“What we’re going to see is a massive level of new refugee crisis that’s going to dwarf the existing refugee crisis,” Phyllis Bennis told the Real News Network after the U.S. announced they would send 560 more troops to Iraq for a push against ISIS in Mosul.
Bennis said while ISIS was defeated in Fallujah a few weeks ago, the city was destroyed, causing people to flee in the tens of thousands. She said there had been no preparation made to take care of those people — “No camps, no water, no food, no medical care… and that’s what’s going to happen in Mosul.”
There has also been no consultation with the people living in Mosul, Bennis said, even though a recent poll showed 76 percent of the population of that city said they didn’t want to be liberated by the Shia militias that fight alongside the Iraqi government. Bennis said Iraqis in Mosul fear those militias because of allegations from other cities that they’ve carried out human rights violations, such as sectarian-based torture, and because of the massive destruction of the city that will follow.
“Yes, it’s good to get ISIS out of control of Iraq’s second-largest city. It’s also true that the process of getting rid of ISIS is goign to exact an enormous price, not only for the fighters, but especially for the people living under that fight,” Bennis said. Desert temperatures routinely rise to 110 degrees, Bennis said, “And there’s not water available. There’s not shelter available. There’s not electricity available. This is going to be a humanitarian disaster.”
Bennis said people like U.S. Secretary of Defense Carter need to be asked what preparations they are making for these people. This has been presented as an option of either going to war, or doing nothing, Bennis said. “That’s never the only choice.”
We need to be talking about coalitions for new diplomacy in Syria, Iraq, and Iran; we need to be talking about arms embargoes,” Bennis said.