In this article, I examine legal, political, and cultural reasons behind the genocides in Iraq and Syria of 2007–2015, that decimated the Yezidi communities of Sinjar or Shingal (Şengal/Şingal/Şingar). It is typically argued that failures to prevent genocide occur due to imaginative deficits or fear of a military quagmire. However, I show that atrocities are quickly recognized and sanctioned in some cases, and that substantial resources in terms of international support, military assets, and political rhetoric have been generated in several cases in which groups were less threatened than the Yezidis. To explain the disparate responses to claims of imminent persecution or massacre, I develop the theory of the "Reverse CNN Effect," in which some tragedies do not receive the requisite attention of the mass media to mobilize action. The phenomenon extends beyond the media to the resolutions and reports of the United Nations and, at times, those of the US government.


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pp. 139-182
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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