The Obama administration has said little to explain the process by which U.S. advisers being deployed to the Kurdish region will determine which militant groups are given weapons.
On Tuesday, the White House said only that Mr. Obama had ordered “assessment teams” totaling 130 U.S. military advisers into northern Iraq to determine how best to rescue the tens of thousands of ethnic Yazidis trapped by militants, and that the president expects to receive recommendations from the advisers within days.
The fluidity of the strategy being pursued by Washington now sits at the center of the concerns raised Wednesday by the Yazidi-Americans who spoke with The Times.
Sabah Kousadi, a Yazidi-American who offered his views, said that if there are peshmerga fighters who “want to help us now, that would be great.”
Mr. Kousadi expressed hope that “as long as the U.S. is involved, there will be no problems.”
“We believe in the United States,” he said. “The United States can take care of human rights.”
“If the U.S. and the European Union want to help, there are thousands of Yazidis willing to pick up arms and defend their region,” he said. “The U.S. and the EU have been helping the Kurds for a long time. Why not help us? Why can’t they help us defend our region?”
Furthermore, Mr. Ismail said Yazidis have tried to live peacefully within Kurdish-controlled areas, but some of the Kurdish militias are no more trustworthy than the extremists.
While the Islamic State has emerged as the most vilified actor during recent months, he said Kurdish fighters have a history of violence and have kidnapped dozens of Yazidi girls over the years, forcing them to marry or be sold to wealthy Iraqis, Syrians and individuals from other nations in the Persian Gulf.
According to Mr. Alali, the situation is worse now under the threat of a takeover by the Islamic State.
“We have 8,000 Yazidi females and children who are hostages of the [Islamic State] terrorists,” he said. “They’re using them for sexual purposes, then they sell them at the market in Mosul and other places in Iraq.”
He and Mr. Ismail called for the United States to create a U.N.-backed refugee camp for Yazidis and Christians in Turkey, and said a contingent of ground U.S. and U.N. ground troops could be deployed to monitor developments and help evacuate the stranded minorities.
“The United States is the mother of all the nations, and this is not the first crisis in the world that the U.S. has tried to stand up and save people,” Mr. Alali said. “We appreciate deeply that President Obama and all Americans are taking action.