According to Karwan Zebari, a top Kurdish representative to the US, the Obama administration isn’t doing enough to supply weapons to Kurdish resistance forces in their fight against ISIS, hinting that other nations may be sending the Kurds more support than the Americans. To this point, he said, the Kurds have only received “light” arms, which aren’t nearly effective enough against the Islamic State militants. To go on the offensive against the militants, he claims, the Kurds need effective equipment.
Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government Deputy Prime Minister, says the the caliber of weapons that ISIS militants have is far superior to the Kurds’, noting that the militants are currently fighting with US-supplied weapons seized from Iraqi troops. At the moment, the Kurds are the ones doing the most in the fight against ISIS, but they seem to be buckling under the group’s onslaught. The US is currently only providing ammunition for small arms and mortars, stopping short of arming the Kurds directly. Zebari warned the Pentagon against working with the Iraqi government in Baghdad to facilitate the transfer of arms, since they tend to slow things down.
Just last week, the Pentagon said that the focus of the attack is to coordinate a multinational effort to provide munitions, while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans being formed for a seven-nation effort to arm the Kurds. However, while the US is going through Baghdad, other nations have already announced plans to directly arm Kurdish fighters and bypass Baghdad in the process. Germany recently announced that they’re currently preparing to provide advanced weaponry, including anti-tank missiles, directly to the Kurds. On Monday, David Cameron of the UK told Parliament that the UK has already supplied arms directly to the Kurds. On the same day that Hagel announced the seven-nation effort, Iran’s foreign minister met with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to announce that Iran was the first country to supply weapons to the Kurds.
The Obama administration is currently weighing its strategy for addressing ISIS, as well as the possibility of expanding that campaign from Iraq into Syria. On Tuesday, another video emerged of an American journalist being executed at the hand of ISIS militants. Last week, another video surfaced that purported to show an ISIS militant beheading a Kurdish fighter. As of yet, Obama hasn’t said whether or not the US would expand support for the Kurds, saying that he wanted to make sure everybody was clear on what the US was planning to do.