Iraq

Barzan is a young Yazidi man, with sad blue eyes. His mother, five of his sisters and his niece are being held by the so-called Islamic State, taken when the extremist group swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August.

They are seven of some 5,000 Yazidis still being held by the extremist Sunni group. The Iraqi women are enslaved and sold for sex.

His sixth sister is home with him now. She is just 15 and she was raped. To protect her identity we're only using Barzan's first name.

In June, KUOW Speakers Forum featured an event titled, “Exposing the Truth of U.S. Torture,” during which Brigadier General David R. Irvine lambasted U.S. torture practices abroad.

“If these kinds of practices were used by another nation on American serviceman, who were captives, who were prisoners of war, we as a nation would not tolerate it,” he said.

When the Islamic State took over large parts of northern Iraq this summer, including the areas where the minority Yazidi community lives, the U.S. carried out air strikes and halted the advance of the extremists.

Still, thousands of Yazidi women and girls have gone missing over the past few months and there are now reports they are being sold by the Islamic State as sex slaves.

Flickr Photo/Valerie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about shrinking polar bears, Canadian troops being sent to the Middle East, and muskrat love.

Wikipedia Photo/Larry D. Moore

Ross Reynolds speaks with George Packer, reporter for The New Yorker perhaps best known for his 2005 book on the Iraq war, "The Assassins Gate." Packer talks about why the Iraqi army crumpled before ISIS and the dangers facing Iraqis who have aided the U.S. Despite their perilous situation, the U.S. government has been slow in issuing visas allowing them to come to the U.S.  

Flickr Photo/The White House (Pete Souza) (CC)

Marcie Sillman speaks with U.S. Representatives Jim McDermott and Denny Heck about their response to President Obama's strategy in Iraq and Syria against the terrorist group ISIS.

Flickr Photo/The Prime Minister's Office (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's efforts to convince skeptical politicians to help fight against the terrorist organization Islamic State.

In addition, they touch on Scottish independence and what it might mean for Quebec.

Flickr Photo/Miller Center (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, about President Obama's remarks on Iraq Thursday morning.

Marcie Sillman talks with Majid al-Bahadli, a Seattleite who fled Iraq after the first Gulf War. He is among a group of Iraqi-Americans who organized a rally Monday to protest the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's escalation of violence.

President Obama has informed Congress that 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel will go to Iraq to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as a militant Sunni group continues its offensive in the country, seizing control of the northern town of Tal Afar.

AP Photo/STR

Marcie Sillman talks to Dan Murphy, national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, about the worsening situation in Iraq. Then, David Hyde talks to Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., a ranking member on the House Armed Service Committee, about the U.S. response to the violence.

The militant group Islamic State In Iraq and Al-Sham has been seizing cities in northern Iraq. Mosul, one of the largest city in northern Iraq, was seized Tuesday. Members of Congress are weighing in on the situation. Some Republicans have called for immediate military intervention there, but Smith thinks a military solution might not be the answer right now.

Iraqis are voting for Parliament Wednesday for the first time since American soldiers withdrew more than two years ago. Without their support, and amid intense violence, the poll will test Iraq's fragile democracy to its limits.

The election is for the 328-seat Parliament and offers more than 9,000 candidates on party lists. It will probably end up with no party winning a majority and lead to weeks or months of coalition haggling to form a new government.

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Washington, D.C.'s Facebook page.

Marcie Sillman talks with Ambassador Lukman Faily about his visit to Boeing and his goals and challenges as the Iraqi ambassador to the United States.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

March 20 marks the 11th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Marcie Sillman talks with Ned Parker, Baghdad Bureau Chief for Reuters, about the state of the country today.

Flickr Photo/James Gordon

Marcie Sillman discusses the rise of violence in Iraq with Dan Murphy, Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.

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