ARMING THE KURDS

do10Joel Gillin writing in the New Republic: “The defeat of ISIS in the northern Syrian town of Kobani last January brought Kurdish fighters well-deserved international recognition…credit for the success belongs to the Kurds of Syria and Turkey, aided by 150 Peshmerga from Iraqi Kurdistan…So why hasn’t the U.S.-led coalition armed the YPG, given their ability and willingness to confront ISIS? Most analysts agree that Turkey is the biggest obstacle.”

Baghdad is another obstacle the Kurds have complained about. The following is from a 2014 60 Minutes interview with Masrour Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Regional Security Council:

CBS: “So what are you asking the White House for? Are you talking about tanks and artillery?”

Barzani: “Why not. Yes. Tanks, helicopters, heavy armaments, MRAPs…ISIS is using IEDs and explosives effectively.”

CBS: “You’re asking the United States for these heavy weapons, but the question is does the central government in Baghdad want you to have them.”

Barzani: “So far they have not. In fact, according to the constitution of Iraq, the Kurdistan regional government is responsible for protecting its region. Unfortunately, most of the support to the Iraqi army came only to the Iraqi army. When it came to defending Kurdistan as part of Iraq, it was the duty of peshmerga to protect Kurdistan and this part of the country, but when it came to arming or even paying the salaries of peshmerga, or of giving arms to the peshmerga, Baghdad did not let that happen.”

 

 

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