As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.
As we continue our coverage of the crisis in Iraq, we turn to the plight of the Yazidi religious minority fleeing a jihadist advance in the north. Thousands of Yazidis remain trapped without food or water on Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border. They have taken refuge there under the threat of attack from the Islamic State, which has branded them as "devil worshippers." Iraq’s human rights minister, Mohammed al-Sudani, says the Islamic State has killed at least 500 Yazidis in recent days. Some victims were reportedly buried alive. Around 300 women were also reportedly kidnapped as slaves. In addition to its airstrikes targeting the Islamic State in northern Iraq, the United States has also carried out air drops of relief aid onto Mount Sinjar. We go to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil to speak with Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Human Rights Watch. Stork has been meeting with Yazidis fleeing Islamist fighters in northern Iraq.
Protesters in St. Louis, Missouri are demanding justice in a police shooting that killed an unarmed African-American teen. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death in the suburb of Ferguson on Saturday afternoon. Brown was reportedly walking in the middle of the street with his friend when a police officer drove up and ordered them onto the sidewalk. The St. Louis County Police is claiming Brown physically assaulted the officer and tried to reach for his weapon inside a police car. But witnesses have provided a sharply different account, saying Brown was shot with his arms up as he tried to flee the officer’s fire. Brown had recently graduated from high school and was due to begin college courses this week. Protests began immediately after the shooting, with tensions escalating on Sunday when demonstrators were met by riot police with dogs. We speak to Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of theNAACP, who is in Ferguson meeting with the local community. We are also joined by Antonio French, a community advocate who has been live tweeting and posting Vine videos of the protests.
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