The Kurds have been standing up to ISIS since ISIS decided to do horrible things in the Middle East. All of American aid to Iraq goes directly to the Iraqi troops who have, unfortunately, dropped their weapons and run away, giving ISIS access to some really good weapons technology. For whatever reason, the Obama Administration has consistently insisted that all weapons going to Iraq go through Baghdad to Iraqi troops and not directly to the Kurds (who obviously do not cut and run). Well, it’s even worse than that.
Yesterday the U.K. Telegraph reported that the Obama Administration is blocking the attempts of our Middle Eastern allies to send weapons directly to the Kurds.
The article reports:
Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.
They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.
High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.
The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.
I have very mixed emotions about this. First of all, the Gulf states should not need American approval to fight ISIS. They should automatically just do it. However, there is another side of this story. Fighting ISIS strengthens Iran. The only difference between the goals of ISIS and the goals of Iran is who will be in charge of the Islamic Caliphate they want to set up. ISIS and Iran both have plans for a worldwide caliphate which they plan to start in the Middle East. The dispute is over who will rule it and whether it will be Sunni or Shia. Both Iran and ISIS have plans to eliminate Israel, so supporting either one puts the Jewish state at risk. Note also that ISIL stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The Levant includes the land of Israel as part of the Islamic state.
The article further reports:
The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.
But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.
One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.
At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.
I think we need to get out of the way and let the Arab states arm the Peshmerga. In terms of the Middle East, lately we seem to have a gift for coming down on the wrong side of history.