President Trump has ordered U.S. aid agencies to bypass the United Nations with American aid money intended for Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq.
Those were two of the primary groups targeted by ISIS, which came into its power while Barack Obama was president.
It now has lost much of its territory and influence, but still has the firepower occasionally to erupt into violence in the Middle East, Asia or Africa.
The U.S. previous had put the U.N. on notice regarding programs that American officials considered were failing to help those communities efficiently.
The announcement came Friday from Vice President Mike Pence’s office.
“President Trump and Vice President Pence made restoring the rights and property of Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities, who were nearly wiped out by ISIS’ genocidal campaign against them, a top and unceasing priority of their administration,” the statement said.
“To save what remains of these ancient and proud peoples, President Trump directed the United States government to stop using slow, ineffective and wasteful United Nations programs and to instead distribute assistance through USAID in order to provide faster and more direct aid to Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq.
“While progress has been made to help these beleaguered people, there is more to do to fulfill the commitments made to them and not to mention – our own consciences.”
It continued, “The vice president will not tolerate bureaucratic delays in implementing the administration’s vision to deliver the assistance we promised to the people we pledged to help. The vice president directed USAID Administrator Mark Green to travel to Iraq in the coming weeks to report back with an immediate comprehensive assessment addressing any issues that could delay the process of aid distribution.”
At that time, USAID $55 million of a $75 million distribution of aid money to the U.N. Development Program’s Funding Facility for Stabilization would go to minority groups in areas of Iraq.
The U.S. pledged $150 million to that fund at the time, and USAID officials said it would be in two payments of $75 million.
But the second payment was “contingent on the U.N. Development Program making improvements in the stabilization fund’s accountability and transparency,” the Hill reported at the time.
A report last fall by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, a Republican, said the U.S. needed to help those communities that survived the attempt at genocide.
“Just before Christmas last year, I led a human rights mission to Erbil, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, to meet with genocide survivors. We saw firsthand the medical care, food, shelter and education the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil was providing to most of the Christians who escaped ISIS, as well as some Yazidis and Muslims,” he explained at the time.
Fox reported last winter, “The Nineveh Plain, also known as the Plain of Mosul, has been the ancestral homeland of Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Christians, Yazidis and other minorities – all of whom were under attack from ISIS once the terror group started to control the region in 2014.
“The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted to 275,000 from 1.5 million in 2003, according to current estimates. It is feared the population could be permanently gone within five years, if no action is taken, according to a November 2015 report from Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity,” the report said.