Give humanitarian support

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Give humanitarian support

The brutalities of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have reached a climax. The radical militant group, which aspires to establish a theocratic state ruled by Islamic law across Iraq and Syria, posted a shocking video clip on YouTube last week in which the graphic death of American photojournalist James Wright Foley was captured. After the footage was released, the UN Security Council condemned the “heinous and cowardly” killing of a journalist and issued a warning against the radical group. The council said it “must be defeated” and that “the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out.” The UN Security Council urged the international community to cooperate in bringing those responsible for the cruel homicide to justice after mourning the tragic death.

The terrorist group also showed its brutality by massacring more than 500 people in northwestern Iraq, where the Yazidis, a heterodox Kurdish religious minority, predominantly live, after having occupied the area. The militant Islamic group engage themselves in such inhumane genocide simply because religious differences hamper the foundation of a theocratic state. Yazidi refugees, besieged by forces from ISIS in northern Iraq, have to survive with humanitarian supplies airlifted in by British forces. Local Christians who worship the Assyrian Church of the East also face a similar fate. The United States plans to conduct air raids on major military targets of the radical Islamic group from August.

Korea has many national interests at stake in the region in question. Hanhwa Group has signed a contract with Iraq to build a new city in Bismaya near Baghdad, and Posco and Ssangyong Engineering and Construction are also involved in local construction projects there. Korea National Oil Corporation and Korea Gas Corporation are participating in developing energy sources in northern Iraq, which is predominantly populated by Kurds and is not far from the strongholds of the radical group.

In regard to such a strategically important region, however, our government has only promised to provide $1 million in humanitarian aid for the northern Iraqi refugee crisis. It is time for the government to offer assistance befitting the world’s 14th-largest economy and its status as an OECD member nation. The measure would not only raise the image of our country, it would also safeguard our core interests. A timely contribution to the international community can help strengthen our diplomatic leverage on the global stage as well. The government must remember the axiom: “You don’t forget a friend who helped you at your worst time.”

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 26, Page 34

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