tv Inside Story Al Jazeera December 29, 2014 9:30am-10:01am EST
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concessionnal lines match up with the territory lines in this struggle? >> so far isil has succeeded in making alliances with disgruntled sunni populations who felt oppressed by the baath government or shiite government in iraq. and convinced them that they could liberate them. that has not turned out very well for the people who made that deal, and i would be surprised if this is a long-term proposition. but in those rare cases where isil has managed to conquer some territory, which were inhabited by minorities, they've been, as your guest said, almost genocidal. they insist on forced conversion, or this is why they're kidnapping the girls they impregnate them with the kids and bring them up to be fanatics. >> you were telling us about a long history of persecution, but
people are not 1,000 years old. they're only however hold they are, 30, 40, 50 years old. they only remember growing up in a life in their region. what was life like for groups like the yazidis during saddam hussein's time? before the invasion of iraq. >> the yazidis was always circled around the notion of persecution. they're considered the lowest rank on the social order and social hierarchy. and they experienced attacks from all kinds of sides. and for them it was not a matter of finding allies to survive in the area. sinjar is the ancestral homeland. to leave sinjar and give up sinjar is a very difficult decision.
>> we see numbers defendeling as a percentage. i mean, heck, even christians inside turkey are a dwindling minority. what future is there no matter how this war ends? in a future iraq that is either heavily run by sunnies with the kurds pulling off in their own northern enclave, is a place like sinjar ever going to be safe for them again? >> that's a very good question. if we compare similar stories that happened in yazidis and neighboring areas, for example turkey, where we used to have a sizable yazidi community, but the entire community left turkey in the '80s and '90s to germany and received a group asylum.
there are some yazidis who feel like leaving sin air and not going back because going back to an area that is deepen trenched in hostile territory, and you can't trust your neighbors. when i talked to mayacy my yazidi friends and colleagues there is no trust but where to leave is the question. >> i don't know how the numbers work out, but if you have read-maiden mys of anybody who is not going to convert or leave, does that have an impact on the military calculation both in syria and iraq? >> absolutely. if you look at the situation on the ground now as compared to what it was like four or five months ago, it's certainly better. the fighting of the peshmerga, the airstrikes, the yazidis
taking up arms to protect their own villages are all proof that isil is not invincible. we can push against them, and they will retreat. it takes time. it's bloody. it's hard, but i think militarily the advantages on the iraqi--the peshmerga side, the real test, the central question, though, is in a crisis the iraqis fight together, and they'll come together, the shia, the kurds, the government, and the minorities, but the question is will that last? will unified iraq emerge out of this crisis? i think that's really an unanswerable question right now. >> we'll take one more break on inside story. when we come back hazard the really-documented cruelty of the isil government helped galvanize support. has this self-proclaimed state overplayed its hand? maiden mys it can't
the islamic state fight to create a new country from syria and the role ethnic minorities have played in the struggle of hearts and minds on and off the battlefield, how are things looking militarily for the yazidis over their long history. they've had a great reputation as fighters. are they basically becoming part of the peshmerga? the kurdish army? >> that is a request that has been made by yazidi units, particularly those who stayed on the mountain and endured the long siege, and now after being liberated by the help of the peshmerga, it would be a natural development to establish an i yazidi -only battalion, unit. >> andrew, is there a growing realization that this is going to be a long fight? that if the united states
reengages in this part of the world this is not something that is going to be over in six months, nine months or 12 months. >> ray, i think that's pretty clear. and when the president announced that we were going in, he said this is a long fight. it's going to be a tough fight. it's not going to be over. yet, we're pretty impatient. we look at the last week's news. the news this week is pretty good out of northern iraq. last week it was negative. the isis is making process in parts of anbar province. they're losing ground in others. i think in the longer term if we're patient if we and our allies can actually push isis back, it's going to take patience, and we're going to need to stake with it . >> do these actions, apart from military actions, keep the western world engaged in a way that they might not be otherwise? >> oh, without any doubt.
the humanitarian impulse here is very clear. i think strategically speaking it would be unconscionable to have let it fall, and the u.s. has swung in action to give them close air sport and try to put some spine back in the peshmerga, which has gone a little soft in the meantime. and likewise, i don't think baghdad was in danger from isil because it's mostly shiite, and people would not have put up with it, but they could have caused a lot of trouble in baghdad if they would have pushed back somewhat. this intervention is both strategic on the u.s. part, and europe's part, but also it's--it tugs at one 's heart strings to
see these girls kidnapped and thousands of people displaced. i think if the kurdistan regional government can fight isil and make it stick, the yazidi will come back to sinjar. they're a constituency i think the government will try to share some of its oil about a bonanza with them. i think they'll be able to get it back together. >> thank you all for joining us this time. this bring us to the end of this edition of inside story. please join us next time in washington. i'm ray suarez.
>> this is al jazeera. >> hello, welcome to the news hour. i'm folly bah thibault. live in doha. our top story. journalists here in the al jazeera newsroom and around the world stand in solidarity with our jailed colleagues in egypt. the missing passenger jet is at the bottom of the sea said the head of the indonesian air rescue category. all 473 survivors of the ferry