeda inspired group demanded that residents convert to Islam or face death, said the reports, which could not be independently verified.
The men were rounded up and executed, while the women were taken to an undisclosed location, according to Ziad Sinjar, a pesh merga commander based on the edge of Mount Sinjar, citing the accounts of villagers nearby. Six men were injured but survived, and managed to escape to a nearby village where they are being sheltered by sympathetic local Sunni Iraqis, he said. One of them told him that 84 Yazidi men were lined up and shot and that more than 300 women were taken away.