This week, US President Donald Trump spoke out against the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians in Saudi Arabia but did not mention the genocide against the Yezidis: “For the Yezidis, not being mentioned by President Trump very harmfully affected the Yezidi people because Trump tried to hide the Saudi collaboration with the ISIS genocide against the Yezidis.”

This week, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, where he was welcomed lavishly and made a US-Saudi weapons deal that is worth nearly $110 billion. While speaking in Riyadh, he called upon humanity to stand together against “the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians. For many centuries, the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims, and Jews living side by side. We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again, and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.” However, Yezidi leader Mirza Ismail and Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar were greatly disturbed that the Yezidis were not included in the equation.

“For the Yezidis, not being mentioned by President Trump very harmfully affected the Yezidi people because Trump tried to hide the Saudi collaboration with the ISIS genocide against the Yezidis,” Ismail proclaimed. “Saudi Arabia is the number one supporter of ISIS in weapons, ammunition and monetary aid against the Yezidi people in Iraq and Syria. In October 2016, I heard from some Yezidi colleagues in IDP camps in Northern Iraq that 150 blond Yezidi girls were transferred from Mosul to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE for the royal families’ pleasure. When I was in Iraq in 2015, the family of an abducted Yezidi girl said they received a phone call from their daughter in Saudi Arabia. She explained to her family that she along with many other Yezidi girls was sold to the Saudi people. Of course, the Saudis that met with President Trump have Yezidi slave girls!”

According to Ismail, the sale of 150 light complexioned Yezidi girls to the Saudi royal family as well as other Yezidi girls being sold to Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE was confirmed by a Kurdish doctor in Australia. Ismail emphasized that all of these Yezidi girls live under horrendous conditions, where they are condemned into sexual slavery and are beaten as well as tortured if they refuse to have sex with their captors. These girls are also forced into making pro-Islamic proclamations.

Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar believes that it is highly likely that Trump did not mention the Yezidi issue in Riyadh in order not to offend his Saudi hosts: “Saudi Arabia is not only an Islamic country but a Wahhabi country. If Trump wants the goodwill of the Saudis, he could not talk about the plight of the Yazidis in Riyadh. I don’t have clear evidence that the Saudis had a clear role in what happened to the Yezidis. They supported ISIS at certain stages of this organization. There is a gap between supporting ISIS and the mass killing of the Yazidis. I am not sure the Saudis knew about it or encouraged them to mass murder the Yazidis. They helped them against their enemies such as the Shias in Iraq and Assad. This was the big problem for the Saudis. They are opposed to Iran. The Yazidi issue is small for them.”

Kedar confirmed that in the early stages of ISIS, Saudi Arabia gave them money, weapons, training, shelter and logistical support: “With the time, the Saudi support for ISIS was reduced mainly because of the American objection because America sees ISIS as a problem and terror state especially when they started to behead people in public and things like that. Then, they started to monitor what happened and then they started to take part in the airstrikes against ISIS. However, they could be against them in day and support them at night. This could possibly be.”

During the Riyadh visit, relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States vastly improved: “They are getting tighter and tighter. Money makes the world go round. His relations become closer and closer. Trump needs them and wants to shape a new coalition with our friends and allies. The connection with the Saudis gives him jobs and the coalition. It is not surprising that he tries to accommodate them rather than some other entity. The issue is interests, not moral issues. I don’t think the Yazidis were in the air. Nobody really cares about them today. People are more concerned about ISIS and whether they start to send their jihadists to them.”

Kedar explained why all of the individuals Trump met with in Saudi Arabia don’t really care about the Yezidi issue: “Why should they be concerned about something that is remote and that they can’t really help and no one wants to send troops to save Yazidi girls? People suffering has not much of an impact on people. This is one of the cultural characteristics of the Arab and Islamic world. People became indifferent to misery of even their own brethren, let alone some minority. When violence is the name of the game in society, having victims is normal. There is nothing special.”

However, Ismail has a more sinister view of why Trump ignored the Yezidi issue in Saudi Arabia. Like many other Yezidis, he was highly disappointed that the US under Trump is not offering the Yezidis the hope of safety far away from the carnage his people have witnessed since August 2014. But on the other end of the coin, he is not surprised that Trump is signing business deals with a country that supports terrorism worldwide: “What can a tiny minority on the brink of total annihilation expect? Nothing! The government does not care what has been happening to the Yazidis. The government has no human conscious. The compassionate US citizens must rise up and protest that the government not do business deals and support countries that support terrorist activities and the genocide against Yezidis as well as other minority groups.”

​R​achel Avraham,
Media Research Analyst, Center for Near East Policy Research

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