Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 11, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

8:00 pm
>> hi everyone, this is al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. iraq's standoff. america backs the newly nominated prime minister but nouri al-maliki says he's standing put. hundreds of thousands of iraqis are running from war. a look at long simmering religious divisions, our show in iraq, and the fbi investigates the police shooting of an unarmed man plus this:
8:01 pm
>> don't want to say i was suicidal, but i was thinking about it. >> how virtual reality is helping soldiers with.ptsd. a look back at an os oscar winn. the life and career of robin williams. a standoff tonight in iraq. a fight for control and power. the president of iraq has nominated a new prime minister but the current prime minister refuses to go. this evening president obama says he supports a change in leadership as the u.s. steps up its military there, jane arath reports from err bool. erbil. >> haider al-abadi is from prime
8:02 pm
minister nouri al-maliki's dower party. he has 30 days to form a new government but maliki isn't leaving without a fight. maliki now a care taker prime minister maintains he got largest number of votes. he says the constitution daicts dictates he should be prime minister again. telgt them not to worry he would prevail. >> i know that some of you in the armed forces are worried, just like i assured you yesterday, here i am assuring you again today. don't worry, make this point the terrorism. >> it welcomed his replacement. iraq is both a humanitarian crisis and a long battle with islamic state fighters on its hands. hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes by fighting. these are members of the ancient
8:03 pm
yazidi minority who fled their home last week. a charity which has been air lifting food to sinjar mountain gives them medical treatment. >> thousands of people died there on the mountain for lack of food and water. unfortunately. and 500 were killed in sinjar during the fighting. i saw 100 women have been taken. and we don't know their fate, we don't know what will happen to them. >> reporter: it's a small community. the doctors said they've confirmed the numbers through accounts from relatives. there are tens of thousands of displaced people in schools like this across northern iraq. in three weeks schools will be in session again and they'll have to find another place to go. their moves for new iraqi government but this is suspected to be a very long fight on the ground. and no one expects the yazidi or
8:04 pm
anyone else to be able to go home any time soon. while iraq's political cries us may be easing -- crisis may be easing its humanitarian crisis is just beginning. jane arath, erbil, iraq. >> john terret is live. >> good evening, jonathan. we learned from it that president obama spoke personally today to the new iraqi designate prime minister dr. haider al-abadi as did vice president joe biden. the message according to president obama from both of them was that the u.s. was pledging its support from the iraqi political process, warning that there might be some tough days ahead and president obama making the point it's very important for the iraqi people to get back on the side of their politics again, to regain trust in it, something that he said was lacking at the moment.
8:05 pm
>> today iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort. last month the iraqi people named a new president. today president massoum named a new prime minister designate, dr. haider al-abadi. under the iraqi accusation there is a important step to eun unite iraq's community. >> and john, on martha's vineyard he stated that some have been escaping from mowrnltt sinjar and they are being helped to find safe place. >> what are the figures? >> lieu 10th bill mayville, he said there have since thursday when the president gave the order for this to go ahead been 14 successful missions, 15 targeted air strikes for which
8:06 pm
we assume that one of them was not successful but the numbers go on are from there. 310 bundles have been dropped on mount sinjar, 16,000 gallons of water, those 73,000 mres meals ready to eat, 50 to 60 sorties taking place, a movement of aircraft of one sort or another, represent jet or even drone. but the lieutenant general did go on to say that he felt the operation scope was limited. onoarnd -- on the other hand, i. is has been hobbled. >> women and children on a mountain in iraq many are
8:07 pm
members of a religious minority called yazidis. they were trapped on sinjar mountain. some jadzs have been rescued by represent, thousands more have been led into kurdish territory in iraq, along the way families have been separated. >> translator: i put two of my sons in the car that came to get us then i went to grab the one i'm holding and when i got back the car had already left. i haven't seen the other children or my husband since then. >> yazidis and christians say the group called islamic state ordered them to convert to islam or die. iraq says there could still be more than 100,000 yazidis and christians trapped on top of that mountain. omar is president of the u.s. institute for peace center for middle east and africa. it's good to have you on the program again. >> thank you. >> with the political situation
8:08 pm
in iraq, how is it, even possible, to stem the tide of the islamic state in iraq? >> i think that one of the crucial elements is to recognize that the military solution or military intervention be it u.s. intervention limited or full iraqi military reaction isn't going to solve the problem with the islamic state. there needs to be a political solution. there really needs to be a national unite government in iraq and i think announcement of a new prime minister is the start to that but also a full scale intervention on the humanitarian side. all three angles are important to have success in iraq at this point. >> the prime minister won't leave and there are hundreds of thousands of people who don't have homes. >> well, i think that it's inevitable, i mean there is going to have to be some type of intervention. in terms of the humanitarian there has been some reactions, nothing to really meet the scale
8:09 pm
of what we're seeing, particularly in areas that are very difficult to reach, so there's going to be a again dance on local organizations to be able to reach them. in terms of the political solution it's still unclear when maliki says he's refusing to leave what that means. he's appealed to the security forces but also appealed through rule of law through courts to try and say it's unconstitutional. if he continues to go through the system of unconstitutional there is hope he will still work within the system. i think it's important to note that over the years there has been a strong relationship between u.s. policy makers and al-maliki. this is time to use whatever influence or leverage there is to try to get maliki to transition gracefully. >> even when the u.s. got involved in iraq the first time iraq was split into three pieces, you had the kurds, you had the sunni, you had the shia, that is the way it stands again,
8:10 pm
right? >> i think iraq has always had a rich diversity and each diversity has formed a political block that continues to form resistance -- >> it's been more than that hant it equilibrium. >> that's correct but problem was consolidation of power and trying to marginalize certain groups. it's not the diversity per say as much as it's been the consolidating power the marginalization of certain groups. whether it's maliki or anyone else that will exist. >> i don't want to belabor this point but these groups haven't don't gothen along for a very long time. what's different now? >> compactly my time, there isn't much different the difference is the slawblght, that's reintroduction of something i haven't seen anything quite as dramatic. >> how will that change? >> the hope is that will bring enough political blocks around the table that recognize that
8:11 pm
the vacuum has created this external threat that has taken a third of the country's land and really been able to begun to establish itself. that is enough of a threat to force the people to realize that the interest is isn't to put to be side -- >> i understand what you're saying -- >> by no means is that a solution. >> i understand what you're saying but you're talking about the united states getting involved in a major way not necessarily militarily and politically the will of the american people has not been to go back in and get involved much in all in this. so how do you solve that problem? >> well, i think you're right, the heavy lift does still continue to fall on the iraqis and that is something here that everyone here is agreeing on. that said i think to really be able to ledge or influence to allow the iraqis to come together is going to be needed, whether from the u.s. or the international community. i don't think it can be left
8:12 pm
completely to iraq alone. i wouldn't say that the islamic state isn't a threat oiraq alone, but to the region and the larger area, there is an interest not in terms of heavy lift for u.s. but consistent support for iraqis to take the lead to solve this problem. >> thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. >> join us at the half hour for in-depth look at iraq and washington. unintend consequences, how 20 years of u.s. involvement in iraq has contributed to the current crisis. ferguson, missouri is a city on the edge tonight, as an unarmed teen was shot and killed by a police officer. michael brown died on friday. the fbi is now investigating the situation. hundreds gathered to rally on the issue. looting and vandalizing.
8:13 pm
diane eastabrook is outside the church where the local ncaa chapter is meeting tonight. tell us about it. >> reporter: john, there are so many people attending this meeting as you can see behind me, there are about 300 people in this parking lot that couldn't get inside the meeting because soful people turned out. michael brown's parents actually showed up here tonight. earlier before the meeting started i talked to the president of the local ncaa chapter and she told me she didn't know prior to the shooting on saturday that there were really any tensions between the african american community in the area and local law enforcement. i talked to other people here tonight who said there have been some long simmering tensions between some people in the community and law enforcement and that's why they're here. they want to ask questions. they want to get some anxious. i also talked to a young man before the meeting. he says he really want to get more involved in his community
8:14 pm
and contribute something. >> because a lot of our communities are where we need law enforcement the most. so if we can solve this issue which won't happen overnight, but this is a start, to bring the attention to it. >> and there is a very strong police presence here tonight. there are police officers up the street. we have seen policemen patrol the area, police in the parking lot also inside. so far this has been a very, very peaceful turnout, john. >> diane eastabrook, diane thank you very much. the entertainment world has been rocked by the death of a comedy legend this afternoon. the sheriff's office in marin county says tv and film actor robin williams has died. >> the 63-year-old has been found at his home this morning. the cause appears to be suicide.
8:15 pm
he was once called the funniest man alive.robin williams made no secret of his long history of depression and substance abuse. >> a sip of perrier. i used to wake up nude with my car keys and (bleep). >> he became famous on mork and mindy. but feature films like this one. >> good morning vietnam! hey this is not a test, this is rock 'n' roll. >> williams went on to win an academy award for his role in goodwill hunting. williams is remembered all around the country and the world. >> morgan, a sad story.
8:16 pm
coming up. families return to find out what remains of their homes and virtual reality, how it's helping soldiers fight stp post-traumatic stress disorder.
8:17 pm
>> tonight, the latest three day ceasefire in dpooz is holding. israeli and palestinian delegates are in cairo for temperatures talks. encouraging signs from both sides. jane ferguson has more from jerusalem. >> the israelis which originally said they wanted hamas to be completely disarmed in the gaza strip appear to be potentially softening that stance.
8:18 pm
on the other side the palestinians who called for the complete lifting on the blockade, including the sea port and airport, seem to be relenting, saying the airport and sea port might not be possible but an easing of the blockade. if these reports really do come to something those would be massive steps forward and really huge developments in any potential peace deal but of course there are still less than two days left in this ceasefire. and we've seen ceasefires like this come and go and run out of time so it remains extremely are fragile. also on monday the announcement of a u.n. body to investigate potential war crimes or crimes against humanity in gaza. now that will be looking into potential crimes on both sides, addressing the accusations that have been made. addressing the accusations made by the israelis that the palestinians had been using human shields and also addressing accusations that the
8:19 pm
israelis were not using enough care to avoid civilian casualties. that commission will take some time to come up with their report. it will be almost a year before we hear the report from that however the israelis already have hit back. the israeli ministry of foreign affairs say the findings of this commission are already written and it's likely we'll have further israeli opposition to this group in the coming days and weeks. >> that's jane ferguson reporting. as many as 10,000 buildings were destroyed in that fighting. schools homes and shelters. charles stratton has the report. >> goofgaza being community
8:20 pm
struggling. in shujayea, nova shows me her home. she and her 35 family members lived here. >> translator: we came in the ceasefire to see our house to take out what we can from under the rubble. we hope we can find a few of our things, god willing, the situation will become stable been so we can rebuild our lives. >> reporter: there was the sudden sound of machine gun fire. israeli tanks were kick up clouds of dust as they raced towards the border. that was the first day of the new 72 hour ceasefire. you may wonder credit i'm wearing a flak jacket. we're in the neighborhood of shujayea and as we arrived, there was sound of machine gun fire from the right here. we hear there were tanks down there you can probably see the dust and they were firing over people's heads, farm lands close to the border. the nearby market was busy,
8:21 pm
shoppers buying as much produce as they can afford. after so many ceasefire there is a desperate hope that this latest truce will last. >> translator: thank god for this ceasefire. we just hope it will last. i'm here to buy some things for children. my house has gone, my belongings have gone, i've lost everything. >> reporter: the conditions at the local u.n. school are shocking. two hours of electricity a day, dependency on delivered drinking water, overflowing drains. the majority of t of the nearly0 people are from shujayea, afraid to return to see what remains of >> translator: my house was smashed by an f-cain. i'm scared my f-16. my family has nothing left. >> reporter: at a quiet room at the back of the
8:22 pm
schoolchildren are given crayons and paper. their supervisor tells them to draw whatever they like. >> the children are the most vulnerable in this war. we're working with them in order to try and ease the pain of their psychological suffering. we let them draw so they can release and express their feelings. >> another truce, another attempt to bring and end to this war, there is nothing the people of gaza can do but hope and pray this ceasefire lasts, charles stratford, al jazeera, gaza. food and supplies will be taken to the city of luhansk on ukraine's eastern border where a quarter of a million have had no electricity no water for a week because of the fighting. the international red cross will lead the multinational aid group that will include no russians.
8:23 pm
russian president vladimir putin says russia will use a convoy to bring in goods. as many of a third are battling post-traumatic stress disorder. a new development is helping. randall pingston reports. served four tours in iraq in special operations. he had many close calls. >> i got my purple heart for a rocket attack. i went heads first into a concrete wall. i had eight bulging disks in my lower neck and back and i continued to drive on. >> but its was the injury invisible to the naked eye that was doing the most damage. >> all the death, the carnage, the violence, you just get immersed in it. and it creates overwhelming sadness. i think you just want that to end. >> so in 2004 between tours of
8:24 pm
duty o'brien went to a private psychiatrist. the diagnosis: dist post-traumatic stress disorder. o'brien told no one and paid cash. the. >> the stigma to ptsd is so severe especially in a male dominated macho environment like the u.s. army. >> he went back to the carnage. >> when i was there i was okay, you have to stay alive. when you come back when the adriven lin stops, when everything is calm, that's when bouts of anger for no apparent reason, bouts of depression and crying. >> still he didn't get treatment for his ptsd did until he got arrested for a confrontation in
8:25 pm
the back of a police car. >> you were in a new york city police car. but your post-traumatic stress disorder had you in a whoat 'nother plagues. >> that's what -- whole 'nother place. >> that's why it was so strange. >> your autonomic response, hearing a car back fire on a city street might startle you and make you feel back in iraq or afghanistan. so something that we consider relatively neutral has become a cue or trigger ever fear. >> reporter: to counter this reaction dr. joann de fitti use a method of feeling like your hair is standing up on the back of your neblg and all of a sudden a car bomb goes off, then
8:26 pm
and there you go. >> oh my, yeah. >> you go over and over it again as if it were happening again. >> for nine weeks this repetitive virtual experience is combined with talk therapy and a drug that helps speed up the process. help reset the brain chemistry. >> the accuse to fear the side of a car won't trigger the attack, or the symptoms of autonomic reaction like you had when you were deployed. >> my anxiety is down, panic attacks are down, i don't have flash backs anymore, i'm comfortable with myself. >> o'brien hopes history will inspire others to get the medical care that helps him find some peace. al jazeera, new york. >> how relations between the two
8:27 pm
countries helped fuel the rise of the group islamic state. and the u.s. throws its support behind a new iraqi prime minister. the current one reports he won't leave without a fight. stuart! stuart! stuart! stuart! ♪ check it out. this my account thing. we can tweet directly toa comcast expert for help.
8:28 pm
or we can select a time for them to call us back. the future, right? ♪ this doesn't do it for you? [ doorbell rings, dog barks ] oh, that's what blows your mind -- the advanced technology of a doorbell.. [ male announcer ] tweet an expert and schedule a callback from any device. introducing the xfinity my account app. that's why i always choose the fastest intern.r slow. the fastest printer. the fastest lunch. turkey club. the fastest pencil sharpener. the fastest elevator. the fastest speed dial. the fastest office plant. so why wouldn't i choose the fastest wifi? i would. switch to comcast business internet and get the fastest wifi included. comcast business. built for business.
8:29 pm
>> war in iraq, again: three years after troops come home, the u.s. military is drawn into another conflict. a country in chaos. who's really in charge? who will lead iraq against the self-claird islamic state, and what effect did a decade of u.s. intervention have on its leader, once held and let go. >> these are difficult days in iraq, there will be difficult days ahead. >> tonight our special report, u.s. and iraq, unintended consequences. >> welcome back, this is al jazeera america, i'm john siegenthaler. tonight with iraq in crisis we are taking a closer look at the
8:30 pm
unintended consequences of the u.s. military intervention in the country. iraq's government has been gridlocked by sectarian infieghtding. -- fighting. a new prime minister was named by iraq government, much of iraq is in the hands of a group called the islamic state, fighters were taking advantage of a weak central government. more than a million people have been forced from their homes. president obama said u.s. air strikes are not even close to over. as america's military works with iraqi and kurdish forces to stop the islamic state. those fighters have advanced quickly over the past month since entering iraq from syria. this map shows territory that the islamic state group have seized this year. the group moved to edges of baghdad in jan and took mosul in june. over the past week the group had said it had taken more than 15 towns along with the mosul dam
8:31 pm
and two wh more fields. the man leading the estate is abu bakr al-baghdadi, said to be more resourceful than osama bashar al-assad ever was. >> u.s. forces arrested abu bakr al-baghdadi in 2004 in a hunt for al qaeda fighters. he was locked up for almost ten months before the u.s. let him go. he was considered a low level threat. it is not clear how that experience affected him and his story is still murky ul aol a few facts are still certain. he was known as a preacher. he is thought to be a doctorate in salt lake studies and considered to be a descendant of the prophet mohamed. >> iraq has been a solid training ground for him. i think he witnessed day by day
8:32 pm
the inability of iraqi leaders. he witnessed how the americans basically operated in iraq. >> reporter: and after the u.s. killed a al al qaeda's lean iraq, abu ma sad al zarqawi in, in 2006, in a document leaked by wikileaks, the group has changeddists name twice, first to islamic state of iraq and the levant and then the islamic state. and new islamic nation. some say baghdadi is more feared and more powerful than osama bashar al-assad ever was. >> he found his moment i think when syria opened up. he rebuilt and regrouped and he obviously is extremely calculating, i think, he has
8:33 pm
both the -- not only the vision, but the political leadership. >> reporter: and he has the money. reportedly raking in $12 million a month funding his organization through extortion and robbery. morgan radford. al jazeera, new york. >> the former ambassador to iraq, christopher hill talked about the kind of threat these fighters formed to the entire region. >> what we have found is that i.s.i.s. continues the confound the experts in that it's proven to be a very effective fighting force and even there are signs it was able to push back the peshmerga a few days. that seems to be changing, u.s. air forces have been decisive in that regard but peshmerga are very well trained highly disciplined and well led force and i think as they begin to get more weapons and that appears to
8:34 pm
be happening you'll see some reverse always in the -- reversals in the north. whether sunni arabs are willing to push out this i.s.i.s. extreme organization. i think in the long run what you have to say long run few weeks months we need to see the reconstituted iraqi army, an army that's well led and loyal to the government. i think when that happens, they will be able to push the i.s.i.s. out of places that they've occupied in fallujah. you know these are very sort of -- there are not allot of people out there in these fights. i mean, i.s.i.s. has several thousands soldiers to be sure. but you can see very quick reversals in these kinds of situations. we're not talking about million-man armies. we're talking about pretty light, low density warfare here. i think a lot of what you see in i.s.i.s. is not so much that maliki has not agai been a great
8:35 pm
prime minister. what you see is a melt down in syria and to mix the metaphor, the problems have me metastasiz. there are people who kept maliki under control. president talibani had a stroke a couple of years agoing and was out of the picture. there are a couple of situations that redirected the situation. other things going on including the situation in syria. >> president obama is on vacation in massachusetts on martha's vineyard but he took a few minutes to talk about iraq's formation of a new government. >> as i said, there is no american military solution to
8:36 pm
the crisis in iraq. the only lasting solution is for iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government, one that represents the legitimate interests of all iraqis and one that can unify the fight against i.s.i.l. last month the iraqi people named a new president. today president massoum named a new prime minister designate, dr. haider al-abadi. under the iraqi execution this is an important step. earlier today vice president biden and i called dr. abadi, and congratulated him, urged him to form a new government, one that represents all iraqis. i pledged our support to him, as well as to president massoum.
8:37 pm
i urged all iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead. this new iraqi leadership has a difficult task. it has to regauge the confidence of its citizens -- regain the confidence of the its citizens and to demonstrate its resolve. the united states stands ready to support the government that addresses the needs and grievances of all iraqi people. >> pentagon strikes have slowed the islamic state advance to erbil but may not weaken the group's overall capability. john terret is in washington with more on that story. john. >> good afternoon, john, you're right, we heard that the slawblght grouislamicstate grouh of a threat, perfectly capable of regrouping itself elsewhere
8:38 pm
in the region. this according to lieutenant general bill mayville, he had some interesting statistics which they've accrued since this operation began last thursday. for example according to the general there have been 14 successful missions, 15 targeted air strikes and the numbers go on. 310 bundles of supplies have been dropped for yazidi people on mt. sinjar clugd we are told -- including 17,000 gallons of water, 73,000 meals ready to eat and according to the lieutenant general there are 50 to 60 sorties a day, a transport aircraft, helicopter or even a drone. here is the lieutenant general putting more bones on the story now about what is behind this operation. >> we're going to do what we need to do, to protect our facilities, protect our embassy, to protect our american citizens, and to reduce this
8:39 pm
siege as well as protect those aircraft that are providing support to mount sinjar. >> reporter: so the lieutenant general's message u.s. operation successful so far and helping. but it is still limited in scope. word today from the president that some of the yazidis are beginning to escape from the islamic group forces and according to the president the united states is now working with its international partners to try lead them to some form of safety, john. >> john terret, thank you. lieutenant major general james williams was stationed in rarahramadi and fallujah duringe war.
8:40 pm
welcome. >> thank you john. >> how much will these strikes do in your opinion? >> well, i think if you're talking about halting enemy forces and keeping them from advancing, that's certainly a mission that is appropriate. when you're talking about the humanitarian support that the general is talking about, delivering food and water and aid, is another part of it. but the question is, how long can you see these people stay on the mountain? essentially what you have is a displaced persons' problem. essentially you'll have to have some sort of refugee program if you will maybe just in the region but where are they going to go to? and if the i.s.i.l. forces are content if you will in terms of their mission to get rid of these different sects and
8:41 pm
factions of nonislamic religious factions, they're still going to be a form of group to deal with. so you know at some point, i believe you're going to have to put boots on the ground. now, i know the president doesn't want to do that. but i think even if it's only special forces groups, and limited action, as ambassador hill talked about earlier today, i think that's without a doubt, something that will have to happen. you know you have -- >> let me just stop through. >> sure. >> this is what the president has been saying he would never do and he's been trying to get out of iraq. but you're saying the united states has got to put boots on the ground to make a difference here? >> well, let me kind of put it this way. you know after world war ii we stayed in germany and we're still in germany to some degree. you know, and i think that is telling the world that we're committed to seeing a developing
8:42 pm
nation develop properly. i mean they were doing that, prior to 2011, i understand what the president wants to do relevant to reducing the cost, trying to make them independent. and be a sovereign nation. but when that region is so important, not only to us but to others in europe and africa and around the world, i mean, sooner or later, we're going ohave to do something. i know we don't want to be the policemen of the world. but at some point we will have to put our foot down and show the world that we're committed to helping in a proper way. >> the president praised the designation, the nomination of a new prime minister in iraq, did the u.s. spend too much time supporting maliki? >> in my opinion, once we left, we had forces there, had
8:43 pm
elements there with our state department that were supporting the parliament and ensuring that he was going to do and the parliament was going to do the right thing from a governance perspective. i think once we stepped away, maliki was always known as a shia purist. and i don't think he had any love for the sunnies. and the last two years had been very challenging for sunnies and subsequently they had really nothing else to do but fight. and so the radicalization of the forces that came in just kind of played in their hands. and i'm sure there's plenty of tribal support out there for them. >> well what role did the united states play in creating an atmosphere where these so-called islamic state could begin to take over all these yawrs in -- areas in iraq? >> well, i think when we pulled away and gave the impression, then i think this starts you know back with the syrian conflict. you know when we said there was going to be a red line and you
8:44 pm
know we didn't do anything of significance, i think that gave them the indication that the united states was not going to respond. and they -- i think it enboldenned them to be strong and they have gone to an extreme that is unconscionable. >> general williams thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you john, appreciate it. as the u.s. carries out its mission in iraq the white house is also calling for a political solution one that does not include current prime minister nouri al-maliki. the iraqi placement elected haider al-abadi to take that position.but maliki says he won't step down. after family was targeted by
8:45 pm
daum hussein, he entered politics after the u.s. led invasion of iraq in 2003, he went on to become the head of the parliament's finance committee, the minister of communications and a political advisory to prime minister maliki. he was elected deputy speaker of the parliament just a few weeks ago but was considered a contender for prime minister, in the last two elections. coming up next, iraq's humanitarian crisis, more than 1 million people are running for their lives in iraq, who are they and what's being done to help them?
8:46 pm
8:47 pm
>> and al jazeera special report, u.s. and iraq, unintended consequences. >> fighters with the group islamic state have been on the attack for months, but it was the group's advances in the last couple of days that prompted the
8:48 pm
u.s. to act. the group had been called islamic state of iraq and the levant. but dropped the last part of the name to just islamic state. the group wants to create a state where women are not allowed to leave home. and facing a terrible choice, more for jonathan betz. >> the islamic state is so voibled and so feared not even al qaeda will work with them. islamic state fighters are quickly becoming a growing threat not just to iraq but to the world. >> what we see in syria and now in iraq in terms of i.s.i.s. is the most serious threat to brittlbritainas there is today. >> demanding people of other faiths convert to islam, pay a
8:49 pm
tax or be killed. it's caused many of different religions including christians to flee. >> its targeted acts of violence show all the warning signs of genocide. >> american women's abandoned by retreating iraqi forces and flush with millions in cash from looted iraqi banks. >> given the advances i.s.i.l. has made, i think they're far above other groups. >> mannequins, forces must be covered. forces islamic law. its leader is abu bakr al-baghdadi. captured in 2005 but later released. he's boldly declared himself as
8:50 pm
leader of all rawks. >> soon enough, they have prepared themselves well for the day we will fight you. >> reporter: he's been using slick social media campaigns to attract foreign fighters including hundreds of westerners. >> these are actually quite battle hardened veterans who have real commitments to the jihaddist cause. >> reporter: those fighters have captured much of iraq and syria but do not want to stop here. they want to control all of this area within five years. it does show the islamist state has big ambitions beyond the borders of syria and iraq. john. >> jonathan betz. thank you. since 2003 fighting has forced dramatic population shifts in iraq. 1.2 million people have been forced from their homes as the
8:51 pm
islamic state group moved into areas considered relatively safe. over the past two months, the islamic state has pushed into kurdish territories, close to 200,000 people forced from areas around mosul, erbil and kirkuk since the beginning of july. these religious minorities are fleeing their towns and villages because the islamic state group wants them eliminated. just last week tens of thousands of minority yazidis were stranded on sin mountain after running from islamic state fighters. thousands of others have been led down the mountain by kurdish troops often on foot with very little food and water. >> i came from the mountain by my foot. i walk from sinjar mountain to
8:52 pm
syria walk. just we have the bottle of water. >> over the weekend, there were reports that some of the islamic state's victims were buried alive. until this crisis many people had never heard of the yazidis. our roxana saberi got to know them last year. >> as fighters from the islamic state groups chase yazidis from their home in northern iraq many got trapped in the sinjar mountains with no food or water. many are flee to the northeast to the holy city of la lesh. i visited last year. all yazidis are expected to make the pilgrimage to this ancient tomb once in their life. around the time of adam. baba tabesh is the guardian of the tel temple.
8:53 pm
the holes in this rock represent the good and evil that exist in each one of us. i asked if the yazidi faith has similarities to other religions like islam. >> our religion is an ancient religion, we have not taken anything from them. >> these kids are among the 600,000 yazidis in iraq. their numbers have dwindled. they escaped the 30% unemployment rate. they have been the victims of massacres they say 72 times in history. yazidis have kept their culture and faith alive despite persecution by saddam hussein. but sunni fighters see them as
8:54 pm
infidels that deserve death. roxana saberi, al jazeera, iraq. people in need like though refugees in iraq, simon welcome. >> thank you, john. >> how much does the iraqi government care about yazidis and christians who are being held by the islamic state? >> well, i think one of the problems at the moment is of course we have an iraqi government under maliki which is sectarian and incompetent, around it can't defeat the i.s.i.s. insurgency, so we are in danger of these unique cultures built up over a millenium possibly scrubbed out. this is what i.s.i.s. wants to paint it black. >> to look at the situation and say the iraqi government doesn't care about 100,000 people who might be murdered, slaughtered, if they don't care why should anybody else care?
8:55 pm
>> i think it's a reasonable question but president obama, i'm not american obviously but president obama has said that he sees the issue of preventing genocide and last atrocities to be a moral responsible of the united states and a core national responsibility. i think core deal is the inability to deal with the sectarianism. the iraqi government has exacerbated this situation and allowed the i.s.i.s. community to grow. >> your country has deeld with this situation for longer than yazidis have been on that mountain. this goes clearly back to syria. why hasn't the united states done more until now? >> it's tried do so under international law, obviously through the u.n. security council it's tried tried to fort accountability upon the yns government and the vetoes of --
8:56 pm
syrian government and the vetoes of russia and china haven't allowed that. i think that makes what's happening now both legitimate and legal. that's very different from what's happened in 2003 and president obama should be supported and applauded for it. >> how serious is the situation on the ground in iraq? >> i think it's extremely serious, militarily and for the people of the iraqi state, including the yazidis, we are look at a situation where they are eventually facing the potential of genocide, completely scrubbed out in this part of the world. >> how is this different than 2003 invasion it impacted there. >> i think it was a disastrous situation by the united states and i believe illegal under international law. this is a different situation, it is not going into iraq with the opposition of the iraqi
8:57 pm
government. it's actually being invited in to deal with what is obviously a very dispris situation that needs urgent international help and support. >> what account international community in addition to the united states help? >> well i think u.s. has a special responsibility probably because of its relationship in 2003, but that doesn't seclude the rest of the world. we've seen other parts, particularly u.k, being involved, trapped on the mountain 20 to 40,000 people trapped on the mountain but more can be done by the international community. not only in terms of the very is preeing and immediate humanitarian needs of people who are starving and dying of thirst and facing to be exterminated by i.s.i.s. but pressuring maliki and the government in iraq to actually form an inclusive and tolerant government which rebuilds iraq and doesn't provide the political space
8:58 pm
where people like i.s.i.s. can find support and grow. >> another disturbing situation for us to watch. simon adamsing thanks very much. we'll have you back. that's our program tonight. thanks for watching. "america tonight" is next.
8:59 pm
9:00 pm
>> on "america tonight," the fury in ferguson. protesters in the street of a st. louis suburb after an unarmed black teen is gunned down by police. >> hands this way, if the air, being compliant. >> there was a struggle over the officer's weapon. >> why it happened and how this shooting adds to a growing national debate. are the police going too far? also tonight, hell on the