Kurds to U.S.: We need heavy weapons to de­feat Is­lamic State

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Kur­dish Gov­ern­ment in Iraq is urg­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­vide it with heavy arms, in­clud­ing he­li­copters, tanks and ar­tillery pieces to fight the bet­ter-armed Is­lamic State in­sur­gents, a Kur­dish of­fi­cial said, pro­vid­ing new de­tails on the re­quest.

The Kurds sub­mit­ted the pe­ti­tion to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in Septem­ber, but the White House hasn’t yet ap­proved the heavy weapons de­liv­er­ies, said Fuad Hus­sein, chief ad­viser to the pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment, Mas­soud Barzani.

“We are ready to fight,” Hus­sein told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton after talks with Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. “We can­not fight with th­ese weapons that we have. We need dif­fer­ent kinds of weapons.”“With­out th­ese old weapons, I think it will be dif­fi­cult for us to con­tinue this fight, or at least we can­not lib­er­ate other ar­eas, in­clud­ing ci­ties such as Mo­sul and Sin­jar," Hus­sein said.

The Pen­tagon has co­or­di­nated ship­ments of light arms to the Kurds, in­clud­ing am­mu­ni­tion, hand grenades, mor­tars, rock­et­pro­pelled grenades and as­sault ri­fles.

“Cer­tainly we un­der­stand their need for more weapons,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pen­tagon spokesman said.

He said that even with the ex­ist­ing weaponry, the Kur­dish forces have hurt Is­lamic State and re­taken some ter­ri­tory. “They are tak­ing the fight to ISIL,” Adm. Kirby said, us­ing an al­ter­na­tive name for the ex­trem­ist group. “Per­haps they think they need more [weapons] to be even more ag­gres­sive,” Adm. Kirby said.

"Is­lamic State forces have heav­ier weapons, in­clud­ing ar­moured ve­hi­cles and tanks, which they seized from the Iraqi and Syr­ian armies, giv­ing them an ad­van­tage on the ground against lightl­yarmed Kur­dish, or Pesh­merga fight­ers," Hus­sein said.

Some U.S. of­fi­cials said they were con­cerned that pro­vid­ing heav­ier arms to the Kurds would in­ad­ver­tently en­cour­age them to seek in­de­pen­dence from Iraq.

Hus­sein said those con­cerns were un­founded. The heavy weapons, he said, are needed to fight Is­lamic State, a task which he be­lieves will take sev­eral years. For the Iraqi Kurds, he added, de­feat­ing the group will be the first pri­or­ity.

it will be dif­fi­cult for the Kur­dish Pesh­marga to con­tinue this fight, or at least they can­not lib­er­ate other ar­eas.

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