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Kurdistan Rising
Kurds Ask for Western Weapons

Iraqi Kurdistan’s representative to the United Kingdom made a passionate plea for Britain and its allies – including, potentially, the United States—to supply it with arms. Yesterday, Bayan Sami Abdul Raman, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Commissioner,  addressed Parliament:

“Kurdistan is at the frontline against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),” Rahman told the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. “If we are to keep that frontline stable, we need much more assistance.” […]

“Western countries, including the United States, and Eastern countries are very focused on keeping Iraq as one state and they see defense equipment for Kurdistan as undermining Baghdad,” she said.

Rahman, whose post makes her effectively Kurdistan’s ambassador in London, said the Kurds were Britain’s ally in the fight against terrorism and extremism. However, Britain refused to supply defense items such as electronic jamming equipment to the KRG without end-user certificates issued by the Iraqi government. Baghdad refused to issue such certificates if the equipment was destined for Kurdistan.

Unlike the central Iraqi government’s forces, the Kurdish peshmerga has gained and held ground against ISIS, as well as against the Iraqi Army. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army, in retreating, has consistently let Western equipment fall into enemy hands.

As TAI editor Adam Garfinkle has pointed out, the Kurds remain America’s most viable potential ally as Iraq collapses. Given proper consultation with our Turkish allies, answering Kurdistan’s request might not be a bad way to start making the best of a bad situation.

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  • Pete

    Will the pay for the weapons or do they expect them for free?

    • Andrew Allison

      I think the idea is that since they are, in Garfinkle’s words “America’s most viable [I’d say only] potential ally as Iraq collapses”, we should help them contain ISIS. There may be a bit of opportunism involved, but surely it’s obvious that the Kurds deserve our help.

      • Pete

        Perhaps, bit it still strikes me that nobody pays for anything in life but the U.S. taxpayer.

    • Breif2

      Your presumed preference for us not to send them weapons for free is reasonable. But keeping in mind that, as mentioned in the post, the Kurds are facing weapons that we gave out for free, their annoyance with us will also be reasonable. In the meantime, the article details how the Kurds are not even being allowed to buy weapons with cold hard cash. You can imagine just how that makes them feel about the West.

      (Combating ISIS is paramount! To do so, we should even cooperate with Iran and Assad! But with the Kurds? Well, that’s out of the question, as this would interfere with our fantasy of a united Iraq. A united Iraq in which the Kurds would once again be at the mercy of the Arabs. But it’s not as if the Kurds deserve independence, after all. Who do they think they are, Palestinian Arabs?)

      “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy.”

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